South Carolina Drug Lawyer

While various states have significantly loosened drug laws over the past several years, drug offenses in South Carolina are still taken extremely seriously by law enforcement and can result in severe criminal consequences. Even a misdemeanor drug conviction could limit your future personal and professional opportunities, and felony drug offenses are punishable by long prison sentences and the permanent loss of certain rights.

Whether you are facing charges for possession, distribution, manufacture, or trafficking of a controlled substance, a South Carolina drug lawyer could help protect your rights and defend your best interests. Without assistance from a qualified defense attorney, you may have a much harder time collecting exculpatory evidence and effectively challenging the allegations against you.

How Controlled Substances are Classified in South Carolina

The classification system that South Carolina uses for controlled substances more or less mirrors the system established under federal law, in that there are five categories known as “Schedules” into which drugs may be sorted. South Carolina Code of Laws §§44-53-180 through 44-53-270 set up classification criteria and list every substance currently included in each Schedule.

Schedule I drugs are considered the most dangerous controlled substances, as they have a high potential for abuse and no legitimate medical uses, while drugs in Schedules II through V are considered decreasingly dangerous and may have legitimate medical purposes. Possession of a narcotic Schedule I or II substance, like cocaine or LSD can result in a $5,000 fine and up to two or three years of imprisonment for a first conviction, while a first conviction for possession of any other controlled substance could lead to a $1,000 fine and a maximum of six months in jail.

Notably, while marijuana has been decriminalized or even legalized in some states, South Carolina still classifies this drug as a Schedule I substance. Possession of less than an ounce of marijuana is treated as a misdemeanor and could be punished upon conviction for a first offense by a maximum jail sentence of 30 days and a fine of between $100 and $200. A qualified drug attorney in South Carolina could help contest charges for possession of marijuana, cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, or any other controlled substance.

When Is There a Presumed Intent to Sell?

First offenses for drug possession are generally considered misdemeanors, so long as the defendant is only accused of possessing the substance for personal use. However, possession of a certain amount of a drug establishes a presumption that the defendant intended to sell it to other people, allowing for significantly enhanced penalties upon conviction.

As per South Carolina Code of Laws §44-53-370(d)(4), possession of more than the following amounts of controlled substances constitutes prima facie evidence of intent to sell:

  • One gram of cocaine
  • Two grains of heroin
  • Four grains of opium
  • Fifty micrograms of LSD or related compounds
  • 15 tablets or capsules of MDMA
  • One ounce of marijuana
  • 10 grams of hashish

An experienced lawyer familiar with local drug laws could provide crucial assistance contesting a presumption of intent to sell and mitigating the sanctions that might stem from an ensuing conviction.

Seek Help from a South Carolina Drug Attorney

Drug offenses can lead to harsh consequences no matter what they entail, as even misdemeanor possession charges are sometimes punishable by jail time. If you are accused of more serious offenses involving alleged distribution or production of controlled substances, assistance from legal counsel could make the difference between a positive case resolution and a long stint in state prison.

A South Carolina drug lawyer could explain all your legal options and ensure you pursue the best one for your unique circumstances. To set up a consultation, call today.