Drug offenses are one of the most commonly prosecuted charges in South Carolina.
A “drug” is any substance classified in Schedules I-V as found in South Carolina Code Sections 44-53-180 through 44-53-270. Not all drug offenses are the same, however, carrying a wide array of punishments, including lengthy prison sentences, depending on the schedule of drug.
Drug offenses are also enhanceable, meaning an accused may face harsher penalties for subsequent drug convictions.
Depending on the amount of drugs confiscated and the prior history of an accused, charges may vary. Drug offenses often fall into three major categories:
1 – Simple Drug Possession:
Being in possession of a quantity of a substance listed in one of the Schedules I-V without a valid prescription is a crime in the State of South Carolina. These crimes can range in jail sentence length from a possible thirty days for a first offense possession of 28 grams (1 ounce) or less of marijuana up to 10 years for a third offense possession of less than 1 gram of cocaine. These offenses can carry varying fines and may stay on a person’s criminal record forever if convicted depending on the type of offense.
2 – Manufacturing, Distribution, & Possession with Intent to Distribute:
Manufacturing, distributing, or possessing drugs with an intent to distribute can carry higher penalties than simply possessing drugs. An inference may arise that a person intends to distribute drugs by the amount of drugs confiscated alone, without any other evidence that a person plans to sell the drugs. This inference can lead to harsher penalties for a person who was simply possessing drugs with no intention of ever distributing those drugs. Manufacturing, distributing, or possessing with the intent to distribute drugs can carry significant jail sentences and large fines.
3 – Trafficking:
Based upon the amount of drugs that are confiscated, a person may be charged with trafficking drugs. A charge for trafficking drugs often carries significant jail time, which may include mandatory minimum jail sentences if convicted. A conviction for trafficking drugs may constitute a strike and can lead to life imprisonment in certain circumstances.
Constructive Possession and Illegal Search and Seizure
Just because you have been charged with a drug offense does not mean that you are guilty. You may have been charged for being in the same area of drugs under the theory of constructive possession. You may have been arrested as a result of an illegal search and seizure under the Fourth Amendment.
Contact a criminal drug lawyer and defense attorney at Pisarik Law Firm today for a free consultation to discuss your drug arrest defense.
At the Pisarik Law Firm, we represent people on a variety of different drug charges including: Marijuana, Synthetic Marijuana, Cocaine, MDMA (Ecstacy), Crack, Methamphetamine (“Meth”), Lortab, Oxycontin, Oxycodone, Percocet, Hydrocodone, Vicodin, Xanax, and other drugs classified in the statutory schedules I-V.
If you have been charged or are under investigation for a drug crime, contact an experienced criminal drug lawyer at Pisarik Law Firm today to discuss your drug arrest defense. Initial consultations are free of charge. 803-415-2733