There are a number of controlled substances that South Carolina prohibits its residents from possessing under normal circumstances. Possession of these substances can lead to serious drug charges, but you might face an even more serious “possession with intent to distribute” charge if law enforcement officials have reason to believe that you planned to sell or otherwise spread these controlled substances to other individuals.
Our team at Shealey Law Firm understands the severity of PWID charges and knows that your drug-related arrest could be the result of a misunderstanding or unlawful behavior on the part of police officers at the scene. Contact our firm today and learn more about how our drug defense lawyers in Columbia, SC, can help your case.
How Does Possession With Intent To Distribute Differ From Other Drug Charges?
The possession of drugs with the intent to distribute is a more serious charge than simple possession, though less severe than a more involved drug trafficking charge.
A drug possession charge escalates to PWID when law enforcement officials find evidence to suggest someone planned to sell or dispense controlled substances in their possession to another party.
Police officers might also infer that you have the intention to distribute drugs based on the volume of the controlled substance in your possession. Possessing a significant weight of a drug can suggest that you do not intend to keep it for personal use. The law refers to this as a “threshold weight,” though the threshold differs by substance.
Whereas a first offense of simple possession is a misdemeanor that carries a starting sentence of 30 days of prison time, a PWID offense involving a Schedule V drug can carry up to one year in jail.
How Are PWID Charges Different Based on the Substance?
The charges for drug possession in South Carolina can differ greatly based on the substance in question. Each substance has its own threshold weights that determine when the charge escalates to PWID, as well as different penalties:
- Marijuana: The threshold weight at which possession of marijuana escalates to a PWID charge is 1 ounce. A first offense of intending to distribute marijuana carries a penalty of up to 5 years in prison.
- Cocaine: The threshold weight for cocaine is 1 gram, and a first-time PWID offense carries a sentence of up to 15 years in prison.
- Methamphetamine: The threshold weight is 1 gram, with penalties that match those of PWID for cocaine.
- Heroin: The possession of heroin escalates to a PWID charge if police find more than two grains of the substance on your person or on your property, and a first-time PWID offense carries a sentence of up to 15 years in prison.
- Fentanyl: Possession of fentanyl carries similar penalties to the possession of heroin, but sentences can be harsher due to the high potential for fentanyl overdose.
- MDMA: The threshold at which possession of MDMA, or ecstasy, escalates to a PWID charge is when police find more than 15 pills. A first-time PWID offense involving MDMA carries a sentence of up to 5 years in prison.
How Can You Defend Against PWID Charges?
When the prosecution attempts to convict you for possession with intent to distribute in South Carolina, their strongest evidence is the amount of controlled substances found in your possession.
If law enforcement officers seized a volume of drugs that exceeds the legal threshold weight, prosecutors might feel that they have a strong case against you. Defending yourself against a PWID charge is often a matter of contesting this specific evidence.
The criminal defense lawyers at Shealey Law Firm can strengthen your defense by investigating the circumstances of your arrest and taking steps to prove that you had no intention to distribute any controlled substances. We can also help you build a case establishing that the evidence against you is a result of an unlawful search and seizure in violation of your Fourth Amendment rights.
We Represent Clients Charged With Possession With Intent To Distribute in South Carolina
If police officers place you under arrest after conducting an unlawful search, or if they accuse you of intending to distribute drugs that do not even belong to you, it can feel like you have no options to defend yourself.
Contact Shealey Law Firm in Columbia to discuss the next steps you can take toward a favorable outcome after receiving a possession with intent to distribute charges in South Carolina.