Greenville Drug Lawyer

Especially in light of the opioid crisis that has devastated communities across the United States in recent years, law enforcement authorities in Greenville take illicit drug possession, manufacture, distribution, and trafficking extremely seriously. They also tend to treat individuals accused of such offenses extremely harshly, as most drug crimes codified under state law are felony offenses punishable by multiple years of imprisonment.

If you are facing any kind of drug-related criminal charge, retaining a skilled criminal defense attorney should be high on your priority list. An experienced Greenville drug lawyer could help you understand how state statutes categorize various drugs, what consequences you might face upon conviction, and what options you may have for contesting the allegations against you.

How State Law Categorizes Different Controlled Substances

Just like federal law does, South Carolina state law sorts controlled substances into Schedules based on their potential for abuse, accepted medical usages or lack thereof, and their propensity to cause physical or psychological dependence. South Carolina Code of Laws §§44-53-180, 200, 220, 240, and 260 list the criteria for classification in each of the five drug Schedules, and South Carolina Code of Laws §44-53-190, 210, 230, 250, 270 list every specific substance included in each Schedule.

Generally speaking, Schedule I drugs are considered to be the most dangerous controlled substances that have no medical purpose and are ripe for abuse, whereas Schedule V drugs are considered relatively safe when used appropriately and often have legitimate medical uses. Notably, despite studies indicating its medical efficacy and efforts to legalize its possession and use in other states, marijuana is still considered a Schedule I controlled substance under current state law. No matter what substance a defendant is accused of possessing, making, selling, or trafficking, a Greenville drug attorney could help you construct a strong legal defense.

Potential Penalties for Possession, Distribution, or Trafficking

In accordance with their dangerous nature, criminal offenses involving Schedule I drugs tend to have the most serious consequences associated with them, while substances in less severe Schedules may lead to less severe criminal sanctions upon conviction for a related offense. Likewise, possession of a small amount of an illicit substance is punished less harshly and may even only be a misdemeanor offense in many situations, while allegations of drug distribution, manufacturing, or trafficking offenses are almost always felonies.

South Carolina Code of Laws §44-53-370 establishes the possible penalties—including prison time, fines, or both—for most drug offenses based on the action allegedly taken, the type of substance involved, and the amount of that substance involved. However, offenses involving cocaine and/or methamphetamine are uniquely addressed in South Carolina Code of Laws §44-53-375.

Importantly, both statutes allow for repeat offenders to be given harsher sentences than first-time offenders. To name just one example, a first offense of possessing a gram or less of cocaine is a misdemeanor punishable by a maximum $5,000 fine and three-year jail sentence, but a second offense is a felony that could result in up to five years in prison and $7,500 in fines. Working with a seasoned defense lawyer is especially important for anyone facing drug charges in Greenville who has been convicted of a similar offense before.

Seek Help from a Greenville Drug Attorney

While legislative approaches to drug offense prosecution has shifted noticeably over the past several years, the drug laws currently on the books in South Carolina still allow for incredibly harsh punishments upon even a first conviction. In order to achieve a positive resolution to your criminal case, you will almost certainly need assistance from a skilled legal professional who has successfully handled cases like yours in the past.

The quality of your legal counsel could make all the difference in the outcome of your case, so do not delay in secured experienced representation for yours. Call a Greenville drug lawyer today to schedule a consultation and discuss your legal options.