I got charged with 3 felonies: Selling marijuana. PWISMD, Maintain a Dwelling, and Felony Possession. Will I go to jail?

Will I go to jail? Its my first offense? I attend college, get good grades in college, and have a job. What are the chances that I will be locked up and for how long if so?

While it is technically possible for you to be put in prison for the Sale or Delivery of Marijuana, the chances are very low assuming this is a first offense. Felony Sale/Deliver Marijuana is a Class H felony in North Carolina and, for that level of drug crime, a conviction can include either a community punishment (fines/costs or probation), an intermediate punishment (supervised probation and drug conditions), or an active sentence (prison of a maximum of 8 to 18 months).

The chances, however, of having a jail sentence, given how overcrowded the jails are and given that you have a clean record, are very low.

What you should be worried about is the effect a felony conviction will have on your ability to stay in school, keep your student loans, or get a good job after school. Many employers will not hire convicted felons. In addition, a felony conviction will bar you from ever possession a firearm or ammunition again in your life.

It may be possible for you to avoid a felony conviction, whether because the state’s evidence is weak, or because your attorney may be able to have you participate in a drug diversion program, or because you perform what’s called “substantial assistance” through a cooperation agreement with Law Enforcement.

Whatever you do, you should do it with the advice of either an attorney you hire, or with the help of a court appointed lawyer or public defender if you can’t afford a lawyer. This is not something you should try to resolve on your own.

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Damon Chetson

Damon Chetson is a Board Certified Specialist in State and Federal Criminal Law. He represents people charged with serious and minor offenses in Raleigh, Wake County, and the Eastern District of North Carolina. Call (919) 352-9411.