Do I Need a Lawyer for A Drug Possession Charge in South Carolina?

December 7, 2023 |
Do I Need a Lawyer for A Drug Possession Charge in South Carolina?

FORMULATING STRATEGIES TO FIGHT SIMPLE POSSESSION CHARGES

Facing drug possession charges, whether a misdemeanor or felony,  can have profound legal implications. A conviction might entail fines, periods of incarceration, probation, mandatory drug treatment programs, and a lasting mark on one's criminal record. The severity of penalties often hinges on the type and quantity of the controlled substance. Understanding the potential impact of drug possession charges is crucial for anyone navigating the legal landscape.

An effective defense requires a profound grasp of legal processes, nuances, and laws. This is where a Greenville drug possession lawyer steps in. Their insights allow them to meticulously assess the specifics of each case, identifying potential defenses. From analyzing the circumstances of the arrest to scrutinizing the evidence, a skilled attorney can build a robust strategy that aims for a just outcome. Negotiating the intricacies of drug possession charges without legal counsel can be perilous, making professional representation a pivotal choice.

At Fedalei & Reid Law LLC, we approach drug crime cases with unwavering determination. Our track record is a testament to our commitment to providing relentless and vigorous defense. We've navigated a wide array of charges, and our legal insights, honed through experience, enable us to develop strategies tailored to each case's unique circumstances. From the initial consultation to the courtroom, we stand ready to advocate for our clients' rights and pursue outcomes grounded in fairness and justice.

Please schedule a consultation with one of our skilled drug possession attorneys in Greenville today by calling (864) 668-1661.

A CLOSER LOOK AT SOUTH CAROLINA’S DRUG POSSESSION LAW

As outlined in S.C. Code Ann. § 44-53-370(c), drug possession involves the intentional or knowing possession of controlled substances unless a valid prescription exists. Central to these charges is the requirement of possessing awareness that the substance is a controlled substance.

Possession charges encompass a spectrum of controlled substances classified across Schedules I through V. The classification system assists in categorizing the drugs based on factors like potential for abuse and accepted medical use.

The substances in these schedules include, but are not limited to: 

  • LSD
  • Narcotic drugs
  • Cocaine
  • Marijuana
  • Heroin

Distinguishing between simple possession and possession with intent to distribute is pivotal. Simple possession entails having controlled substances for personal use. On the other hand, possession with intent involves the intention to sell or transfer the drugs to others. The intent aspect can significantly impact the severity of charges and potential penalties.

A Greenville drug possession lawyer has the legal acumen to explain the charges clearly. They can shed light on the elements the government must prove for a conviction and chart legal avenues to challenge the allegations.

The legal ramifications of drug possession convictions can vary significantly based on factors such as the quantity and type of the controlled substance. 

Below is an overview of possible criminal penalties for first-time offenses:

  • Schedule I or II narcotic drugs or LSD: This can lead to a misdemeanor charge, resulting in incarceration for up to two years and a fine not exceeding $5,000.
  • Other Schedule I or II controlled substances: Similar to the previous case, this offense is a misdemeanor, carrying potential penalties of up to six months in jail and/or a fine of no more than $1,000.
  • Cocaine: Possession of cocaine may result in a misdemeanor charge with penalties including confinement for a maximum of three years and/or a fine of up to $5,000.
  • 28 grams or less of marijuana: This offense is a misdemeanor and can lead to incarceration for up to 30 days and a fine between $100 and $200.

A second or subsequent drug possession violation can sometimes escalate to a felony charge. When this occurs, the potential penalties can increase significantly.

THE LONG-TERM IMPACTS OF A CONVICTION

Beyond immediate penalties, drug possession convictions can have enduring consequences. For example, a criminal record can pose challenges when seeking employment opportunities. It can also lead to ineligibility for certain government benefits.

POSSIBLE DEFENSES AGAINST DRUG POSSESSION CHARGES

If facing drug possession charges, it's essential to recognize that strategies may be available to challenge the allegations and seek a just resolution. By delving into various legal defenses, individuals can work to counter the prosecution's case and present a robust argument in their favor.

Ways to fight possession accusations include, but are not limited to:

  • Unlawful search and seizure: One of the primary defenses against drug possession charges involves questioning the legality of the search and seizure conducted by law enforcement officials. If authorities executed a search without a warrant or obtaining the defendant’s consent, evidence collected can be deemed inadmissible in court.
  • Lack of knowledge: Another common defense is demonstrating that the defendant was unaware of controlled substances near them. For instance, if an individual's friend left a drug under the defendant's car seat without their knowledge, the defendant might argue that they were not aware of its existence.
  • Not a controlled substance: An additional defense strategy involves contesting the classification of the substance as a controlled substance. This can be based on errors or discrepancies in crime lab analysis. If the results are questioned due to technical errors, inaccuracies, or contamination, it can weaken the prosecution's case.

THE ROLE OF AN ATTORNEY

Criminal defense lawyers are pivotal in assisting individuals facing drug possession charges. They are equipped to navigate intricate legal pathways, offering insights into the potential consequences and available defenses.

At Fedalei & Reid Law LLC, our team is committed to providing aggressive and effective defense strategies. If you are looking for legal assistance, contact our Greenville drug possession attorneys at (864) 668-1661.