You can fight back against drug charges with the help of our Columbia drug crime defense lawyers. Shealey Law Firm can defend you if you are facing drug charges in Columbia, SC and the surrounding areas.
Why Contact a Columbia, SC Drug Defense Attorney?
If you are charged with a drug crime in Columbia, SC, how you handle this situation can significantly impact the outcome of the case and your future. There may be multiple ways to address the charges and minimize the impact on your life. Simply being charged is not a conviction. If the charges are dismissed or you are found not guilty at trial, there is no conviction entered on your record and no penalties.
Defending Against Drug Charges in South Carolina
There are many ways to defend against drug charges and possible approaches to take. Some of the defenses that may be appropriate are:
- Having the substance tested to prove that it is not what the police say it is
- Asking the court to suppress evidence because the police violated your rights
- Pointing out chain of custody errors in evidence handling
- Stating that you never intentionally or knowingly possessed the drugs or that you did not intend to distribute them
- Cross-examining witnesses to show that they are not remembering facts or they are dishonest
- Pursuing a conditional discharge if you are charged with possession
- Requesting deferred prosecution
- Negotiating the appropriate plea bargain to reduced charges with lower possible penalties
- Going to trial because the state has not proven their case against you
The state must prove their case. That means proof of each element of a charge, like knowingly possessing, distributing or trafficking the substance, its identification and the amount involved.
As your Columbia, SC drug crime lawyers, we look at all possibilities to respond to the charges against you. Each case receives a customized defense strategy based on the specific charges the person is facing, the strength of the case against them, viability of defenses, their criminal history and any personal considerations that may be relevant.
It is our goal to build your defenses and give you the information you need to make important decisions about your case. Our trial lawyers represent you in full, including at all hearings and at trial.
Bond and bail for pending drug charges
Our drug possession lawyers can assist you with addressing the conditions of bond. There are statutory limits to bail in drug crime charges. For some charges, bail may not exceed any potential fine and assessment. Having favorable bond conditions can allow you to remain free so that you can prepare your defense and take care of personal matters. Our lawyers can assist you with approaching the court to seek the appropriate bond conditions.
Types of Cases We Handle
There are three broad categories of drug charges in South Carolina – possession, distribution and trafficking.
South Carolina law defines drug possession as knowingly and intentionally, unlawfully possessing a controlled substance. S.C. Code § 44-53-370(c). The courts have explained that a person has possession when they have the power and intent to control the distribution and use of a drug. (South Carolina v. Stewart, 2021). Possession is actual physical custody or constructive possession with the right to exercise dominion and control over the drugs.
Drug possession is the least serious of the South Carolina drug offenses. Penalties for distribution and trafficking are generally more severe. However, even possession charges can carry significant penalties.
Manufacture, deliver, purchase, distribute and dispense
S.C. Code § 44-53-370(a) prohibits a variety of acts related to the manufacture and distribution of drugs. A person may not manufacture, distribute, deliver, purchase or possess with the intent to manufacture a controlled substance. They may not aid and abet or conspire with a person to do any of those things.
A person may be found guilty of distributing drugs even if the recipient doesn’t pay. Even giving away controlled substances is illegal in South Carolina. Manufacture and delivery charges are more serious than simple drug possession charges, but law enforcement must prove your intent regarding disposal of the drugs.
Drug trafficking charges involve large amounts of a controlled substance. The potential penalties are typically the most severe. Depending on the type of drug, a person convicted of drug trafficking may face mandatory prison of a term of years even for a first offense. A potential maximum penalty depends on the amount of the substance involved and whether the offender has any prior convictions.
Cases we handle include:
- Marijuana, hashish
- Psilocybin, hallucinogens, magic mushrooms
- Opium, opiate
- Depressants, benzos
- Oxycontin, vicodin
- Flunitrazepam, roofies
- MDMA, ecstasy
- Prescription medication violations
FAQs About Drug Charges in South Carolina
What are the South Carolina Drug Laws?
What court will hear my Columbia, SC drug crime case?
Most drug crime charges in Columbia, SC are heard in the Richland Circuit Court, located at 1701 Main Street, Room 205, 29201. The court that hears your case depends on the exact charges and where they occurred. Be sure to verify the address in advance of your hearing.
What is a conditional discharge for drugs in South Carolina?
A conditional discharge for drugs in South Carolina is a program for first-time offenders to have drug possession charges dismissed without a conviction. The person must complete a term of probation which may include treatment and rehabilitation programs. S.C. Code § 44-53-450 allows the person to seek an expungement of the record, and there is no adjudication of guilt.
Talk to a Columbia, SC Drug Crime Lawyer
If you are facing drug charges in Columbia, SC, you can talk to a lawyer at Shealey Law Firm. Being accused of committing a crime is serious, but we can provide professional and aggressive representation. When we represent you, we handle all aspects of the case. From building your defenses to representing you at court and at trial, our Columbia drug crime lawyers are full-service advocates committed to pursuing your interests.
We can start representing you today. Call or message us to begin.