Drug Crimes Defense Lawyer in Conway, SC
South Carolina’s drug crimes include minor offenses such as simple possession of marijuana and more serious offenses such as possession, distribution, possession with intent to distribute, manufacturing, and trafficking of cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, or psychedelics.
The penalties increase based on how many prior offenses the person has and can range from a fine only for possession of paraphernalia up to 40 years for trafficking heroin. Distribution and trafficking may also have mandatory minimum sentences that can be as high as 25 years for some trafficking offenses.
Drug Crimes Defense
Defending drug charges requires knowledge and a skill set that you don’t necessarily get while defending other types of cases.
Drug arrests are often made following a traffic stop or at a person’s home which means that there are usually Fourth Amendment search and seizure issues involved in your case.
When an arrest is made following a controlled buy or a series of controlled buys, it is critical that your attorney understand the procedures that narcotics officers follow during their investigation. Your attorney must understand how surveillance is conducted, how confidential informants (CI’s) are used by narcotics officers, what evidence such as video or audio recordings will be produced in your case, and when evidence can be suppressed in pre-trial motions.
Possession is an essential element of most drug crimes. In many cases, clients have been charged with a drug offense even though the drugs were not in their actual possession.
There is a legal theory called “constructive possession” which allows police to charge you with drug possession even though the drugs are not on your person. This happens most often when the drugs are found in a car, in a home, or after someone has thrown them down on the ground. If you were not in actual possession of the drugs, the prosecution will have to prove two things:
- You had dominion and control over the area where the drugs were found. For example, this can be proven by showing that you are the owner of the car you were driving, that you were the driver of the car regardless of ownership, or that the drugs were close enough to you that you could have picked them up.
- Even if drugs are found in your car, the prosecution must prove that you knew the drugs were there. For example, if your friend’s house just got raided by the police and you were present when it happened, you cannot be convicted for the drugs they found in your friend’s bedroom unless you knew that they were there and had control over them.
Drug Trafficking and Distribution
Distribution and trafficking charges have the most severe penalties under South Carolina drug laws.
Although many of the potential defenses and legal issues are the same, law enforcement tends to put more investigation into these cases and, considering that some offenses carry mandatory minimums as high as 25 years with no parole and others can carry potential sentences up to 40 years in prison with no parole, the client has a lot at stake and could lose everything.
Although a person can be prosecuted for conspiracy to traffic drugs, in SC state court these cases are often based solely on the drug weights. The threshold weight for a trafficking charge is 10 grams of cocaine or crack cocaine, 4 grams of heroin, or 10 pounds of marijuana.
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Contact Johnny Gardner Law Now
If you are a loved one has been charged with possession, distribution, trafficking, or another drug offense, call Johnny Gardner Law now to find out how we can help.