In many parts of the country (and even here in Greenville), drug use has become a socially acceptable way to have fun with friends or wind down after a long day. As a result, some states have relaxed their drug laws. But in South Carolina, drug laws are strict, and sentences can be severe. If you are facing drug charges, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney.
At the Law Office of Mo Abusaft, lead attorney Monier “Mo” Abusaft and his team of attorneys are ready to fight for your freedom. If you have been charged with a drug offense and are not sure what to do next, now is the time to reach out to us.
Types of Drug Charges
There are many different drug crimes at both the state and the federal level. Most of them fall into one of these categories:
A charge of possession is generally less severe than other charges. It means that you have been accused of having any amount (even a very small amount) of any controlled substance.
You do not have to carry the substance on your person to be charged with possession — you can be charged if the substance is at your home or in your car.
Possession With Intent to Distribute
Usually, someone charged with this crime has more of a drug than they would reasonably keep for personal use. However, the law does not outline a minimum quantity of a controlled substance you must have to be charged.
Many people have the misconception that in order to be convicted of this crime, you must be planning to sell the drugs. However, just like the name suggests, you can be charged with distribution any time you give controlled substances to other people — whether you ask for payment or not.
You might think that distribution and trafficking are two different words for the same crime. Both of these drug crimes are similar, but they are not the same. The crime of distribution has to do with the movement of the drugs — if you give drugs (even in small quantities) to other people, you can be charged.
Trafficking, on the other hand, largely has to do with the quantity of a given drug you have. Even if you have not been caught while moving drugs, you can be charged with trafficking if you are in possession of a certain amount:
- Methamphetamine: 10 grams or more
- Cocaine/Cocaine Base: 10 grams or more
- Heroin: 4 grams or more
- Marijuana: 10 pounds or more
- Fentanyl and Related Drugs: More than 4 grams
The above substances are not the only ones you can be accused of trafficking, but they are some of the most common.
In South Carolina, manufacturing controlled substances is a serious offense. You can be charged if you have the necessary materials to manufacture drugs or if you grow marijuana plants.
Not all drug charges have to do with illicit drugs. Some have to do with prescriptions. “Prescription fraud” is an umbrella term that covers a few different offenses:
- Forging/falsifying prescriptions
- Having prescription medication that is not prescribed to you
- Illegally distributing or trafficking prescription drugs
Generally, prescription fraud penalties are more severe if the prescription drugs in question are also controlled substances.
Factors That Influence the Severity of Drug Charges
Some drug charges have greater penalties than others. Each individual case is different, but there are three major factors that may shape your case:
How the Drug Is Classified
The federal government classifies drugs in tiers called “schedules.” There are five different schedules. Schedule I drugs are extremely addictive and do not have any known medical use, so crimes involving these drugs often have harsher penalties. Schedule V drugs have little abuse potential, so crimes involving these drugs typically do not come with serious penalties.
Whether You Had Drugs for Personal Use or Distribution
Distributing drugs to other people can result in addictions, deaths, and drug-related crimes. As a result, penalties tend to be harsher for anyone intending to sell or otherwise distribute drugs.
Whether You Have Prior Drug Convictions
Courts tend to be more lenient if you are a first-time drug offender. However, if you have been convicted of a drug-related crime before, you will likely face a harsher penalty if you are convicted again.
Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney at the Law Office of Mo Abusaft
It is easy to feel anxious and discouraged if you are facing drug charges. Fortunately, you do not have to face those charges alone. Our experienced lawyers have extensive knowledge of state and federal drug statutes, and they are committed to seeking justice for every client. Reach out to us today to discuss your case and learn how we may be able to help you.