DRUG POSSESSION LAWYER IN COLUMBIA, SC/
While laws across the U.S. are relaxing regarding marijuana, drug possession is still a serious crime. Possession of heroin, cocaine, unlawful prescription drugs and opioids can carry stiff fines and jail time. With the current opioid epidemic in America, law enforcement is cracking down on all forms of drug possession.
If you have been arrested or charged with a drug offense, you need an experienced hands-on drug possession lawyer in Columbia, SC who can work to get your charges reduced or thrown out or can negotiate a lighter sentence. Attorney Joe Leventis has worked with many clients who are in your shoes and he knows the ropes. He understands that sometimes you’re just in the wrong place at the wrong time, and he knows that sometimes the drugs belong to a friend, not you.
Contact Joe now at (803) 256-0113 for a free initial consultation about your situation. He will give you a fair legal analysis and offer strategies for your defense.
WHY DO I NEED A DRUG POSSESSION ATTORNEY?/
You’d better believe the prosecutor in your case has years of legal experience and a solid law school education behind him. The prosecutor is highly motivated to secure convictions. The last thing you want to do is try to represent yourself in court or be at the mercy of an overworked attorney in the public defender’s office.
You need a Columbia, SC drug possession attorney who can go head-to-head with the prosecutor and effectively argue your case. You need someone who can gather police reports, witness statements, evidence and legal statutes that punch holes in the prosecutor’s case and create doubt in the minds of jurors and judges.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO HIRE A COLUMBIA, SC DRUG POSSESSION LAWYER?/
Drug possession defense attorneys, on average, cost above $3,500 nationwide, but multiple factors affect the total cost of legal services.
Some lawyers bill by the hour for their services, and others bill a flat rate for a specific case. An hourly rate may be beneficial to clients if the case is cut and dried. But when a case is more complicated and takes more time, the cost can go up substantially. Often, when charging by the hour, defense attorneys request a retainer fee as a deposit that they then work against. For example, if an attorney has a $200 hourly fee, he or she may require a 10-hour retainer fee of $2,000.
Other drug possession attorneys charge flat rates or set fees for different types of cases. Flat fees give the clients upfront knowledge of the total cost of legal services. Also, with a flat rate, the attorney doesn’t have to keep detailed notes on every phone call, e-mail and trip to the law library. Flat rates vary depending on the complexity and seriousness of the charge.
For more specific estimates about the fees for your case, contact Joe Leventis at (803) 256-0113 for a free initial consultation.
HOW DOES SOUTH CAROLINA CLASSIFY CONTROLLED DANGEROUS SUBSTANCES (CDS)?/
South Carolina divides CDS into five “Schedules.” Schedule I lists the most dangerous drugs, which have a high probability of abuse and addiction and no recognized medical value. Schedules II, III, IV, and V decrease in dangerousness and probability of abuse and increase in recognized medical uses.
If you’ve been arrested for illegal CDS possession, you’ll need to consult the South Carolina Code that lists precisely which drugs fit into each group. Because drug laws are complex and so much is at stake, it may be best to consult with a drug possession lawyer for help.
PENALTIES FOR POSSESSING DRUGS/
It is illegal in South Carolina to possess CDS without a valid medical prescription. Penalties vary according to the type and amount of CDS involved in the violation, as described below, according to Nolo.
Schedule I and II Narcotics and other CDS
Possessing a Schedule I or II narcotic CDS and lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) is a misdemeanor. Penalties for a first offense include a fine of up to $5,000, up to two years in prison, or both. Second offenses are felonies and incur a fine of up to $5,000, up to five years in prison, or both. Third and subsequent offenses incur a fine of fine of up to $10,000, up to five years in prison, or both.
Any other Schedule I, II, III, IV, or V CDS
Possessing any other Schedule I,II, III, IV, or V CDS is a misdemeanor (excluding cocaine). Penalties for a first offense include a fine of up to $1,000, up to six months in jail, or both. Second or subsequent offenses incur a fine of up to $2,000, up to one year in jail, or both.
Possessing cocaine is a misdemeanor and (for a first offense) incurs a fine of up to $5,000, up to three years in prison, or both. A second offense is a felony, and incurs a fine of up to $7,500, up to five years in prison, or both. Third and subsequent offenses incur a fine of up to $12,500, up to ten years in prison, or both.
PRESUMED INTENT TO SELL CDS/
The judge will view what would normally be a CDS possession violation to be a CDS sale offense (which incurs harsher fines and longer prison terms) if the defendant possessed more than the following specified amounts of certain CDS, according to Nolo:
- one gram of cocaine
- 100 milligrams of alpha- or beta-eucaine
- four grains of opium or morphine
- two grains of heroin
- 100 milligrams of isonipecaine
- 50 micrograms or lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD)
- 15 tablets, capsules, or dosage units of 3- or 4- methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA)
- 20 milliliters or milligrams of gamma hydroxybutyric acid (GHB)
- specified amounts of marijuana or hashish.
WHAT ARE THE PENALTIES FOR COCAINE SALE AND TRAFFICKING IN SOUTH CAROLINA?/
Many people may not think of the Palmetto State when they think of cocaine trafficking, but the Lowcountry has been a popular place to get high for some time. South Carolina authorities crack down heavily on cocaine possession and sale, so it’s a good idea to be aware of what exactly will get you into trouble and what the possible penalties may be. Here are the basics of cocaine laws in South Carolina, according to FindLaw.
- Any amount: felony, up to 15 yrs. and/or $25,000
- 10-28 g.: 3-10 yrs. and/or $10,000
- 28-200 g.: 7-25 yrs. and/or $50,000
- 200-400 g.: 10-25 yrs. and/or $100,000
- Over 400 g.: 15-30 yrs. and/or $200,000
- Subsequent offense: felony, 5-30 yrs. and/or $50,000
- Third offense: 15-30 yrs. and/or $50,000
- For crack: felony, up to 15 yrs. and $25,000
- 2nd crack offense: up to 25 yrs. and $50,000
- Subsequent crack offense: up to 30 yrs. and $100,000
- Sale to minor: up to 20 yrs. and/or $30,000
- Sale near a school: $10,000 and up to 10 yrs. (10-15 for crack).
- 10-28 g.: 3-10 yrs. without probation and $25,000
- 2nd offense: 5-30 yrs. and $50,000
- Subsequent offense: 25-30 yrs. and $50,000
- 28-100 g.: 7-25 yrs. without probation and $50,000
- 2nd offense: 7-30 yrs. and $50,000
- Subsequent offense: 25-30 yrs. and $50,000
- 100-200 g.: mandatory 25 yrs. without probation and $50,000
- 200-400 g.: mandatory 25 yrs. without probation and $100,000
- 400 g. and over: mandatory 25-30 yrs. without probation and $200,000.
AN EXPERIENCED DRUG POSSESSION LAWYER IN COLUMBIA, SC IS YOUR BEST ADVOCATE/
If you have been arrested or charged with a drug offense in South Carolina, it’s time to get serious. You need serious legal representation by a drug possession lawyer who knows what he’s doing. Attorney Joe Leventis has decades of experience representing clients and fighting for their rights under the law. Contact Joe now at (803) 256-0113 for a free initial consultation about your case. He will give you a fair legal analysis and offer strategies for your defense.
HOW DO YOU DEFINE DRUG POSSESSION?/
Possession of a drug or another illegal controlled substance occurs only when a defendant is knowingly in possession of the substance. This requires two things. First, the defendant must have known that he or she was carrying the drug or substance at issue, according to Justia. For instance, if a man borrows his friend’s car and, when stopped by police, it is discovered that there are drugs concealed in the car, the man may not be charged with drug possession if he can show he had no idea the car contained drugs.
Second, the defendant must have known, or reasonably should have known, that the substance he or she was carrying is actually illegal, Justia states. Thus, if a husband hands his wife some medication that she believes he has a prescription for, when in fact he obtained the drug illegally, she would probably not be charged with possession because she believed the drug was legal.
In reality, a defense that someone did not know the substance was illegal is often difficult to prove, for individuals are assumed to have a reasonable knowledge and understanding about drugs and substances in their possession.
TYPES OF DRUG POSSESSION CRIMES/
Possession applies equally to both actual and constructive possession of an illegal substance, Justia states. Actual possession applies to those individuals who are physically in control of the drugs at the time of discovery, such as someone who has drugs in his or her pocket. Constructive possession means that the individual has control over and access to the drugs, even if he or she may not be holding onto them at the time of arrest. For instance, a man who keeps drugs in a cabinet in his home is still liable for drug possession.
The crime of drug possession also extends to items beyond the drugs themselves, including chemicals used to make drugs and drug paraphernalia. Drug paraphernalia typically includes items like syringes, pipes or bongs. Since these items may also be used for legal purposes, such as dispensing of legal medication or smoking tobacco, prosecution for possession of drug paraphernalia typically requires additional evidence to connect the item to drug use, such as residue left on a drug pipe.
DRUG USE IN THE U.S./
Illicit drug use in the United States has been increasing. In 2013, an estimated 24.6 million Americans aged 12 or older—9.4 percent of the population—had used an illicit drug in the past month, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This number is up from 8.3 percent in 2002. The increase mostly reflects a recent rise in use of marijuana, the most commonly used illicit drug.
Marijuana use has increased since 2007. In 2013, there were 19.8 million current users—about 7.5 percent of people aged 12 or older—up from 14.5 million (5.8 percent) in 2007, NIH states.
Use of most drugs other than marijuana has stabilized over the past decade or has declined. In 2013, 6.5 million Americans aged 12 or older (or 2.5 percent) had used prescription drugs nonmedically in the past month. Prescription drugs include pain relievers, tranquilizers, stimulants, and sedatives. And 1.3 million Americans (0.5 percent) had used hallucinogens (a category that includes ecstasy and LSD) in the past month.
Cocaine use has gone down in the last few years, NIH states. In 2013, the number of current users aged 12 or older was 1.5 million. This number is lower than in 2002 to 2007 (ranging from 2.0 million to 2.4 million).
Methamphetamine use was higher in 2013, with 595,000 current users, compared with 353,000 users in 2010.
Most people use drugs for the first time when they are teenagers. There were just over 2.8 million new users of illicit drugs in 2013, or about 7,800 new users per day. Over half (54.1 percent) were under 18 years of age.
Drug use is highest among people in their late teens and twenties. In 2013, 22.6 percent of 18- to 20-year-olds reported using an illicit drug in the past month.
OUR COLUMBIA, SC DRUG POSSESSION ATTORNEY PROVIDES YOUR BEST DEFENSE/
These nationwide drug statistics affect the way prosecutors, judges and juries view drug cases. That’s why it’s so important to have a Columbia, SC drug possession lawyer as your advocate. Attorney Joe Leventis cares about each of his clients, and he has years of experience in formulating a defense based on the facts of each case. Call Joe at (803) 256-0113 for a free initial consultation about your situation. You’ll be glad you did.