Drug distribution, possession with intent to distribute, and drug manufacturing are all covered by SC Code Sections 44-53-370 and 375.
Distribution cases are typically different from other drug cases, however. Law enforcement uses different techniques to make distribution arrests, and different defenses may be available, such as entrapment or mistaken identity.How do Police Make Drug Distribution Cases?
Distribution cases are usually made by confidential informants (CIs), and the evidence in the case usually involves either audio or video surveillance as well as testimony by the CI.
If you are charged with distribution, your attorney should carefully review all the evidence in your case, including the audio, video, and statements by the CI or other witnesses. Your attorney will need to be aggressive in going after not only the state's evidence, but in finding evidence and witnesses with which to build your defense.Should I Work as a CI to Get Help on My Charges?
In many cases, the police will try to “flip” you and turn you into a CI to make more cases for them - members of the Drug Enforcement Unit (DEU) or other law enforcement may come and question you as soon as the arrest is made. Do not speak to law enforcement until you have spoken to an attorney about your situation. If you have already met with the police, talk to a criminal defense lawyer before you talk to them again. Why?
- Police can and will lie to you about your situation and what they can do to “help” you;
- Law enforcement officers do not have authority to negotiate your case – only the prosecutor has that authority and they may not care what the narcotics officer told you;
- In many cases, despite what narcotics officers tell you, your attorney may be able to get your case dismissed or get a better negotiated deal if you are not working with the police; and
- Working as a CI can get you killed – it happens nationwide, and it happens locally. Despite what narcotics officer may tell you, defendants will learn who you are, and you will be forced to testify if they go to trial.
There are situations when it is in your best interests to work with the police if you choose to – do not make this decision unless your criminal defense lawyer has reviewed your case and given you advice based on your unique circumstances, the severity of the charges, and the strength of the case against you.What are the Penalties for Distribution of Drugs in SC?
SC’s penalties for drug distribution are based on the type of drug and your prior record. Some distribution offenses carry mandatory minimum sentences, are 85% crimes, and you cannot be granted parole or probation.Distribution of marijuana:
- First offense - up to five years;
- Second offense - up to ten years; and
- Third offense – a mandatory minimum of five and up to twenty years.
- First offense – up to 15 years;
- Second offense – a mandatory minimum of five and up to thirty years; and
- Third offense – a mandatory minimum of ten and up to thirty years.
Lacey Thompson represents clients accused of drug distribution and other drug crimes in SC courts and limits her practice to criminal defense.
If you have been arrested and charged with drug distribution in SC, call the Thompson & Hiller Defense Firm now at 843-444-6122 or contact us online to review your case.