Maintaining a Vehicle or Dwelling for Drugs in North Carolina

by | Feb 26, 2020 | Blog Posts, NC Criminal Defense | 0 comments

Maintaining a vehicle or dwelling for drugs – There are a wide variety of drug crimes in North Carolina that have a wide range of levels of seriousness. From crimes as minor as possession of marijuana to crimes that are as serious as heroin trafficking, and several degrees in between.

One crime that is often charged with other drug crimes but not very well understood is maintaining a vehicle or dwelling for the purpose of storing or selling a controlled substance. Like all our blogs, this is intended for general informational purposes only and not intended as a substitute for the advice and counsel of a criminal defense lawyer.

What does, maintaining a vehicle or dwelling for drugs mean?

This crime is covered under North Carolina General Statute 90-108(a)(7), and it is very broad in scope.  According to the statute, it is unlawful to “knowingly keep or maintain any store, shop, warehouse, dwelling house, building, vehicle, boat, aircraft, or any place whatever, which is resorted to by persons using controlled substances, for the purpose of using such substances, or which is used for the keeping or selling of these substances.”

A wide range of property can be subject to this charge. Whether it is an apartment, a house, a personal vehicle, or a vehicle in someone else’s name, the charge may apply.

Elements of Maintaining a vehicle or dwelling for drugs

In order to be convicted of this crime, the state would have to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, the following elements of the crime:

  • Knowingly
  • Keeps or maintains
  • A store, shop, warehouse, dwelling house, building, vehicle, boat, aircraft, or other place
  • Being resorted to by persons unlawfully using controlled substances or being used for unlawfully keeping or selling controlled substances.

Like with criminal charges in general, the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty and the failure to prove even one of these elements would necessitate an acquittal, by law.

Punishment for Maintaining a vehicle or dwelling for drugs

The severity of this crime is very fact specific.  Depending on the circumstances, in some cases is can be a Class 1 misdemeanor and follow the North Carolina Misdemeanor Sentencing Guidelines. In other cases, this crime can be a Class I felony, and follow the North Carolina Felony Sentencing Guidelines.

Keep in mind this charge is hardly ever charged on its own. It is often accompanied by charges of drug possession,  possession with intent to manufacture, sell, or deliver, or drug trafficking.

Drug charges can have lasting consequences and can be difficult to navigate for a non-professional.  If you have been charged with a drug crime in North Carolina or charged with a drug crime in South Carolina, contact us.

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