Many people have the mistaken belief that drug possession is not a serious charge. That because no one was hurt by them possessing drugs, the penalties won’t be severe. Unfortunately, this is a mistake. The state of South Carolina takes drug possession charges very seriously, and if convicted you could face life-changing repercussions.
You don’t have to be walking around with cocaine in your pocket or a joint in your hand to be charged with possession. Many possession charges are the result of the police finding drugs in your car or even near you. The law allows you to be charged if the drugs are within your control. In other words, if they are within your reach or you have control over the area in which they are found (your bedroom closet, for instance), they can be attributed to you and you can face charges.
Often, we see cases where someone is charged with possession of drugs and the drugs were not theirs. In cases like this and even in cases where you admit the drugs were yours but the police violated your rights during the search and seizure process, you have options and may be able to avoid a conviction.
SC Drug Possession Charges – Penalties
The penalty you face if convicted of drug possession depends on a variety of factors, including the drug in question and your criminal history. Obviously, if you have prior drug convictions, your sentence could be more severe.
Possession of Cocaine, Meth, or Crack-Cocaine
The possession of cocaine, methamphetamines, or crack cocaine is treated the most severely by the South Carolina courts.
|First||Misdemeanor||Up to 3 years in prison and $5,000 in fines|
|Second||Felony||Up to 5 years in prison and $7,000 in fines|
|Third or greater||Felony||Up to 10 years and $12,500 in fines|
Schedule I and II Narcotics and LSD
|First||Misdemeanor||Up to 2 years in prison and $5,000 in fines|
|Second||Felony||Up to 5 years in prison and $5,000 in fines|
|Third||Felony||Up to 5 years in prison and $10,000 in fines|
Other drugs, including other Schedule I and II drugs, are penalized differently (and usually less severely) than these. How much of the substance you have and your criminal history will determine your charge.
If you are accused of possessing marijuana in South Carolina, you will face criminal charges. Unlike in other states, pot possession has not been decriminalized here. For this reason, you could be facing jail time for as little as a few grams of pot.
Possession of marijuana is a misdemeanor offense. A first offense is punishable by up to 30 days in jail and fines reaching $200. Also, if this is your first offense, you could be eligible for a conditional discharge. This means the judge orders you to a term, similar to probation. If you successfully complete the term and requirements, the charge is dismissed.
If this is your second or greater offense, you face up to one year in jail and fines reaching $1,000.
South Carolina drug possession charges have the potential to dramatically change your life. If you are facing charges like these, let us put you in touch with a local criminal defense attorney today.