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If you are found in possession of drugs it can lead to very harsh penalties. As a result of the criminal conviction, heavy fines and long jail terms will be imposed. There are several reasons types of drug charges. The main one being in possession of drugs that is when they are found in a person’s pockets or bags. The second is constructive possession when the drugs are found in the vicinity the person can actually get to them. This is when the drugs are in their home, car, or a place that they have access to.
Possession with intent to distribute is when the amount of the drug is large enough that the state determines that the drugs are enough for selling or distributing.
There’s also drug manufacturing. This is production, cultivation, or preparation for distribution.
Drug trafficking is another form of possession. It is determined by the quantity of drugs that a person possesses.
The last one we are going to look at is drug conspiracy. This is when two or more people engage in selling and distributing drugs in a particular place.
The penalties for drug possession vary. Below are some of the penalties.
- Community service
- Jail term
- Mandatory drug counseling
Different Classes and Charges
All states in the United States have restricted consumption of controlled substances (CDS) by ensuring that arrests are carried out and that there are trials held for most of these cases. There is a different classification of illegal substances or drug classes in every state. In South Carolina, there are 5 classes. From schedule 1, which is the most addictive with the least medicinal value, to schedule 5 with more medicinal value.
Examples of these drugs include:
- Schedule 1- heroin, hallucinogen substances, and opiate derivatives
- Schedule 2-Morphine, Methylphenidate, and Methadone
- Schedule 3-Norco, Vicoprofen, Acetaminophen with Codeine, and Lortab
- Schedule 4 –Benzodiazepines and Meprobamate
Specific Illicit Drugs and Their Penalties
Different drugs come with their own unique penalties:
- Possession of drugs- possession of 28 grams (1 ounce) or less is known as simple possession.
- This could lead to court fines worth $1000 or a jail term of 30 days for a first-time offense. Second-time offense leads to court fines up to $1000 or a 1-year jail term.
- Manufacturing with intent to distribute- having less than 100 plants.
- First-time offense is fines go up to $5000 or a prison sentence of 5 years of both.
- Second-time offense- fines go up to $10,000 with a jail term of 10 years with 5 years ineligible for federal benefits.
- Third-time offense – fines go up to $20,000 with jail term up to 20 years.
Felony drug trafficking penalties depend on the amount you are caught with.
- Between 10-100 pounds charge is a minimum of 1 year up to 10 years and court fine of up to $10,000
- Between 100-2,000 pounds charge is at least 25 years with a court fine of $25,000
- Between 2000-10000 pounds charge is at least 30 years with court fine of $25,000
- More than 10,000 pounds charge is at least 25 years with court fine of $200,000
- The conviction also varies with the number of accounts
- First conviction- up to jail term of 15 years and court fine of $25000
- Second conviction- minimum of 5 years with a maximum of 30 years court fine of $50,000
- Third conviction- minimum of 10 years with a maximum of 30 years with a court fine of up to $50,000
- Simple possession- less than 2 grams of heroin
- First conviction- 2 years jail term and court fines $5000
- Second-time conviction- 5-year jail term and court fines up to $5000
- Third or more conviction- 5-year jail term and fines up to $10,000
Manufacturing and Drug Distribution
- First conviction- jail term up to 15 years and fines up to $25,000
- Second conviction- minimum jail term 5 years and a maximum of 30 years and court fine amounting up to $50,000
- Third conviction- minimum jail term of 10 years and a maximum of 30 years and court fine up to $50,000
- Drug trafficking charges for drugs of 4 grams up to 14 grams
- First conviction: court fine worth $25,000 and a minimum jail term of 7 years and a maximum of 25 years.
- Second conviction: 4 – 14 grams then minimum jail term is up to $25,000 and court fine worth $100,000
- 14-18 grams; minimum jail term of 25 years and fine up to $200,000
- Possession of more than 28 grams jail term; then a minimum of 25 years jail term but less than 40 years jail term
- Cocaine or cocaine-base (crank)
- Having less than 1 gram of cocaine is under simple possession
- First offense –jail term up to three years and court fines up to $5,000
- Second-time offense- jail term up to 5 years and court fines up to $7,500
- Third-time offense – jail term up to 10 years and court fines up to $12,500
- Manufacturing and distribution – possession of more than 1 gram of cocaine
- First offense: Up to 15 years and fines up to $25,000
- Second offense: jail term minimum of 5 years and maximum of 30 years and fines up to $50,000
- Third offense or greater: jail term minimum of 10 and maximum of 30 years in prison and up to $50,000 in fines.
Possession of More Than 10 Grams of Cocaine
- First-time offenders get a minimum of 3 years jail term and a maximum of 10 years and fines up to $25,000
- Second-time offense you face minimum of 5 years jail term and a maximum of 30 years and fines up to $50,000
- With a third-time possession charge you'll face a minimum of 25 years jail term and a maximum of 30 years and fines up to $50,000
Do Drug Charges Ever Get Dropped?
Yes, drug charges can get dropped. Having a knowledgeable attorney will help higher your chances of getting your charges dropped. Since a Greenville drug charge attorney understands the drug laws and at the same time knows the best tactics and methods used to build a strong defense. There are several reasons why these felony charges can be dropped.
Plea Deal or a Plea bargain
When you have been charged with an offense, the prosecution may have several charges on you and a list of potential penalties. Hence, if you plead guilty to one plea they are likely to drop the other charges. For example, when charged with possession with intent to distribute they may also charge you with possession of drugs. A guilty plea of possession with intent to distribute in this case will see the prosecution dropping all other charges which will lead to a minimum sentence or penalty during a plea agreement.
You can get your case dropped if the police did not obtain a search warrant to search your premises. A good drug attorney will be able to prove that the search was illegal hence warranting your freedom.
If a police officer is found to have lied or falsified information concerning the case and the drug crime attorney can prove that the case built against you was illegitimate and on that basis, your case can be dismissed in drug court.
Cooperating with Law Enforcers
Giving vital information to the police that may lead to the capture of other drug cartels, manufacturers and distributors can help get you a better deal that will lead to your charges getting dropped.
You can charges can as well get dropped if you are able to prove beyond reasonable doubt that you are not guilty.
What a Lawyer Can Do for You
Below are some of the advantages of having a skilled attorney by your side.
Right to Remain Silent
An experienced drug defense attorney will advise you to keep quiet so you can avoid incriminating yourself. You can be innocent of the drug offense, but the state will use evidence and any information you give to them to build a case against you. Hence you should ensure that you get a lawyer for drug charges in Greenville that will be present when you are giving out your statement.
An experienced drug lawyer will investigate the case and ensure that there are no loopholes in your case. With this, your drug crime defense attorney will be able to build a good defense.
You are required to pay bail for most criminal charges for you to be free before the case has been determined. Those who are not able to raise the bail will have to stay in jail during trial and before the case is determined. The prosecution will work against you to ensure that the judge grants a high bail or compulsory jail term. A criminal defense attorney will work to ensure that you get the lowest bail possible or even no bail at all. So that you are able not to go back to your family until the trial begins.
Talk to a Greenville criminal defense lawyer from Touma Law Group and get help with the drug crime conviction you are facing. Our drug crime attorneys can help. Give us a call to schedule a free consultation!