South Carolina Drug Charges: Penalties and Defense

When facing any type of charges for drug offenses, you should have a clear understanding of the penalties and consequences that you may face if found guilty. A criminal defense attorney in Greenville, SC will fight for the best possible outcome in your case. In some cases, this may mean a plea bargain for a reduced sentence.

Don’t wait to seek legal counsel. Contact Boatwright Legal today for a free case evaluation.

Factors in Sentencing for Drug Offenses in South Carolina

There are several factors involved in the sentencing for drug offenses in South Carolina. For instance, the prosecution will focus on the type of drug in question, the amount, whether it was used for distribution, and the criminal history of the defendant.

Your attorney will educate you on the key terminology that applies to your case as well – such as determining whether the drugs involved are part of Schedule I (extremely dangerous) or Schedule II (less dangerous).

How Are First-Time Offenders Penalized for Drug Charges?

The South Carolina law code does offer some leniency for first-time offenders when handling drug charges depending on the circumstances of the case. For a guilty plea or conviction for possession of marijuana or other non-narcotic drugs, the court may place a first-time offender on probation.

If the probation conditions are met, the court may choose to discharge the defendant and dismiss the case. If the conditions are not met, the court will have the option of moving forward with the legal proceedings.

It’s important to talk to a lawyer to understand the potential consequences of your specific case.

The Type of Drug and Amount Matters

A person arrested with less than 28 grams of marijuana will be charged with simple possession.

For this offense, you can face a fine of $200-$1,000, a maximum of one year imprisonment, or both. However, more than 28 grams of marijuana would classify the charge as “possession with intent to distribute” which comes with much steeper penalties and consequences.

possession of drugs is a criminal offense

On the other hand, less than a single gram of methamphetamine or cocaine base could lead to a maximum $5,000 fine, a 3-year prison sentence, or both – even for a first-time offender. A third or subsequent offense involving these specific drugs could lead to a $12,500 fine and/or spending up to 10 years in prison.

What Are the Penalties for Distribution to Minors? 

Distributing drugs to a minor is an automatic felony charge in South Carolina – either Class C or E depending on the circumstances.

Scenario A:

  • Someone over 18 distributes a controlled substance that is not LSD, a narcotic drug, or crack cocaine to a minor.
  • The accused faces a maximum fine of $10,000, a maximum 10-year prison sentence, or both.

Scenario B: 

  • The accused, who is at least 18 years old, distributes a narcotic drug, LSD, or crack cocaine to a minor.
  • The accused faces a maximum fine of $30,000, a maximum 20-year prison sentence, or both.

Additional charges and penalties will be added if the distribution takes place within a certain proximity to a school. It is also important to note that the violators of the above-referenced Scenario B are not offered a possible suspension of any applicable sentence or probation regardless if it is their first offense.

Call a Greenville Criminal Defense Lawyer Today

The last thing you want to do is to delay preparation for your upcoming court dates when a drug charge is involved. Even if you are a first-time offender, you should not make the mistake of assuming you will automatically get a “slap on the wrist” or probation.

Trust in the expertise of a criminal defense attorney in Greenville, SC from Boatwright Legal to guide you through the process step by step. Contact our team today to schedule your free consultation, so that we can examine the pertinent details and circumstances of your case together.

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