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Possession of an illegal substance in Greenville, South Carolina is a serious criminal offense. Drug possession is a serious offense punishable by loss of driving privileges, massive fines, spending months in prison, and it can have a negative impact on your permanent criminal record. However, there are a wide range of defenses to misdemeanor possession, depending on your previous criminal history, the type of drug, and the circumstances of your drug arrest.
Drug possession charges in South Carolina are based on the weight of the drugs allegedly found. There is a threshold amount or a “cut-off” point, for each type of drug, and if the drugs weigh less than that amount, the drug charge is presumptively simple possession, which carries less severe consequences, as opposed to possession of drugs with intent to distribute or drug trafficking.
Sometimes, the law enforcement agency may charge an individual with possession with intent to distribute even though the drugs found weighed less than the cut-off point, but they must have sufficient evidence of the person intended to distribute the drugs. If you or a loved one are facing a crime of possession in South Carolina, it's essential to contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer for legal representation.
The experienced criminal defense lawyers at Touma Law Group have helped many of drug offenders in Greenville County, Spartanburg County, and throughout South Carolina get a favorable outcome and we can help you too. To schedule a free initial consultation, contact our drug attorneys in Greenville today at 864-618-2323.
What Does Simple Possession Mean in South Carolina?
In South Carolina, simple possession of an illegal substance is subject to what the State Code refers to as a “threshold amount.” This means that if you’re caught with any amount of an illegal substance up to a certain amount, the drug charge is a “simple possession” instead of something with a harsher penalty, such as possession with intent to distribute/sell (PWID) or drug trafficking. Typically, a simple possession charge covers an amount of a dangerous substance that’s used for “personal use.”
According to SC Code Section 44-53-370 (d) (4), Simple Possession of Marijuana in South Carolina is a criminal misdemeanor for the unlawful possession of only one ounce of marijuana. This misdemeanor offense is punishable by a minimum sentence of up to 30 days in jail for possession of 28 grams or one ounce or less of marijuana.
Anyone who violates this subsection regarding ten grams or less of hashish oil or one ounce or less of marijuana is guilty of a misdemeanor offense and, upon a criminal conviction, the person is subject to the maximum sentence of 30 days in jail or harsh fines ranging between $1000 and $2,000.
To be convicted of simple possession of cocaine, the prosecution must allege and prove at a criminal trial at least one of the following conditions is true:
- Actual possession. This means that powder cocaine was found on your person, including in your pockets, hands, or inside your clothes or bag, or
- Constructive possession. This means that powder cocaine was found in a place under your control, including your vehicle or home.
How Long Does a Misdemeanor Possession Charge stay on Your Criminal Record in South Carolina?
The first simple possession offense is eligible for expungement three years after completing the sentence, with no subsequent conviction within those three years. A conviction with possession of drugs with intent to distribute or sell is eligible for expungement twenty years after completing the jail sentence, with no other drug or felony convictions within those twenty years.
What are 3 Examples of Misdemeanor Crimes?
A misdemeanor charge is a “lesser” crime than a felony offense. However, if you have been charged with a misdemeanor offense, don't let this lull you into a false sense of security. In South Carolina, all misdemeanor offenses carry potential jail time, and a conviction for a Class A misdemeanor, for instance, can carry a minimum jail sentence of three years in jail. The potential criminal sentences for misdemeanor charges in South Carolina are:
- Class A misdemeanor offenses carry a misdemeanor punishment of up to 3 years in jail.
- Class B misdemeanor charges carry a criminal sentence of up to 2 years in jail.
- Class A misdemeanor offenses a potential sentence of up to one year in jail.
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The examples of Class A misdemeanor offenses include third-time driving on suspended license charges, third-time driving under the influence (DUI) charges, certain drug possession crimes, retail theft, and certain arson crimes. Class B misdemeanor crimes include aiding escape, tax fraud, threatening violence to instigate gang activity or ticket fraud. Class C misdemeanor crimes include unlawful possession of gambling devices, willfully furnishing false information for tax purposes, voting fraud, and second-degree harassment.
Contact Our Experienced Greenville Drug Possession Lawyers Today for Legal Advice!
Drug offenses are very fact-specific. An experienced criminal attorney can help you get a dismissal of your drug charge, a reduction of your drug charge through a plea deal with the prosecution, or a criminal penalty reduction after conviction. If you or your loved one are charged with possession of a dangerous substance in South Carolina, or any other criminal charges, our experienced drug defense attorneys are committed to helping you get your charges reduced or even dismissed.
Our Greenville defense lawyers at Touma Law Group have extensive experience in criminal defense, and we'll fight fiercely to make sure that you get the best potential outcome in your case. To schedule a no-cost initial consultation, contact our experienced criminal defense team today at 864-618-2323.