All drug crimes have the potential to bring about harsh penalties that can permanently impact your personal and professional life. Law enforcement officials and prosecutors focus a great deal of effort on carrying out drug laws, resulting in exceedingly severe punishments. A Georgetown drug lawyer can be vital in successfully fighting back against these charges.

While you are entitled to an entire range of constitutional rights if you get arrested and accused of a crime, you may not always be aware when there has been a violation of your rights. A capable criminal defense attorney could examine your case and determine whether any violations occurred in your case that could be a defense to the charges against you.

Classifying Drug Charges in Georgetown

State law provides for dozens of different drug charges based on the type, the amount, and the kind of activity that occurred concerning the drug. All drugs fall within one of five categories of controlled substances under state law, except for marijuana, which is a separate category. The type or schedule of the drug depends on its potential for abuse, danger level, and accepted medical uses.

What are Controlled Substance Schedules?

Schedule I drugs are classified as the most hazardous drugs with the highest potential for misuse and no accepted medical uses. Schedule V drugs are the least dangerous drugs with a low risk of abuse and often have medicinal purposes, such as some prescription drugs. As a result, crimes involving Schedule I or II drugs are likely to result in more severe charges and penalties than those involving Schedule IV or V drugs.

Types of Drug Charges

Drug charges may be misdemeanor or felony offenses, again based on the schedule, amount, and use of the drug. Potential drug charges can include possession of drugs, possession of drugs with intent to distribute, manufacturing, and trafficking. Another possible charge is conspiracy to commit an illicit substance crime, which occurs when two or more individuals agree to participate in a criminal drug enterprise. When facing drug charges, a skilled attorney in Georgetown could explain the potential outcomes and develop a strategy for defending them.

What are the Penalties for Drug Possession Charges?

The penalties for substance possession in Georgetown generally are the least harsh of the penalties for drug crimes, as a knowledgeable lawyer could explain. For instance, under S.C. Code § 44-53-375, possession of less than one gram of methamphetamine or cocaine is a misdemeanor for a first offense. Nonetheless, the penalties can include a sentence of imprisonment of up to three years, a $5,000 fine, or both.

As individuals accrue previous drug convictions, these penalties increase substantially. A second violation of this section is a felony charge that can result in up to five years of incarceration, a $7,500 fine, or both.

What are the Penalties for Manufacturing and Distributing Illicit Substances?

State law prescribes much harsher penalties for manufacturing and distributing illegal drugs, as well as for possessing them with intent to distribute. These offenses typically involve much larger quantities of drugs. For example, under S.C. Code § 44-53-375, those who manufacture or distribute methamphetamine or cocaine could face a felony, which carries the potential for up to 15 years of imprisonment and a $25,000 fine for a first offense.

If the offense rises to the level of trafficking, the penalties become more dependent on the amount of the drug involved. If individuals are convicted of trafficking more then 28 grams, but less than 100 grams of cocaine, a first offense can result in seven to 25 years in prison and a $50,000 fine. A previous history of drug convictions could make the potential penalties more onerous.

If the offense involves the distribution or possession with intent to distribute drugs found in Schedules IV or V, then the offender will only face a misdemeanor charge. A first offense can result in up to three years in prison, a $3,000 fine, or both. Regardless of the nature of the drug charges involved, the services of a tenacious Georgetown attorney is crucial.

A Georgetown Drug Attorney Could Reduce Your Charges

Drug offenses may involve street drugs, such as methamphetamine, cocaine, and heroin, or controlled substances available by prescription only, such as opiates. Based on the type and amount of the drugs involved, as well as the kind of offense, you could be facing lengthy terms of incarceration and thousands in fines. A Georgetown drug lawyer could help minimize your exposure to these sanctions and seek reduced charges and penalties on your behalf.

Without legal counsel, you may be defenseless against the aggressive tactics of law enforcement officers and prosecutors. Instead of leaving yourself open to the harshest punishments available, a dedicated attorney could help you receive the best outcome for your case.