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Understanding South Carolina Drug Trafficking Charges

Being hit with any drug charge in South Carolina can have intense and long-lasting consequences on your future. However, being convicted of Drug Trafficking has more serious implications that can sometimes reach as far as federal levels of punishment and incarceration, if state lines are crossed.
Below we’ve outlined some information about drug trafficking in the state of South Carolina and what to do if you find yourself facing charges for this crime:
What is Drug Trafficking?
You will be charged with drug trafficking if you are in possession of more than a certain amount of illegal drugs. Contrary to popular belief, you do NOT have to be transporting drugs to get charged with trafficking. You only have to be in possession of that threshold amount—you don’t even have to have the intent to distribute, sell, or transport the drugs.
You may be charged with drug trafficking if you are found in possession of drugs at or over the following amounts:

  • Cocaine: 10-28 grams
  • Marijuana: 10-100 lbs
  • Methamphetamines or “Cocaine Base”: 10-28 grams
  • Heroin: 4-14 grams

Penalties for a Drug Trafficking Conviction
The penalties you may incur from a trafficking conviction are serious. South Carolina law views trafficking as a violent offense and jail time for convictions is mandatory.  Depending on the substance, you could be looking at the following consequences:
Cocaine or Cocaine Base (“Crack Cocaine”) 10-28 grams:
1st Offense: 3-10 years and fines of up to $25,000
2nd Offense: 5-30 years and fines of up to $50,000
3rd Offense and Up: 25-30 years and fines of up to $50,000
Marijuana, 10-100 lbs
1st Offense: 1-15 years and fines of up to $10,000
2nd Offense: 5-20 years and fines of up to $50,000
3rd Offense and Up: 10-30 years and fines of up to $50,000
Methamphetamines, 10-28 grams:
1st Offense:  3-10 years and fines of up to $25,000
2nd Offense: 5-30 years and fines of up to $50,000
3rd Offense: 25-30 years and fines of up to $50,000
Heroin, 4-14 grams
1st Offense: 7-25 years and fines of up to $25,000
2nd Offense: 25 years and fines of up to $100,000
The above list is not all-inclusive and does not include sentencing information for those with a past criminal history, or those found in possession of amounts higher than those listed above. Individuals with past drug-related convictions may be at risk of being sentenced as a second or “repeat” offender, even if your past drug conviction was not for trafficking.
If you’ve been charged with Drug Trafficking, you NEED an attorney.
As with any criminal charge, the circumstances surrounding the arrest as well as issues revolving around the chain of custody and unreliable informants can go a long way in your defense. An experienced criminal law attorney can investigate your charges and possibly have them reduced, or even thrown out.
Don’t risk your freedom or reputation.
If you find yourself in a situation where you are or may potentially be charged with Drug Trafficking, it is imperative that you retain an attorney experienced in South Carolina criminal defense. Greg McCollum’s Complete Legal Defense Team has had a long history of defending clients against drug trafficking and other criminal charges. Give us a call today to schedule a free, no obligation consultation with an attorney who can help you at (843) 627-4025.

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