A drug arrest is taken seriously in South Carolina and a conviction can have a lasting impact on your life. Depending on various factors, penalties can range from simple fines to serious prison sentences. Additionally, most drug crimes are General Sessions charges and are handled in Circuit Court. This is an intimidating experience for the accused and for loved ones and the drug laws are complicated to follow.
Fort Mill Drug Crimes Defense Lawyers
Arrested for drug possession, trafficking, or distribution in York County, SC? Then you need an experienced, local drug crimes defense lawyer. Located in Fort Mill, our South Carolina criminal lawyers defend those arrested with drug charges in York County or Lancaster County, including Fort Mill, Rock Hill, Tega Cay, and Indian Land. Our law firm’s experienced drug crimes defense team includes both a former prosecutor and former police officer who know how to navigate the court system to defend your rights. Call our office today for a FREE consultation on your York County drug possession case or drug charges in any South Carolina court.
Types of Drugs under SC Law
There are 5 categories of drugs under South Carolina law in which drugs can be classified and are often listed on warrants as being in Schedules I-V. The full list of drugs deemed illegal can be found under S.C. Code 44-53. In South Carolina, it is illegal to possess any amount of marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, LSD, ecstacy, and MDMA, among others. It is also illegal to possess any amount of a prescription drug without a prescription. This includes substances such as Xanax, Adderall, and opioid medication.
There are three levels of drug possession in South Carolina. The first of course is simple possession. Simple possession means you either have actual or constructive possession of an amount of an illegal substance which doesn’t rise to the level of distribution or trafficking. These crimes can be enhanced, meaning if you are subsequently arrested for possession after already being convicted of a drug crime, you face higher penalties. For example, a first offense simple possession of cocaine only carries up to 3 years, but a third offense possession of cocaine carries up to 10 years.
Manufacturing and Distribution
It is illegal to manufacture or distribute an illegal drug in South Carolina. You can be charged with this by either having a certain weight of the drug in question or by also being in possession of circumstantial evidence that shows you were distributing the drug. For example, if found in possession of less than one ounce of marijuana, you may still be charged with distribution if you have additional drug paraphernalia such as scales or baggies that make it look like you were selling the drug. This also applies to creating or growing any sort of illegal substance such as methamphetamine or marijuana.
Trafficking is a serious and violent offense in South Carolina and must be taken very seriously. Mandatory minimum sentences exist for any level of trafficking. These range from a minimum sentence of 1 year for trafficking between 10 and 100 lbs of marijuana first offense to a minimum of 25 years for trafficking between 14 and 28 grams of heroin. Additionally, any 3rd offense for trafficking any illegal drug carries a minimum of 25 years.
Illegal Searches and Seizures
The United States Constitution protects citizens against illegal searches and seizures and if found in possession of one of these substances, you need to consult an attorney to determine if law enforcement had probable cause to search you. You have rights and you deserve to have the best representation possible to avoid an invalid conviction.
Bond or Bail
Bond or bail can be set extremely high or even denied for drug offenses. If you receive subsequent drug offenses when out on bond for a drug offense, the Solicitor’s Office can move to revoke your bond.