Manufacture and Delivery of Controlled Substances

North Carolina treats drug crimes very seriously, and drug manufacturing, a felony-level offense, is no exception. 

While the penalties will vary depending on the type of drug and the amount manufactured, this post will give you a general overview of the charges, penalties and some defenses for drug manufacturing charges.

As with other drug crimes, it is especially important to consult a North Carolina criminal defense attorney to assist with your defense, as manufacturing charges can be quite complex. In addition to manufacturing charges, it is likely you could be charged with related-crimes, such as simple possession, possession with the intent to sell or deliver, trafficking of a controlled substance, and more, and so an experienced attorney is essential to preparing your defense.  


The State of North Carolina sets forth its drug laws in the North Carolina Controlled Substances Act. It’s most important to understand what exactly it means to “manufacture” a drug, as it includes more than you might assume. North Carolina defines drug manufacturing as:

  • The production, preparation, propagation, compounding, conversion, or processing of a controlled substance by any means, whether directly or indirectly, artificially or naturally, or by extraction from substances of a natural origin, or independently by means of chemical synthesis, or by a combination of extraction and chemical synthesis; and
  • Any packaging or repackaging of the substance or labeling or relabeling of its container.

The definition is broad, as it includes not just the production of controlled substances, but also the compounding, packaging, repackaging, labeling, or relabeling of its container  This means that you can be charged with “manufacturing” a drug, even if you are simply relabeling it. 


If charged with and convicted of felony drug manufacturing, it is likely such a charge will result in a lengthy prison sentence.

In North Carolina, drugs are classified into different categories based on how dangerous (or harmless) they are to consume. Every illegal drug is placed into a group, or schedule, and there are six schedules.

Schedule I includes all of those substances that are the most dangerous, while Schedule VI includes those that are the least dangerous. Schedule I includes heroine and opiates, while Schedule VI includes marijuana. Which Schedule the drug in question is categorized as will determine the outcome of the penalties associated with the manufacturing charge. 

In general, possession with the intent to manufacture a controlled substance that falls under Schedules I or II is a Class H Felony and is punishable by up to 39 months in prison. For the manufacturing of a Schedule III, IV, V or VI controlled substance, the crime carries a somewhat lower penalty of up to 24 months in prison. 

You should consult an experienced North Carolina criminal defense attorney for an assessment of your specific case if you are charged with the manufacturing of any controlled substance.

While each case is extremely unique, a common defense to any drug crime is violation of your Fourth Amendment rights.  Charges can only be filed if an officer follows proper protocol, such as having a warrant before searching your car at a traffic stop or before coming into your home.

Your criminal defense attorney will be in the best position to set forth the proper defenses to ensure you receive the best possible outcome for your case. If you find yourself in need of assistance to fight your manufacturing charges, Attorney Cotten can help. He has served hundreds of satisfied clients through Wake, Johnston, Harnett, Orange, Sampson, Lee, and Chatham Counties. Give him a call or click over to the main page to chat with a legal assistant.