While many states have legalized or decriminalized marijuana in the United States, and Oregon has decriminalized all illegal substances, South Carolina has not yet made a decision to legalize or decriminalize any common "drugs" or illegal substances. Because of differences in drug laws between South Carolina and neighboring states, or any other states, visitors or transplants from other states may be confused on what they are allowed to bring into or have in their possession in South Carolina.
At the time of writing in South Carolina, marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamines, psychedelics such as "magic mushrooms", and all types of designer or prescription pills without a prescription are still illegal and possession is punishable under the law.
If you have been arrested for possession in South Carolina, you do have options. At TF Law, our Greenville drug defense lawyers understand that mistakes happen, and we're ready to help you with whatever charges you are facing.
What Are Possible Sentences for Minor Possession in South Carolina?
The possible sentencing for your drug charges in South Carolina depends on what type of drug you have, and how much of that drug you have in your possession. While some states have decriminalized certain drugs, South Carolina has not, which means every possession charge in South Carolina comes with a chance of criminal charges, fines, and time behind bars. Drug offenses in South Carolina are taken extremely seriously, and sentencing tends to be extremely harsh.
- Simple possession: up to $1,000 in fines, and up to 30 days in jail
- Intent to distribute: up to $5,000 in fines, and up to 5 years in jail
- Trafficking: 1-10 years in jail, up to $10,000 in fines
- Cocaine, Heroine, Methamphetamines:
- Simple possession: up to $5,000 in fines, and up to 2-3 years in jail
- Intent to distribute: up to $25,000 in fines, up to 15 years in jail
- Trafficking: up to $25,000 in fines, and 3-10 years in jail
- MDMA, LSD:
- Simple possession: up to $1,000 fine, up to 6 months in jail
- Intent to distribute: up to $5,000 in fines, up to 5 years in jail
- Trafficking: 3-10 years behind bars, up to $20,000 in fines
- Prescription drugs without a valid prescription:
- Simple possession: minimum 2 years in jail and $50 fine, raises depending on amount and type of drug
While these aren't all of the drugs found in South Carolina, these are the major drugs that encompass a majority of drug charges in the Palmetto State. Simple possession charges can easily become intent to distribute charges if you are also in possession of drug paraphernalia.
Are There Any Ways to Get Drug Charges Dropped?
While the simple answer is yes, the long answer is that it depends entirely on the circumstances of your case and the evidence against you as to whether or not there is a way to get your charges dropped. There are a few major ways in which an experienced defense attorney can get your charges lessened or dropped, many of which are based off of violations of your constitutional rights:
- Entrapment: while many people do not understand what entrapment is, entrapment can be used against the arresting officer if they went "above and beyond" to supply you with illegal substances. For example, if an undercover cop continuously follows you around, offers you illegal substances repeatedly no matter how many times you say no, and harasses you until you purchase illegal substances from them, that is entrapment.
- Unlawful search or seizure: if police officers conduct an illegal search on your home or vehicle and find illegal substances or paraphernalia, that evidence is considered "fruit of the poisonous vine" and cannot be used against you in court. Searches done without a search warrant can sometimes be thrown out, which can cause your entire case to be thrown out.
- Insufficient evidence: if the state does not have enough evidence against you to prove, beyond reasonable doubt, that you are guilty, they cannot convict you.
- Plea Bargins: an experienced attorney may be able to negotiate a plea bargain for you in order to lessen your sentencing or time to be spent in jail. This can involve any matter of things, including a need for you to name your supplier or dealer, etc.
Related Content: Why You Should Get a Lawyer for Drug Charges
What Should I Do if I Am Arrested for Possession?
If you are being arrested for possession, the best thing you can do is be quiet and observe. Any and every detail you are able to relay to your criminal defense attorney can be helpful in getting your drug possession charges dropped or dismissed, and since anything you say can and will be used against you, you are better off not saying anything.
Remembering details such as the names and badge numbers of arresting officers, any nearby security cameras or witnesses can be exactly what your attorney needs to turn your case in your favor. Remember everything that you can, write it down if possible, and give that information to your attorney as soon as you are able to.
Do not give law enforcement officers permission to search your vehicle or home or any other belongings, do not admit to anything, and do not make any threats or try to resist arrest. These actions will only lead to heavier consequences against you. South Carolina takes Drug Crime extremely seriously, and essentially anything you do will make things worse for you in the end.
There is No Time to Waste
No matter what led to your situation, if you are facing drug charges in the Greenville area of South Carolina, then it is time to call TF Law. Possession of illegal drugs is a serious criminal offense, and the longer you wait to secure representation the harder it will be for your attorney to have your charges lessened or dropped. At TF Law, we believe that all of our clients deserve the best representation possible, and we ensure that we will do everything possible to fight for a better outcome for your case.
Call our defense lawyers in Greenville today for a free consultation, and let us help you move past your mistakes, clear your criminal record, and get your life back on track.