Parental Substance Use as Child Abuse - North Carolina

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Citation: Ann. Stat. § 15A-1340.16

When imposing a sentence upon conviction of a crime, the court shall consider evidence of aggravating or mitigating factors present in the offense that make an aggravated or mitigated sentence appropriate, but the decision to depart from the presumptive range is in the discretion of the court. The State bears the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that an aggravating factor exists, and the offender bears the burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence that a mitigating factor exists.

The court shall make findings of the aggravating and mitigating factors present in the offense only if, in its discretion, it departs from the presumptive range of sentences specified in § 15A-1340.17(c)(2). If the jury finds factors in aggravation, the court shall ensure that those findings are entered in the court's determination of sentencing. Findings shall be in writing. The requirement to make findings in order to depart from the presumptive range applies regardless of whether the sentence of imprisonment is activated or suspended.

Aggravating factors include the following:

  • The offense involved the sale or delivery of a controlled substance to a minor.
  • The offense is the manufacture of methamphetamine and was committed where a person under age 18 lives, was present, or was otherwise endangered by exposure to the drug, its ingredients, its by-products, or its waste.
  • The offense is the manufacture of methamphetamine and was committed in a dwelling that is one of four or more contiguous dwellings.

Mitigating factors include the following:

  • The defendant has entered and is currently involved in or has successfully completed a drug treatment program or an alcohol treatment program subsequent to arrest and prior to trial.
  • The defendant has a good treatment prognosis, and a workable treatment plan is available.