Over the last two decades, meth use has increased at alarming rates in South Carolina. Methamphetamine, sometimes referred to as crystal meth, is an extremely addictive drug, and may be used legally if you have a prescription.
Meth is a controlled substance and its sale, manufacture, and/or use is illegal. In response to the meth epidemic federal and state governments have passed very strict penalties or people who are convicted of criminal offenses that involve the illegal possession, sale, or manufacture of meth.
What is Crystal Meth?
While some drugs such as marijuana and cocaine are made from plants, meth is completely chemical. It’s most often turned into a white powder or rock-like substance that people inject snort, or smoke.
Because it looks a bit like a rock, meth is often referred to as crystal meth, ice, crank, glass, and speed.
Additionally, the manufacturing process for meth is dangerous and involves using both explosive and noxious chemicals.
What Are Some Meth Precursors and Paraphernalia?
In addition to it being illegal to possess meth, it’s also illegal to possess the chemicals that are used in the manufacturing process. Additionally, it’s illegal to possess the paraphernalia used in manufacturing it such as balances or scales.
What Does A Prosecutor in South Carolina Have to Prove?
You could be convicted of possession of meth, either for your personal use or to sell if the South Carolina prosecutor proves that you knew the substance in your possession was meth.
In South Carolina, the prosecutor doesn’t have a heavy burden of proof in order to have you convicted of meth possession. Under federal law, you could be convicted if the prosecutor convinces a jury that you knew or had reasonable grounds to suspect that the items in your possession were going to be used to manufacture meth.
What Are The Defenses to Meth Possession in South Carolina?
If you are charged with simple meth possession in South Carolina, you may be able to argue that you had a valid prescription for meth, or that the meth belonged to another person.
If you are charged with possession with intent to sell, the most common defense in South Carolina is that you had the meth in your possession for your own personal use.
What Are the Penalties for Meth Possession in South Carolina?
If you are charged with simple possession (less than 1 ounce) the penalties are:
- 1st offense: This is a misdemeanor with a penalty of up to 3 years in prison and up to a $5,000 fine.
- 2nd offense: This is a felony with up to 5 years of prison and up to a $7,500 fine
- 3rd offense: This is a felony with up to 10 years of prison and a maximum fine of $12,500.
Even greater penalties are imposed is you are charged with manufacturing meth. They are as follows:
- 1st offense: Up to 15 years in prison and a fine up to $25,000
- 2nd offense: Between 5-30 years in prison and fines up to $50,000
- 3rd offense: Between 10-30 years in prison and up to a $50,000 fine.
Do I Need a South Carolina Criminal Defense Lawyer?
The short answer is yes. Being charged with a meth crime in South Carolina is an extremely serious matter. It’s in your best interest to speak with a South Carolina criminal defense attorney who has experience dealing with meth laws and the penalties associated with them.
The criminal defense lawyers at the Greenville law firm of Bannister, Wyatt & Stalvey, L.L.C. have the skill, knowledge, and experience to form a strong defense on your behalf and ensure that all of your rights are protected.