Possession of Controlled Substances in South Carolina
We previously discussed South Carolina’s definition of simple possession of marijuana and the penalties and consequences of that type of charge.
Possession of other controlled substances – like cocaine, methamphetamine, and heroin – carry their own charges, penalties, and consequences.
Under South Carolina law, it is unlawful to knowingly or intentionally possess a controlled substance unless it was obtained directly on your doctor’s orders.
Possession of cocaine is a misdemeanor and, if you are found guilty, the penalties include up to three years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000. For a first offense, you may be required to enter and successfully complete a drug treatment and rehabilitation program. You may be able to have the charge dismissed if you attend treatment and rehab and comply with a pretrial intervention program (PTI).
A second cocaine possession offense is a felony and the penalties include up to five years in prison and up to $7,500 in fines. Because a second offense is a felony, the stakes are raised and a conviction can lead to loss of basic rights like the right to vote or the right to own a gun.
A third or subsequent offense is also a felony, and jail time and fines increase.
What To Remember
The important part of SC law to remember are the keywords “knowingly” and “intentionally.” When it comes to defending possession charges, one of the first things to look at is where the substances were found.
For example, you are driving your friend’s car when you are pulled over. The officers asked to search the vehicle and you agreed (though by knowing your rights when pulled over, you should never voluntarily allow an officer to search your vehicle). The officer searches the vehicle and finds a baggie filled with a white substance they believe to be cocaine. You had never seen the baggie before nor did your friend alert you to its existence. The officers decide to arrest you and charge you with possession of cocaine. Did you knowingly or intentionally possess it? No, of course not, but you will need an experienced attorney to work with the solicitor and make the appropriate arguments regarding your defense.
Contact An Attorney
Before accepting any plea for a possession charge, it is important to consult an experienced attorney who can review your case and do everything possible to get you the best outcome for your case.
Contact our South Carolina office via our website or call 803-639-8719 to speak with an attorney.