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Drug Crimes in SC
There are a wide range of drug crimes that are prosecuted in South Carolina state courts, including simple possession, distribution, possession with intent to distribute, manufacturing, trafficking and conspiracy.
The most common SC drug offenses involve marijuana, cocaine, heroin or meth (methamphetamines or crystal meth), LSD, ecstasy, mushrooms, and possession of prescription drugs.
What are the penalties for SC drug crimes and what are the most common defenses?Penalties for SC Drug Offenses
The potential punishments for drug crimes in SC range from a fine for possession of paraphernalia to mandatory minimum sentences of 25 years on some trafficking charges. Most drug crimes are graduated offenses, which means that the potential penalties increase if you have certain types of prior drug offenses on your record.
Probation is an option for less serious offenses, but most trafficking or distribution charges carry mandatory minimum penalties that cannot be suspended. Most of the more serious drug offenses are also “85% crimes”, which means that you cannot be paroled, and you will serve 85% of the sentence that you receive.What Are Common Defenses to Drug Crimes in SC?
There are a broad range of strategic defenses to these charges, depending on the circumstances of your case and the nature of the drug charge.
Your defense or defenses will be determined by the facts of your case, but some common theories include:
- Fourth Amendment violations: because most drug arrests happen during a traffic stop or at a person’s home, there are often Fourth Amendment violations – the police need a reasonable suspicion to detain you on the roadside, probable cause to search your vehicle, and a warrant to search your home.
- SODDI (some other dude did it): Especially in distribution cases where the arrest is not immediate, police who rely on informant testimony may arrest the wrong person. We have reviewed video and audio tapes from controlled drug buys where it was clear that our client was not the person on the recording…
- Insufficient evidence: Many drug cases rely on informants, who are notoriously unreliable. When the informant disappears, changes their story, or has serious problems with their credibility, your case may be dismissed.
- Constructive possession: If the drugs were not in your pocket or actually on your person, the state must prove: 1) that the drugs were in a place that you had control over, and 2) that you knew the drugs were there.
- Not your drugs: Police will often charge anyone who is close to the crime or present at a house where the arrest is made, sometimes so they have leverage to force the person to testify against a co-defendant. In these situations, once the co-defendant has pled guilty or has been found guilty at trial, your charges may be dismissed if there is insufficient evidence against you.
You can find more specific information on SC drug crimes on our website:
- Possession & Constructive Possession
- Possession with Intent to Distribute
- Trafficking in Cocaine, Marijuana, Heroin
- Pre-Trial Motions
If you are charged with a drug crime in South Carolina, you need an aggressive and experienced criminal defense lawyer on your side. Call the Thompson & Hiller Defense Firm at (843) 444-6122 or contact us online for a free consultation.