drug possessionThe penalties for South Carolina drug charges are stiff, and you want to be sure you have a good drug possession lawyer who will be aggressive in protecting your rights and defending you.

If you read no further on this post, know that if you’re arrested, you need to retain a drug charge attorney as soon as possible; every moment you go without a lawyer is time wasted in preparing your defense.

Unlike other states, even simple possession of a small amount of marijuana carries a high fine and the possibility of jail time, and that charge can negatively affect your future. Drug charges in South Carolina can be complicated with several possible enhancements, so you’ll want to understand what you may be facing.

You can be charged with actual possession and/or constructive possession.

South Carolina has two types of possession charges. Actual possession occurs when the drugs are found in the actual physical custody of the person. Constructive possession occurs when the person charged has dominion or control over the drugs or the location where the drugs were found, such as under your car seat or in your garage.

Possession of drug paraphernalia is a separate charge.

Paraphernalia is defined by state law as “any instrument, device, article, or contrivance used, designed for use, or intended for use in ingesting, smoking, administering, manufacturing, or preparing a controlled substance…” Beware: police officers and prosecutors can be very creative with this one.

Possession with the intent to distribute drugs can involve any quantity of drugs.

Regardless of how small the quantity may be, a possession with intent to distribute charge hinges upon the state providing that the defendant knowingly possessed a controlled substance with the intent to distribute it. The intent element can be proven by circumstantial evidence such as if the drugs were packaged and how they were packaged.

Where you are at the time of arrest matters.

If you are arrested for distribution of a controlled substance and are within a ½ mile radius of a school or public playground or park, you may face an additional criminal charge. Distribution of a controlled substance within proximity of a school is a felony charge and can potentially carry a ten year prison sentence.

A gun or knife can make things worse. 

If you are in possession of a firearm or knife during the commission of, or attempt to commit, a violent crime you may face an additional criminal charge. Under South Carolina law, many common drug offenses are considered violent crimes. The penalty for this charge is potentially a 5 year mandatory sentence that a judge may order to run after the sentence for the underlying drug charge is served.

We’ve said it once, but it bears repeating: if you’re arrested on drug charges, call a South Carolina drug possession attorney immediately.

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