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When does drug possession become a felony in North Dakota?

On Behalf of | Jun 12, 2024 | Drug Charges

In North Dakota, drug possession can lead to severe legal consequences. It is important to understand when possession escalates from a misdemeanor to a felony.

The type and amount of the drug, as well as any prior convictions, play a key role in this determination.

Drug types

The type of drug matters significantly when determining legal consequences. North Dakota controlled substance laws classify drugs into schedules based on their potential for abuse and medical value. Schedule I drugs, such as heroin and LSD, have a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use. Possession of any amount of a Schedule I drug results in a Class C felony. Schedule II drugs, including cocaine and methamphetamine, also have a high potential for abuse but some accepted medical uses. Possession of these drugs can also result in felony charges, depending on the amount and circumstances.

Drug amounts

The amount of the drug also influences the severity of the charge. For example, possessing less than one ounce of marijuana typically results in a misdemeanor. However, possessing more than one ounce can lead to felony charges. Specifically, possessing between one ounce and 500 grams of marijuana can result in a Class B felony. If the amount exceeds 500 grams, the charge escalates to a Class A felony.

Criminal history

Prior convictions further complicate the legal situation. If an individual has previous drug-related convictions, even small amounts of drugs can result in felony charges. For instance, a second offense for possession of marijuana, regardless of the amount, can elevate the charge to a Class C felony.

Aggravating factors

Certain circumstances can also aggravate drug possession charges. Possession of drugs near schools or public parks, or possession with intent to distribute, can turn what might otherwise be a misdemeanor into a felony. These situations indicate a higher level of danger to the community and, thus, face harsher penalties.

Understanding the specifics of drug possession laws in North Dakota is important for building a strong legal defense. Staying informed about these laws helps in making responsible choices and avoiding serious legal trouble.

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