LEGAL HELP FOR THOSE ARRESTED ON DRUG CHARGES IN SOUTH CAROLINA
Being arrested on drug charges can have serious consequences, even if you’re a first-time offender. In fact, simply having drugs in your possession – even if there is no evidence that you used them or intended to sell them – is a criminal offense in South Carolina. This is why hiring a skilled and experienced drug defense lawyer is extremely important if you’ve been arrested for drugs.
SOUTH CAROLINA DRUG LAWS & LEGAL PUNISHMENTS
The use and possession of drugs is criminalized under South Carolina law. Those who have been arrested for drugs can be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on their individual circumstances. These factors include the type and amount of drugs in the person’s possession, whether they have any prior convictions, and if they were found with drugs within close proximity to a school.
Penalties related to drug charges in South Carolina also vary based on the classification of the crime. These include simple possession, possession with intent to sell, distribution, manufacturing, and trafficking.
Here is a breakdown of simple possession penalties for commonly used drugs:
- Marijuana: Possession of one ounce or less carries a maximum penalty of 30 days in jail and a fine of up to $200 for the first offense. The presence of a previous conviction can lead to a jail sentence of up to one year and a fine of up to $1,000. (Slang terms: Weed, Pot, Grass, Reefer, Hash, Cannabis, Ganja, Herb, Mary Jane)
- Cocaine: Possession of one gram or less can result in a three-year jail sentence and a fine of up to $5,000 for a first-time offender. The first offense is a misdemeanor, but subsequent offenses are felonies. A person with previous offenses could receive a jail sentence of up to 10 years and $12,500 in fines. (Slang terms: Coke, Blow, Big C, Dust, Line, Rail, Snow, Powder, Pearl, Bump – Crack Cocaine: Rock Candy, Base, Ball, Rocks, Nuggets, Grit, Hail, Dice, Sleet)
- Heroin: Possession of two grains or less for a first-time offender carries a maximum penalty of two years in jail and a $5,000 fine. The first offense is a misdemeanor, but subsequent offenses are felonies. A person with previous convictions can receive a jail sentence of up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. (Slang terms: dope, smack, H, Junk, Skag, Snow, Horse, China White, Brown, Beast, Hero)
- MDMA (Ecstasy, or “Molly” in crystallized form): Possession of less than 15 dosage units can lead to up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine for first-time offenders. Those with prior convictions can receive up to one year in jail and a $2,000 fine. (Slang Terms: Ecstasy, X, XTC, E, M, Adam, Bean, Roll, Molly, Hug Drug, Love Drug)
- Methamphetamine: Possession of a gram or less can carry a sentence of up to three years in jail and a fine of up to $5,000 for first-time offenders. The first offense is a misdemeanor, but subsequent offenses are felonies. Those with prior convictions can be faced with up to 10 years in jail and be fined up to $12,500. (Slang Terms: Meth, Crystal Meth, Crystal, Speed, Crank, Chalk, Wash, Trash, Dunk, Gak, Pookie, Cookies)
- LSD: Possession of less than 50 micrograms can carry a sentence of up to two years in jail and a $5,000 fine for first-time offenders. The first offense is a misdemeanor, while subsequent offenses are felonies. Those with prior convictions can face up to five years in jail and a $10,000 fine. (Slang Terms: Acid, Lucy, Tabs, Doses, California Sunshine, L, Cid, Superman, Looney Toons, Dots)
The above bullet points are intended to serve as a general guide. Only a qualified drug defense lawyer can provide comprehensive information relating to your specific case. It is also important to understand that all drug charges involving distribution, manufacturing, trafficking, and possession with intent to distribute are felonies.
LIFESTYLE, EMPLOYMENT & SOCIAL CONSEQUENCES
Getting arrested on drug charges in the state of South Carolina can lead to serious consequences that can be difficult to deal with. In addition to possible jail time and fines, you could end up with a permanent record which could make it difficult to be hired for jobs in the future. You could also be turned away from other opportunities which require a background check, such as volunteer programs, or face difficulty enrolling in the military.
Those who have been convicted of a drug crime often find themselves enrolled in a court-mandated rehabilitation program. Although these programs are designed to help people with substance abuse problems, they can cause serious disruption to a person’s work and personal life.
It is also important to keep in mind that being convicted of a drug charge comes with a social stigma, and family and friends may react to your charge in a negative way.
The consequences of drug convictions can span far beyond jail time and fines, resulting in collateral damage that can follow the convicted person around for the rest of their life. Hiring a skilled drug defense lawyer is key, as some consequences of a drug conviction can be mitigated by effective criminal defense legal representation.
HOW WE CAN HELP
If you’ve been arrested on drug charges in South Carolina, hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney is absolutely vital – especially at a time when law enforcement officials are under extreme pressure to appear tough on drugs and prosecutors often pursue maximum penalties.
The attorneys at McWhirter, Bellinger & Associates are experienced, knowledgeable, and committed to fighting for you. The earlier you contact us, the more we can help you. We’re ready to represent you immediately, and will stand by your side through the interrogation process. We’ll make you aware of your rights and ensure that you don’t incriminate yourself when speaking to law enforcement officials.
As the process moves forward, we can advise you on the best steps to take – including how to plea – and inform you of the possible outcomes of any hearings you may have to attend. We can make the legal process less stressful by explaining the entire procedure, answering your questions, providing clarity, and putting an end to any confusion you might have.
This setback doesn’t have to be detrimental to your life. Let the drug defense lawyers at McWhirter, Bellinger & Associates achieve the best outcome for you, so that you can move forward and put this incident behind you as quickly as possible.
Contact us for a free consultation today at 888-353-5513. It won’t cost you anything to see if we can help.®