While some states have legalized the recreational use of marijuana, North Carolina has not. In North Carolina, possession of less than a half-ounce of marijuana, is a Class 3 misdemeanor. Although you may only have a $200.00 fine and no jail time, there may still be long-term consequences. However, the more marijuana you possess, the higher chance of jail time and the more severe the long-term effects can be. Possession of up to 1.5 ounces is a Class 1 misdemeanor with the potential to serve up to 45 days in jail and if you have more than 1.5 ounces, you may be charged with a felony and face up to 12 months of jail time.
While the short-term consequences of misdemeanor drug possession may not seem so harsh, there are long-term effects on employment, housing, and finances. Drug possession charges will show up on background checks when applying for job. Employers want to hire people they can trust so misdemeanor drug charges can severely hamper your chances at receiving a job. In fact, some vocations (such as law enforcement, the military or teachers) may not consider you a candidate if you have a history of drug charges. Drug charges may even make a landlord weary to rent a home or apartment to you. Most significantly, your financial aid may be suspended if your drug conviction happened while you are receiving aid or you may be completely disqualified from financial aid if you received certain types of drug charge.
If this marijuana possession charge is your first offense, the experienced attorneys at the Law Offices of Wiley Nickel may be able to help. You may be eligible for the 90-96 program, which allows you to have the charge dismissed after completing court mandated classes and community service. Once you complete the program and have the charge dismissed, our office may be able to assist you in getting the charges expunged.