It is a misdemeanor the amount can determine maximum sentences:
* 1/2 to 1 1/2 oz = 1 - 120 days and $500 fine (Community service or probation possible. 45 maximum for those with a clear record)
* 1/2 oz or less = 30 days and $200 fine. (Suspended sentence mandatory)
Paraphernalia possession is also another misdemeanor that can carry 6 months.
The state has decriminalized marijuana to some degree. Typically, decriminalization means no prison time or criminal record for first-time possession of a small amount for personal consumption. The conduct is treated like a minor traffic violation.
No lawyer can or should guarantee what will happen but based upon what you have shared with me, then she should just receive a fine. Without entering a judgment of guilt and with the consent of such person, defer further proceedings and place him/her on probation with the condition that he/she participate in community service approved by the Department of Human Resources. Upon fulfillment of the terms and conditions of his/her probation and the community service program, the court will discharge such person and dismiss the proceedings against him/her. If the person was not over 21 years of age at the time of the offense, he/she may apply to the Court for an Expungement pursuant to N.C.G.S. 15A-145, 146
Expungement requests are handled by mail, and they do not require a court appearance. However, the Expungement procedures and the court fees for an Expungement vary county to county. Some counties may require the submission of affidavits and/or a court appearance. In North Carolina, an individual is only entitled to one Expungement in a lifetime. Therefore, before applying for an Expungement, you should give the matter some consideration.
Finally as far as retaining a lawyer. I always recommend that a person retain a lawyer for all drug related offenses only because unlike some offenses drug offenses can have more a future negative stigma attached than other more serious victim based crimes. However, that has to be your personal decision.
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