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Can I be arrested for possession of certain chemicals?

On Behalf of | Jul 11, 2024 | CRIMINAL LAW - Drug Charges

People may not be aware of the implications of possessing certain chemicals. Common chemicals are generally harmless, but some can be used to create illegal substances or pose a risk to public safety. The dual nature of these chemicals has led to stricter regulations and increased scrutiny.

Commonly flagged chemicals

Chemicals are an integral part of our daily lives, from cleaning supplies to industrial materials. However, the production of controlled substances also involves the use of these chemicals. This can lead to legal complications. Law enforcement agencies monitor these chemicals, also referred to as precursor chemicals, due to their potential misuse. Some examples include:

  • Acetone: A solvent commonly found in nail polish remover and paint thinners.
  • Pseudoephedrine: A nasal decongestant present in many cold and allergy medications.
  • Anhydrous ammonia: A gas used as a fertilizer in gardening and agriculture.
  • Red phosphorus: A reactive, nonmetallic element found in matchbox strike plates.
  • Sodium hydroxide: A soluble compound used in making cleaners and soaps.

It’s important to know that intent is a crucial factor in determining chemical possession. If you have large quantities of precursor chemicals, law enforcement may suspect illegal intent. The intent may heighten if police officers find you with equipment commonly used in drug production or if you have a history of drug-related offenses.

The risks of chemical possession

The consequences of possessing chemicals go beyond just legal troubles. Many of these chemicals are highly volatile. They can pose significant health risks if not properly handled. Exposure to certain chemicals may cause severe burns and respiratory problems. In some cases, they may cause death. Illegal drug production often takes place in unsafe and unregulated settings. This creates serious risks for both individuals and communities. Unchecked use of chemicals may cause fires, explosions and environmental contamination.

Possessing these chemicals with the intent to produce a controlled substance is a serious offense, punishable by fines and imprisonment. In North Carolina, this is a felony and may carry a sentence of up to ten years in prison.

Drug-related charges can upend your life. If you are in a situation involving chemical possession or use, consider seeking professional legal advice. A defense attorney with a background in criminal law may help you establish your rights.