A statute of limitations is a legal timeframe for filing charges for a crime. Unlike some states, South Carolina does not have statutes of limitations for any crime including a drug conviction. In South Carolina, cases for drug offenses must be filed in a timely manner. If charges are brought against you after the statute of limitations there are grounds to have the case dismissed.
How Do Prosecutors Prove the Crime of Drug Charges?
Prosecutors must prove that a person charged with drug charges is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. To do this, prosecutors need to show evidence that the accused committed the crime. This can include witness testimony, physical criminal evidence, such as DNA evidence on drugs or implements used to manufacture drugs as well as circumstantial evidence. Witness testimony is often very important in cases involving drug charges because it gives prosecutors an eyewitness account of the alleged crime.
How Long Do Police Have to File Drug Charges?
The legal system seeks to protect an individual from wrongful incarceration by providing a stringent period of time in which the police must file drug charges in a case. When an individual is arrested and taken into custody for suspected federal drug charges, law enforcement has three days to present evidence to the prosecutor and officially charge the person with a federal drug crime.
If the prosecutor does not review the case evidence and determine official criminal drug charges within this period, the person must be released from jail as per due process laws that protect against wrongful conviction.
Timely filing of criminal offenses against individuals provides flexibility to prosecutors to construct their cases effectively while also providing legal protection for those accused. It allows prosecutors enough time to examine making sure they have enough tangible and intangible evidence before charging someone and can use additional resources if needed.
Furthermore, it safeguards the individual’s rights from unnecessary days in jail. The legal system recognizes that filing timely charges is essential for judicial proceedings and that any delay or failure to receive a quick decision on filing or refusing charges may lead to further complications regarding the suspect’s right to be tried.
Possession of 28 -100 Grams
The drug charges in South Carolina typically depend on the quantity of the drug possessed, rather than whether or not the person is involved in drug dealing. Possessing 28-100 grams of illegal drugs is generally classified as drug trafficking, which carries a penalty of 3-10 years in prison and a $25,000.00 fine.
Possession with Intent to Distribute Illegal Substances
If you are charged with possession with intent to distribute illegal substances, this is a felony charge in the state of South Carolina. You will receive up to 15 years in prison and/or up to $25,000.00 fine.
Possession of Heroin
Simple possession of heroin is considered a misdemeanor charge and up to 2 years in jail or a $5,000.00 fine in South Carolina. A simple possession charge has to be 2 grains or less and if it is more than this, the court will assume that you intend to partake in drug distribution. In this case, the punishments are much more severe and your crime is considered a felony with up to 15 years in jail and a $25,000 fine.
In South Carolina, there is no statute of limitations for subsequent drug offenses. This means that if a person is convicted of multiple drug-related crimes, the state may pursue criminal charges no matter how long ago the offense occurred.
Penalties for Drug Crimes in South Carolina
In South Carolina, drug crimes can result in severe penalties, including mandatory sentences ranging from a fine of up to $1,000 and/or up to 30 days in prison to fines of up to $50,000 and maximum sentences of 25 to 30 years.
The type and amount of substances involved as well as the defendant's criminal history will all be taken into consideration when determining the sentencing outcome and types of charges for a particular crime. Because there is so much at stake when those accused of criminal drug offenses face a court case or trial, it is essential that individuals consult with a lawyer who has knowledge and experience of the law.
Experienced drug crime defense lawyers will understand the processes used by police and prosecutors to obtain convictions for drug charges and can create a robust defense strategy for your specific case. A strong defense in these cases may mean seeking alternative punishments such as drug abuse programs rather than jail time.
Hiring an experienced defense attorney at Touma Law Group can be beneficial in achieving your goal as we offer free consultation to provide information on rights, courtroom procedures, potential penalties for distribution and possession, and suitable defenses for individual circumstances.
Minimum Sentences for Drug Trafficking Charges
The sentences for drug trafficking charges depend on the type of drug and weight that you are trafficking.
- Trafficking marijuana (10-100 pounds) - Felony charge, 1-10 years of jail, $10,000.00 fine
- Trafficking cocaine/crack/meth (10-28 g): felony charge, 3-10 years in prison, $25,000.00 fine
- Trafficking heroin (4-14 g): felony charge, 7-25 years in prison, $50,000.00 fine.
Severe Penalties for Subsequent Offenses
Drug charges carry potential penalties such as jail time and fines, as well as significant consequences associated with having a criminal record. In the state of South Carolina, there are strict penalties for subsequent drug charges. The penalties for drug possession or trafficking vary depending on the type and quantity of drugs involved. In general, having a criminal record will result in increased penalties.
If you have additional offenses and are concerned about potential consequences, reach out to our law firm promptly. Our criminal defense lawyers are skilled in analyzing cases and providing strong defenses.
What to Do When Facing Drug Charges?
If you are facing drug charges in South Carolina, it is important to understand your rights and the criminal justice system. Drug charges can result in severe penalties, including jail or prison time and hefty fines. You should also be aware of the state’s statute of limitations on drug charges, which may affect your case.
The first step you should take when facing drug charges in South Carolina is to contact an experienced drug defense lawyer. Your criminal attorney can:
- Review your case and provide legal advice for proper defense
- Negotiate with prosecutors to reduce or drop misdemeanor or felony drug charges
- Seek alternative punishments such as drug abuse programs rather than jail time.
- Challenge any evidence against you in court.
- Represent you at trial if necessary.
Speak With a Skilled Member of the Touma Law Group Team Today!
If you have been charged with a drug offense in South Carolina, it is important to understand that there are no statute of limitations for drug charges and that your charges will not be dismissed over time.
Contact Touma Law Group to get started on your defense strategy today. A Columbia criminal defense attorney will thoroughly analyze your case, listen to your concerns, and provide you with guidance on your rights and the drug offense laws in South Carolina. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation!