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North Carolina Criminal Law 90-95.4: Employing a Minor to Commit a Drug Law Violation

1. Definition and Elements of the Crime

Drug Law Violation Under North Carolina Criminal Law Chapter 90-95.4, the crime of employing a minor to commit a drug law violation is defined as hiring or intentionally using a minor to violate the Controlled Substances Act.

To prove a charge of employing a minor to commit a drug law violation, the State must be able to establish the following prima facie elements Beyond a Reasonable Doubt:

  1. The Defendant hired and/or intentionally used a minor to violate the Controlled Substances Act by (a violation of North Carolina Criminal Law Chapter 90-95(a)(1))
  2. At the time of the offense, the minor was less than 18 years of age at the time he or she was hired and/or intentionally used
  3. At the time the Defendant hired and/or intentionally used the minor, the Defendant was at least (18 years old but less than 21 years old) or (21 years of age or older)

“Minor” means anyone who is less than 18 years of age.

“Hires” means to pay someone to do something; payment would include money and other things of value.

“Intentionally uses” does not require payment.

2. Examples
  1. Defendant, 24, is a weed dealer. Defendant pays a 13 year old to sell weed on the street corner. Defendant can be charged with a Class E felony (3 levels higher than a Class I felony for PWISD Marijuana - Possession with Intent to Sell or Deliver Marijuana).
  2. Defendant, 19, sells cocaine in a Charlotte neighborhood. Defendant asks a 10 year old neighbor to help him sell the drugs. Defendant offers to buy the minor a new pair of the most popular athletic shoes in return for his help. Defendant can be charged with a Class E felony (2 classes higher than a Class H felony for PWISD cocaine).
  3. Defendant is 28 years old. On his son’s 18th birthday, the Defendant asks his son to work as a “lookout” when he sells 7 grams of heroin to an undercover CMPD Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Officer. The Defendant is charged with Trafficking Heroin (Level 1). The Defendant’s son is also charged with Trafficking as a co-conspirator. In that the son is 18 years old, the Defendant cannot be convicted of Employing a Minor to Commit a Drug Violation. The Defendant’s son is not a minor.
  4. Defendant employs his son to assist in selling methamphetamine. The Defendant’s son is 17 years and 364 days old. The matter in continued for trial for 6 months in Mecklenburg County Superior Court. Although the son later turns 18, at the time of the offense, his son was a minor. Defendant can be charged and possibly convicted for Employing his son to Committ a Drug Violation.
3. Similar Offenses4. Defenses to Employing a Minor to Commit a Drug Law Violation

The fact that the co-conspirator is not a “minor” under the NC criminal laws (18 years old or older) may serve as a valid defense.

Mistake of age is NOT a defense to a violation of North Carolina Criminal Law Chapter 90-95.4.

5. Penalties
  1. If the individual charged is at least 18 years of age but less than 21 years of age, then the offense is punishable as follows:
    1. If the minor was more than 13 years of age, then as a felony that is one class more severe than the violation of North Carolina Criminal Law Chapter 90-95(a)(1) for which the minor was hired or intentionally used
      • For example, a Class H felony becomes a Class G felony
    2. If the minor was 13 years of age or younger, then as a felony that is two classes more severe than the violation of North Carolina Criminal Law Chapter 90-95(a)(1) for which the minor was hired or intentionally used
      • For example, a Class H felony becomes a Class F felony
  2. If the individual charged is at least 21 years of age or older, then the offense is punishable as follows:
    1. If the minor was more than 13 years of age, then as a felony that is three classes more severe than the violation of North Carolina Criminal Law Chapter 90-95(a)(1) for which the minor was hired or intentionally used
      • For example, a Class H felony becomes a Class E felony
    2. If the minor was 13 years of age or younger, then as a felony that is four classes more severe than the violation of North Carolina Criminal Law Chapter 90-95(a)(1) for which the minor was hired or intentionally used
      • For example, a Class H felony becomes a Class D felony
6. Criminal Defense for Employing a Minor to Commit a Drug Law Violation

 Drug Law Violation If you have been charged with the felony charge of employing a minor to commit a drug law violation, you need to contact an experienced North Carolina criminal attorney.

Our Charlotte Criminal Defense Lawyers can advise you of your constitutional rights and guide you through the court process.

The severity of your penalties is exacerbated substantially if you are convicted of violating North Carolina Law Chapter 90-95.4.

This is a serious offense that could carry substantial prison time, depending on the nature and circumstances of the offense. In addition, this sentence can be imposed on top of any other active sentence for other misdemeanor or felony charge.

It’s imperative to begin your defense without delay. Please call 704-342-4357 immediately.

Call NOW to schedule your complementary legal consultation with our Charlotte Criminal Defense Attorneys. Everything discussed during consultation is confidential.

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