Aiken County Drug Lawyer

Laws governing controlled substances in South Carolina are complex with penalties that vary depending on the type of drugs involved, the quantity of those drugs, and the individual’s involvement with the drugs. One thing remains the same in virtually all cases, however—the potential consequences can be severe.

It is a good idea for anyone facing drug charges to consult an Aiken County drug lawyer who understands how local courts handle these offenses. An attorney with experience defending those accused of drug crimes could explain the charges and consequences and devise the right strategy to fight those charges and work toward the best possible result.

Drugs are Classified Based on Their Potential for Abuse

Like many states, South Carolina classifies controlled substances into different categories based on their legitimate medical uses as well as their potential for abuse. The classification of substances changes frequently, often in response to classifications made by the U.S. government (see S.C. Code §44-53-160(c).)

While the state statutes include five separate schedules of controlled substances in Chapter 53 of Title 44, it is helpful to check updates from the South Carolina Board of Health and Environmental Control for the most recent classifications of particular substances.

Substances listed on Schedule I are considered to have the greatest potential for abuse and the least likely to be of legitimate medical use. Therefore, offenses involving these substances usually have the most severe penalties. Schedule I includes opium derivatives such as heroin and hallucinogens such as LSD and marijuana (S.C. Code §44-53-190.)

By contrast, Schedule V includes substances that are frequently prescribed for medical use and have a lower potential for abuse than many other substances.  Examples from this list include codeine and weaker concentrations of opium. (S.C. Code §44-53-270.) For more information, contact an Aiken County drug lawyer.

Minor Drug Offenses in Aiken County

Generally, simple possession of a substance is the least serious crime related to that substance. However, possession of a certain amount will generally be considered evidence that the person found with it has the intent to distribute or disseminate that substance, which is a more serious offense.

Possession of controlled substances without a valid prescription is prohibited by §44-53-370(c) of the South Carolina Code. If the amount found in possession of an individual is less than the amount necessary to presume intent to distribute and the individual does not have any prior drug convictions, the offense is usually treated as a misdemeanor.

However, in many cases, the penalties for misdemeanor possession crimes are as severe as felony offenses in other jurisdictions. The maximum terms of imprisonment for a first-time possession conviction range from six months to three years, depending on the substance involved. In addition, courts may impose fines of up to $1,000 for certain substances or up to $5,000 for others. For assistance with building a defense, reach out to an Aiken County drug lawyer today.

More Serious Drug Offenses

Section 44-53-370(a) prohibits the following unauthorized activities with respect to controlled substances:

  • Manufacturing
  • Distributing
  • Dispensing
  • Delivering
  • Purchasing
  • Aiding in the attempt to manufacture, distribute, dispense, deliver or purchase
  • Conspiring to manufacture, distribute, dispense, deliver or purchase
  • Possession with intent to manufacture, distribute, dispense, deliver or purchase

These activities are also prohibited with respect to counterfeit substances. Penalties for a first-time offense include up to 15 years in prison and a fine as high as $25,000.

How an Aiken County Drug Attorney Can Help

Drug offenses may be common in Aiken County, but that does mean they can be considered minor crimes. Even those facing a misdemeanor possession offense face substantial fines, imprisonment, and the creation of a criminal record that can negatively impact employment, housing, finances, and even personal relationships.

An Aiken County drug lawyer could advocate on your behalf to help ensure the right evidence is located, preserved, and presented to bring about the best possible outcome in your case. Call now to learn more.