If you’ve been arrested and charged with a drug offense in the Charleston area, you are probably worried about what will happen to you. After all, there’s a lot more to worry about than fines and jail time. You may also face losing your driver’s license, your job, even your right to vote. Of course, it all really depends on the unique facts of your case and the charges. So, here’s what you should know about drug crimes in Charleston.
Most Common Drugs
A report by Mic Networks suggests that marijuana remains the most common illegal drug in South Carolina, despite recent surges in methamphetamine and cocaine use. Other common illegal drugs include:
- Heroine (and other opioids)
- LSD (acid)
- MDMA (ecstasy)
- Prescription drugs
Most Common Drug Charges
South Carolina law is very complex. The penalties for a drug crime can vary widely, just depending on the amount of the substance and other extenuating circumstances, such as how it was obtained. This is why it’s so important not to speak to the police without first talking to a lawyer. Many suspects accidentally implicate themselves in more serious charges without even realizing it. Still, here are just a few of the most common arrests in the Charleston area.
Possession of Marijuana
Possession is a misdemeanor that will stay on your permanent record. While it may seem odd that marijuana can still carry such stiff penalties, it’s important to remember that it remains a crime federally and in most states. Under Section 44-53-370 of the South Carolina Code if you are convicted of possessing marijuana, you could face up to $1,000 in fines and 30 days in jail, just for the first offense. A second offense can mean up to a year in jail, plus another $1,000 fine.
Marijuana (Manufacture, Distribution and Possession with the Intent to Distribute)
A lot of people make the mistake of thinking that the police need to prove a certain amount of the drug in order to prove your intent to distribute. This is just not true. Instead, quantity is just one of many pieces of evidence they can use. Sometimes the way the drug is stored, labelling, or other factors can strongly suggest that the person intended to sell the drug. The minimum sentence for a first offense is $5,000 and five years in prison.
Possession of Paraphernalia
Unlike actual drug possession, this is just a civil offense, similar to a traffic ticket. In other words, it will not usually be charged as a misdemeanor or felony, but rather, in many cases, it can lead to the discovery of evidence of bigger crimes.
Unlike marijuana, meth carries a first offense penalty of $5,000 and up to three years in prison. Subsequent charges are felonies. All the police must prove is that you were in possession of the drug.
If you are suspected of manufacturing or selling meth, you face a possible 15-year mandatory sentence for a first offense.
To prove possession, the police have to either find the drug on your person, your car, or your property. This can get difficult when you share a vehicle or living space with others. Never speak with police or prosecutors about your case until you’ve consulted with an attorney first. Even a simple possession charge can turn into a serious felony quickly, with just a poorly chosen words.
Charleston Drug Defense Lawyer
If you’ve been arrested and charged with any kind of drug-related offense, you need the careful attention of an experienced criminal defense lawyer who understands exactly what prosecutors are looking for. Voted the best law firm in Charleston by the Charleston City Paper, David Aylor Law Offices is ready to take your call today.