All states regulate and control the sale of controlled dangerous substances (CDS), though each differs in its exact definition of CDS and the penalties for sale. North Dakota classifies not only well-known drugs like marijuana, heroin, and cocaine as CDS, but also the compounds used to manufacture them.
This article discusses the illegal manufacture and sale of CDS only. Illegally possessing CDS for personal use carries different penalties. For more information on possession of CDS for personal use, see Possession of Controlled Substances in North Dakota.
Also, while marijuana is considered a CDS, this article does not cover North Dakota’s marijuana possession and sale laws. To learn more about that topic, see North Dakota Marijuana Laws.
How North Dakota Classifies CDS
North Dakota divides CDS into five “Schedules.” Schedule I lists the most dangerous drugs, which have a high probability of abuse and addiction, and no recognized medical value. Schedules II, III, IV, and V decrease in dangerousness and probability of abuse, and increase in recognized medical uses.
If you’ve been arrested for illegal CDS production or sales, you’ll need to consult the North Dakota Code that lists precisely which drugs fit into each group. Go to the statute (N.D. Cen. Code Ann. §§ 19-03.1-05, -07, -09, -11, & -13) and find the substance you're charged with selling -- it will be listed under one of the five classes.
Penalties for Making or Selling CDS
It is illegal in North Dakota to make or sell CDS (or possess CDS with the intent to do these things). Penalties vary according to the type and amount of CDS involved in the violation, as described below. (N.D. Cen. Code Ann. §19-03.1-23 (1).)
Class A felony
Making or selling a Schedule I or II narcotic CDS, or methamphetamine is a class A felony. Penalties include a fine of up to $10,000, up to 20 years in prison, or both. Second offenses incur a minimum of at least five (and up to 20) years in prison, and third or subsequent offenses incur 20 years in prison.
Class B felony
Making or selling a non-narcotic Schedule I, II, or III CDS is a class B felony. Penalties include a fine of up to $10,000, up to ten years in prison, or both. Second offenses incur a minimum of at least three (and up to ten) years in prison, and third or subsequent offenses incur ten years in prison.
Class C felony
Making or selling a Schedule IV CDS is a class C felony. Penalties include a fine of up to $5,000, up to five years in prison, or both. Second offenses incur a minimum of at least six months in jail (and up to five years in prison), third offenses incur at least one year (and up to five years) in prison, and fourth and subsequent offenses incur five years in prison.
Class A misdemeanor
Making or selling a Schedule V CDS is a class a misdemeanor. Penalties include a fine of up to $1,000, up to one year in jail, or both.
If any of the following aggravating factors existed during the violation, the defendant will be sentenced according to the next highest crime level. For example, if the crime would normally be classified as a Class A misdemeanor, but an aggravating factor existed during the violation, the defendant will face the penalties applicable to a class C felony. If the underlying crime is normally a class C felony, penalties will be those applicable to a class B felony, and so forth. (N.D. Cen. Code Ann. § 19-03.1-23.1.) Aggravating factors are:
- the CDS was made or sold on or within 1,000 feet of child care, preschool, or other school facility's property
- the defendant was at least 16 years old at the time of the offense, and sold CDS to a minor
- the offense involved specified amounts and types of CDS (such as 50 grams or more of heroin or cocaine, or one gram of LSD), or
- the defendant was carrying a firearm during the violation
Employing a Minor to Sell CDS
It is a class B felony to employ a minor (someone younger than 18 years old) to make or sell CDS, even if the employer did not know the minor’s age. Penalties include a fine of up to $10,000, up to ten years in prison, or both. Second and subsequent offenses incur a minimum of at least five (and up to ten) years in prison (N.D. Cen. Code Ann. § 19-03.1-23(4).)
Illegal Internet Sales
It is a class C felony to fill or refill CDS prescriptions over the internet based solely on the consumer’s completion of an online medical questionnaire. It is also illegal to otherwise use the internet to connect CDS buyers and sellers (even if the defendant never meets the buyer or seller, or does not handle CDS). Penalties include a fine of up to $5,000, up to five years in prison, or both. (N.D. Cen. Code Ann. §19-03.1-23 (6).)
Talk to an Attorney
CDS manufacture or sale convictions can incur long periods of incarceration. A local lawyer who practices CDS defense will review the facts of your case, explain your options, and advise you of the possible consequences.