Cocaine is derived from two types of coca plant leaves, often turned into a powder. It has limited medical use, such as for local anesthesia. But otherwise, it is illegal. A person caught with it in Monroe, North Carolina, can face various penalties for possessing and selling the substance.
A controlled substance is a drug that is heavily regulated by law because of its harmful properties. North Carolina divides controlled substances into Schedules I to VI, according to the potential for addiction. Schedules I and II include the most addictive drugs, such as LSD and heroin, and cocaine is listed under Schedule II.
Drug charges are issued based on the schedules and other factors, such as previous offenses, weapons and amount of substances. The penalty for a drug offense in North Carolina may count as a misdemeanor or a felony, but cocaine is commonly a felony. North Carolina also makes drugged driving with any amount of a Schedule I or their metabolites illegal.
A person caught with any amount of cocaine may receive a maximum six-month jail sentence plus fines and the suspension of his or her license. Possessing 200 to 400 grams counts as a Class F felony, which carries penalties of fines of $100,000 and a maximum seven-year jail sentence. Possession with intent to manufacture or trafficking counts as a Class H felony with a minimum of 10 months in jail.
Selling to pregnant people, children 16 and under, or within 300 feet of a school warrant a jail sentence between 15 and 63 months. The penalties for trafficking 28 to 400 grams include a $50,000 fine and 35-51 months in jail.
A person charged with a drug crime can defend the charges in various ways. Sometimes, alternative sentencing is available to first offenders, such as drug court.