What You Need To Know About A Drug Charge:
Most criminal drug charges stem from possession, manufacturing, distributing or trafficking drugs or narcotics (“controlled substances,” as the law refers to them). While the severity of penalties differs for each charge, it is important to understand that any drug charge can carry life-altering consequences.
It is also important to know that the type of substance can greatly impact impending outcomes. Possession of marijuana, trafficking cocaine or prescription drugs, or manufacturing methamphetamine all require different defense strategies. Search and seizure issues, probable cause discrepancies, and inaccurate warrants are just a few of the many methods used to defend a drug charge.
Are Drug Charges Classified in South Carolina?
In South Carolina, drug crimes normally are classified into felonies or misdemeanors. In general, if you commit a felony crime you could be looking at more than one year in prison.
Misdemeanors normally come with up to one year of jail time, a fine, or another penalty. However, as with many things, there are exceptions in the South Carolina Code of Laws.
Whether you are charged with a felony or misdemeanor in South Carolina comes down to the type of drug, the amount of the drug, and whether you are charged with simple possession, drug distribution/sale, or drug trafficking.
Also, you could be charged with attempted drug crimes where you may have had the intent to commit a crime, but the crime was not completed.
What Are the Types of Drug Charges in South Carolina?
In South Carolina, your drug crime could be classified into one or more of the following:
- Drug Possession: You could be charged with actual possession or constructive possession which means drugs were found to be in your home, car, or another area in your immediate vicinity.
- Possession With Intent to Distribute: If drugs are found to be in a sufficient quantity that it is presumable you intended to sell or distribute them.
- Manufacturing of Drugs: Producing, cultivating, and/or preparing illegal drugs for personal use or distribution
- Drug Trafficking: The drugs would have to weigh a certain amount for you to be charged with drug trafficking
- Drug Conspiracy: This is when there was an implicit or explicit agreement between you and one or more people to engage in a criminal enterprise such as distributing or selling drugs in an open-air market.
Keep in mind not only could you be prosecuted through the state courts but also the federal district courts.
What Are the Most Common Types of Drugs Found in South Carolina?
In South Carolina marijuana, cocaine/crack, methamphetamine, and heroin all seem to be the drugs of choice. However, prescription drugs such as Oxycontin, Alprazolam, and Xanax could also cause you to be charged with improper possession of a controlled substance.
What Are the Penalties for Drug Convictions in South Carolina?
The penalty you may receive for your South Carolina drug crimes depends in most part on the classification of the drug, the type of drug, and the quantity of the drug. Also, the circumstances and nature of your charge and whether you’ve had any prior drug convictions or offenses.
The most common penalties for a South Carolina drug crime conviction can include:
- Prison/Jail Time
- Community Service
- Mandatory drug treatment abuse program
Can I Contest a Drug Analysis Report in South Carolina?
While South Carolina police officers undergo extensive training to identify and locate illegal drugs, their opinion can’t hold up in a court of many times the South Carolina prosecutor’s case depends on the results of laboratory analysis.
An experienced criminal defense attorney in South Carolina may be able to assist you in contesting the results of the lab tests. For example, your attorney could argue that the drugs failed to follow the proper chain of custody, the methods the lab used were not correct, or that the substance tested was not an illegal drug.
Obtaining legal representation as early as possible after you are charged with a drug crime is a vital step in achieving the best possible resolution for your case. There are several factors to consider when putting together a criminal defense for a drug charge, so an attorney with experience in drug defense will be able to help you understand any state and/or federal implications and analyze your situation to find weaknesses in the prosecution’s case.
Drug charges are serious, but you do not have to handle them alone. Contact Bannister, Wyatt & Stalvey for a free initial consultation to discuss the details of your case confidentially. Give us a call at (864) 523-7738 or contact us online now.