Drug trafficking sounds like a terrible crime. Learning you have been charged with drug trafficking may make you wonder what you really did, and whether you have any hope at all. The South Carolina criminal defense lawyers of Truslow & Truslow are here to help you understand what you are being charged with, how to defend yourself, and work with you to get the best results in your case.
The most important thing is to start now. Drug trafficking is a serious felony, and you can’t delay your defense. If you or a family member has been charged with this offense, contact the experienced legal team of Truslow & Truslow at (803) 590-6688 right away for a confidential consultation and assessment of your case.
Drug Trafficking FAQ
What if It Was Only Marijuana?
Although some states have changed their laws, marijuana is not legal in the state of South Carolina, and there is no medical marijuana waiver. The only difference in drug charges for possession of marijuana is the weight of the drugs.
- Simple possession of marijuana is a misdemeanor, punishable by 30 days in jail or a fine. Misdemeanor weight is 28 grams or less. Possession of paraphernalia is a fine only.
- Possession with intent to distribute requires possession of 28 grams to ten pounds.
- Trafficking requires possession of over ten pounds.
There is no other difference between the marijuana possession laws and those for other narcotics. They are all illegal in South Carolina and punished in the same way.
What Is the Difference Between State and Federal Crimes?
Although trafficking sounds like a federal crime, the federal agencies usually get involved only when exceptionally large quantities of drugs are involved, when state or international borders are crossed, or when organized gangs or cartels are responsible.
However, it is important to remember that in all 50 states, all narcotics, including marijuana, are still illegal under federal law, and federal authorities can be called in for any case if necessary.
How Can an Attorney Help Me?
By calling an experienced criminal law attorney from Truslow & Truslow as soon as you can, you will have a knowledgeable legal team on your side, working with you to defend your case and get the most favorable outcome possible.
- Search and Seizure Violations. Under the Fourth Amendment, evidence must either be obtained with a warrant or fall into certain specified exceptions. If it can be established that the evidence was collected improperly, your chances may be improved.
- Proof of Intent. The law requires the prosecutor to prove that you “knowingly” intended to traffic in drugs. You are allowed to present evidence to challenge the prosecutor’s claim that you knowingly attempted to sell, deliver, or purchase drugs. Your attorney knows of ways to help prove that you weren’t intending to be a drug kingpin
- Cooperating. Despite what you may have seen on television, it is not as easy to agree to cooperate as you might think. If you can cooperate or provide additional information on your case, you should never just blurt it out to the police. You will need the services of a skilled attorney to be certain your interests are always protected.
Let Us Help You
Being charged with a serious crime like drug trafficking is frightening and you may feel lost in the system. You are entitled to have representation at all key points in your case. If you or a loved one has been arrested and charged with drug trafficking, don’t wait. Contact the attorneys at Truslow & Truslow immediately.
It’s never too late to call for aggressive, passionate defenders who know the system and the law. Call Truslow & Truslow at (803) 590-6688 today for a confidential consultation. We will be by your side throughout your case to work toward the most favorable outcome for you.
What Is Drug Trafficking?
In South Carolina, there are three levels of drug charges, based on the type and quantity of narcotics involved.
- Simple possession is a misdemeanor for a first offense and involves less than one gram of cocaine or methamphetamine;
- Possession with intent to distribute is a felony for a first offense. Possession of more than one gram of cocaine or methamphetamine is considered evidence of intent to distribute.
- Trafficking. South Carolina Code of Law section 44-53-375(C) defines “trafficking” as the possession, manufacture, sale, or distribution of more than ten grams of cocaine, methamphetamine, or other proscribed narcotics.
Although it sounds frightening and even exotic, in South Carolina, “drug trafficking” is not the same thing as smuggling. Smuggling is usually defined as bringing narcotics into the United States across international borders and would involve the DEA or other federal agencies.
For instance, if someone is arrested with eleven grams of cocaine, they will be charged with trafficking, even if they had no intention of selling it or transporting it anywhere. They could also be charged with possession and distribution. These are known as “lesser included” charges in this instance.
Drug Trafficking Penalties
The penalties for trafficking are serious. The sentences are subject to mandatory minimums, and most require the offender to serve the entire sentence without probation or suspension. The sentence for trafficking ten grams of cocaine for a first offense is three to ten years, without suspension or probation, and a fine of $25,000. The law does not allow reduction for good-time credits, work credits, or any other time off the sentence.
In other words, if an offender was arrested with eleven grams of cocaine and was sentenced to four years in prison, they would spend all four years in prison, even if they are model inmates. These mandatory minimums are harsh, and that’s why you should always have an attorney at your side when any discussion of your case is going on.
As the quantity of the narcotics, or the number of times arrested for the same offense, or both, increases, so does the sentence. For a large quantity of drugs, a multiple offender could receive a sentence of 25-30 years in prison. South Carolina drug laws are some of the strictest in the nation.