When you are charged with a drug crime, you face an uncertain future. No matter the severity of the charge, you will always face consequences if you are convicted. Even if there is no resulting jail sentence, your life could be impacted in other ways. If you are facing drug charges, you need an experienced Charleston drug charge defense attorney today.
A criminal defense attorney at Davis Curry Law will represent you in a determined and understanding way. If you have been charged with drug crimes, you need to contact an attorney immediately.
About Drug Charges in South Carolina
In South Carolina, the severity of drug charges depends on the type of substance and whether it is a first offense. Second offenses for possession of many substances are often charged as felonies, with higher sentences. Possession of any type of controlled drug could result in a potential jail sentence.
Here are some of the penalties for drug crimes in South Carolina:
- Possession of twenty-eight grams or less of marijuana can be punished by a fine not less than $100 nor more than $200 or a jail term of up to 30 days. Second offenses can lead to jail time of up to one year.
- Possession of methamphetamine or cocaine can be punished by up to three years in prison for a first offense.
- Obtaining prescriptions by fraudulent means can mean a sentence of up to two years in prison
- If someone is charged with possessing more than a threshold amount of certain substances, the penalties can escalate significantly.
South Carolina has among the strictest penalties for drug possession in the country, and a conviction could have devastating circumstances.
Misdemeanor Drug Charges Are Still Serious
Many drug crimes are charged as misdemeanors in South Carolina. Just because you are not facing the most serious charges does not mean that a conviction will not carry consequences.
You could lose your job and be forced to carry a criminal record for a long time (or even the rest of your life). A conviction could lead to the loss of federal benefits, including your housing or student loans. Further, one conviction would be on your record, meaning a subsequent charge could be a felony.
Further, misdemeanor drug charges can still mean a jail sentence if you are convicted. Much would depend on the prosecutor and the circumstances of your individual case.
How An Attorney Can Help When You Are Facing Drug Charges
When you are facing drug crimes charges in South Carolina, you generally have two options:
- You can fight the charges against you in the hopes of the prosecutor either dropping them or being acquitted at trial
- You can negotiate with the prosecutor for lesser charges or a lighter sentence
When you have been charged with a crime, you are understandably scared. You may automatically think the worst. The first thing that we will do is review your case and explain the options that you may have.
We will then do our own investigation to see if there are any possible defenses to the charges against you. Drug cases depend largely on the evidence that the prosecution has. If the evidence goes away, the charges against you may not be proven. If law enforcement violated your rights when they seized evidence or arrested you, they may lose the evidence that they plan on using.
It is possible to successfully fight drug charges against you, but most cases will not make it all the way to trial. The reality is that most people will ultimately enter into a plea bargain, or the prosecutor’s case against you may fall apart. If you plead guilty, there is a wide range of potential outcomes.
Our lawyers can also speak with the prosecutor on your behalf. If you choose to negotiate a plea bargain, it helps to have attorneys who know how to deal with and speak with law enforcement. It may help you get a better deal than if you were trying to approach them on your own. Prosecutors want to win a conviction in your case and move on to the next one — so there is something that you can get in exchange for your guilty plea. However, there is nothing that says that you must plead guilty to the charges.
South Carolina does have the option of conditional discharge for a first offense, when the charges involve marijuana or other non-narcotic drugs (not available for substances like heroin and cocaine). The court could place you on probation and defer further proceedings.
However, violating the terms of the probation could lead to penalties. If the person convicted is under the age of 25, the conviction could be removed from their record once they complete the terms of the probation. The court is not obligated to conditionally discharge an offender – it is at their discretion.
How you are punished if you are convicted depends on many factors. Your attorney could work on your behalf to obtain a lighter possible sentence if you choose to plead guilty to the charges.
FAQs About Drug Crime Charges
What happens if the evidence being used against me was illegally seized?
The usual remedy for a violation of your Fourth Amendment rights is for the judge to suppress that particular evidence.
Can I handle my own drug charges case?
You should not attempt to deal with law enforcement on your own. In fact, you should call an attorney as soon as you have been arrested because you can make mistakes that can cloud your legal picture.
Will I go to jail if I am convicted of drug charges?
Not necessarily. Everything depends on the facts of your case, and your attorney will make the most effective arguments possible for a lesser sentence.
Contact a Drug Defense Lawyer in Charleston, SC Today
Drug crime convictions depend entirely on the evidence that law enforcement has gathered. However, in assembling their case against you, they may violate your legal rights, especially when you are unrepresented.
Never make the mistake of trusting the criminal justice system to be fair on its own. You should contact an attorney at Davis Curry Law as soon as you have been arrested. You can reach out to a Charleston drug defense lawyer online, or you can call us today at (828)-900-2420.