There are several types of drug offenses. Possession-related offenses are among the most common seen by drug offense lawyers in Greenville, SC, and they include simple possession and possession with the intent to distribute. The difference between the two is generally the amount of a substance found in your possession – so it is possible to face charges of intent to distribute even if you had no such intent. Other drug-related offenses include sale or distribution, purchasing, manufacturing, and trafficking of drugs.
All of these are illegal in South Carolina, and they are vigorously prosecuted by the Circuit Solicitor’s office and by law enforcement. In the event that you face a conviction for a drug offense, your potential penalties include, not only prison time and large fines, but a potential lifetime of difficulty finding a job, renting or buying a home, supporting your family, or, in the event of a divorce, obtaining or keeping custody of your children.
The Most Common Illegal Drugs in South Carolina
The state law of South Carolina categorizes drugs into one of five “schedules,” with Schedule I drugs being the most dangerous and severely punished. These are typically street drugs which are highly addictive, which have no medical use. Schedule I drugs in South Carolina include MDMA, ecstasy, LSD, Quaalude, Mephedrone, and opiates like heroin. Marijuana is also a Schedule I drug in South Carolina, though the recent legalization of this drug in several states has led to this classification being challenged by advocates.
Schedule II drugs are drugs with medical uses which have a high potential for abuse, including Ritalin, Adderall, PCP, cocaine, and opiate painkillers like morphine. Schedules III-V include commonly used medications with varying, usually lower, the potential for abuse, such as benzodiazepines like clonazepam (Klonopin) or alprazolam (Xanax), Tylenol with codeine, and weight loss pills.
What Constitutes Possession of a Controlled Substance in Greenville, SC?
It is unlawful to possess a drug that appears in any of the schedules of controlled substances. Schedule I drugs, since they have no medical use, are always illegal to possess, and the same applies to Schedule II drugs in most cases. Possession of the drugs in Schedules III-V are only legal with a valid prescription. Since every drug on the list has a potential for addiction and abuse, these drugs are highly regulated by the state.
Possession could be literal, such as in your hand or pocket or it could be “constructive” possession. This occurs when the drugs are not on your person, but you can be shown to have control of them. This type of possession is alleged for drugs found in homes, vehicles, bags, or even on the ground near you.
Other Drug Offenses in Greenville, SC
The other drug offenses in South Carolina include the manufacture and distribution of drugs, trafficking, and possession with the intent to distribute. Most of these are just what they sound like. Manufacture includes the growing, production or even just gathering of ingredients to make a controlled substance. The distribution includes the sale or simply giving a controlled substance to another. Trafficking is a little unique, in that it is merely the possession of a large amount of some illegal drug.
A trafficking allegation does not require distribution or even intent. Finally, possession with intent to distribute (also known as PWID) includes possession of an amount of some illegal drug which is reasonably more than one would need for personal use, but less than an amount which would indicate trafficking.
What are the Penalties for Drug Offenses in Greenville, SC?
As drug offense attorneys in Greenville, South Carolina, we deal with many offenders facing many penalties. In some cases, the law is reasonably clear, but in many, things can get murky. The penalties you may face for a Greenville, SC drug offense can vary depending on the offense, the drug, and how much of it you have.
Possession of up to 1 ounce of marijuana, for instance, results in up to 30 days in jail and a fine of at least $100, and not more than $200. Larger offenses such as PWID, manufacture or distribution come with a penalty of up to five years in jail and a $5,000 fine. Trafficking of marijuana could mean 10 years in prison and a fine of $10,000.
Consult with a Greenville Lawyer to Discuss Your Legal Options for Drug Offenses
If you are facing drug charges in South Carolina, don’t delay. Consult with an experienced drug offense lawyer in Greenville, South Carolina right away. Reach out to the team at Brumback & Langley today.