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The United States has become split over the last decade over the use and possession of illegal substances. With multiple states decriminalizing and legalizing marijuana, and Oregon decriminalizing all illegal drugs, it's clear that the public view on illegal substances, mainly marijuana, has changed drastically since the War On Drugs began. With rumors swirling for years about the legalization of medical marijuana in South Carolina, as well as various legalizations of drugs in surrounding states, it can be easy to be confused about the legality of drug use and possession in South Carolina.
At the time of writing, South Carolina still bans the use of all illegal substances, except Schedule I-V drugs that are able to be purchased with a doctor's prescription in the state. Even prescribed medications, especially opioids, are heavily regulated in South Carolina. The penalties for possession of drugs in South Carolina are some of the strictest in the country, especially meth and heroine as they are considered large problems in the more rural areas of the state.
If you find yourself facing simple possession charges for any controlled or illegal substances in the state of South Carolina, contacting an experienced Greenville simple possession lawyer should be your first step. At Touma Law Group, we specialize in criminal defense and drug charges and can help.
Criminal Convictions for Illegal Possession
Possible and realistic consequences of simple possession offenses in South Carolina depend on the type of drug that you've been arrested for. Some drugs, like marijuana, carry lesser punishments, while others carry much harsher consequences. The following is a list of potential penalties if you are found guilty of simple possession in South Carolina:
- Possession of Marijuana (less than 28 grams):
- First arrest: court fees and up to $1000 fine, and/or up to 30 days in jail
- Second arrest: court fees and up to $1000 fine, and/or up to 1-year jail term
- Possession of Cocaine (less than 1 gram):
- First arrest: court fees and up to $5000 fine, and/or up to 3 years of jail time
- Second arrest: court fees and fines up to $7,000, and/or up to 5 years in jail
- Possession of Heroine (less than 1 gram):
- First arrest: court fees and up to $5000 in fines, and/or up to 2 years of jail time
- Second arrest: court fees and up to $5000 in fines, and/or up to 5 years in jail
- Possession of Methamphetamines (less than 1 gram):
- First arrest: court fees and up to $5000 in fines, and/or up to 3 years of jail time
- Second arrest: court fees and up to $7500 in fines, and/or up to 5 years of jail time
- Possession of MDMA (less than 15 doses):
- First offense: up to $1000 in fines, and/or up to 6 months in jail
- Second offense: up to $2,000 in fines, and/or up to 12 months in jail
- Possession of LSD (less than 1 gram):
- First offense: up to $5000 in fines and/or up to 2 years of jail time
- Second offense: up to $5000 in fines, and/or up to 5 years of jail time
It is also important to note that while the first offense of simple possession of cocaine, methamphetamines, or LSD is a misdemeanor, any subsequent charges will automatically become felony drug charges, whereas simple possession of marijuana and MDMA are always misdemeanors, regardless of any prior drug or criminal charge you have. However, if you have any other illegal drug charges on your record and you are arrested for simple possession of heroin, even if your other drug charges are for different drugs, your charge automatically becomes a felony.
Other Drugs You can be Charged With Possession for Having
While the above list contains all of the most common simple possession charges, it does not contain all possible simple possession charges. Most of the most common charges come from the above list because they are considered the most "dangerous" drugs, and are classified as Schedule 1 drugs, meaning they are believed to be the most addiction-forming drugs available.
However, you can be charged with possession of drugs that aren't classified as Schedule I. Schedule II through V drugs can also carry possession charges. Drug types can range from fully illegal substances such as "magic mushrooms", to controlled substances like Adderall or Xanax. Being in possession of prescription drugs without a valid prescription is illegal.
The Smallest Details can Make Huge Differences in Your Case
The difference between possession and possession with intent to sell can literally be one pill, one dose, or one ounce. But the difference in sentencing is huge. Drug distribution and trafficking both carry much larger sentencing than simple possession. Even if you have under the amount for simple possession, paraphernalia can cause your charges to be raised. For example, having scales or small bags, known as dime bags, can see you charged with possession with intent to sell marijuana even if you have under an ounce of marijuana.
If you are facing possession with intent charges, you should seek legal advice immediately. A drug crime conviction for marijuana possession may not seem like a big deal to most, but add in drug paraphernalia and the right (or wrong) set of circumstances, and you can be looking at an automatic felony and over a decade behind bars in federal prison. Without an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side, these charges are nearly impossible to get lowered or dismissed.
Call Our Greenville Simple Possession Lawyers Today
No matter your situation, and no matter the types of drug charges you're facing in South Carolina, we want to help. A drug offense shouldn't be the end of the line, and a guilty plea shouldn't be the only option you have. Our law firm believes that everyone makes mistakes and that those mistakes shouldn't ruin the rest of your life.
At Touma Law Group we take every client and every single case seriously, and only provide exceptional representation to all of our clients. Call a drug attorney in Greenville at 864-618-2323 to schedule a free consultation and learn what we can do to help you.