Drug Charges

Thompson & Hiller Defense Firm

Drug Charges<br />

Drug Charges Overview

Facing drug charges can be an overwhelming and life-altering experience, with consequences that can impact your freedom, employment, and future opportunities. At Thompson and Hiller, we understand the complexities of drug-related offenses in Columbia, SC, ranging from simple possession to trafficking and distribution. South Carolina has stringent drug laws, and a conviction can result in severe penalties, including hefty fines and extended jail time. That’s why it’s crucial to have experienced legal representation to navigate the intricacies of the criminal justice system. We are committed to providing you with a robust defense strategy, ensuring that your rights are protected every step of the way.

Initial Consultation

Attorney meets with the client to discuss the details of the case

Investigation & Evidence Gathering

Collecting all relevant evidence, talking to witnesses, and reviewing police reports and other documents

Pre-Trial & Negotiations

Defense can negotiate with the prosecution for plea deals or even get some charges dropped

Trial & Beyond

Defense attorney represents the client in court, presenting evidence, cross-examining witnesses, and making closing arguments

Bond Hearings
Bond Hearing
Lady Justice

Drug Charges

If you’re facing drug charges in Columbia, SC, our experienced drug defense lawyers at Thompson and Hiller are your trusted allies in navigating the complexities of South Carolina drug laws.

Types of Drug Charges

Understanding drug charges in Columbia, SC, is crucial for anyone facing legal repercussions related to narcotics or controlled substances. At Thompson and Hiller, we are experienced in drug charge defense, offering guidance through the complexities of South Carolina drug laws.

Simple Possession

Simple possession refers to carrying a small amount of a controlled substance for personal use. This could include marijuana, cocaine, or prescription medications without a valid prescription.

Legal Implications: Convictions can result in fines, mandatory drug education programs, and even jail time for repeat offenders.

Possession with Intent to Distribute

This charge involves possessing a controlled substance with the intent to sell or distribute it. Evidence can include large quantities of the drug, scales, or baggies.

Legal Implications: Your ticket will specify your court date, location, and charges. Failure to appear can result in a guilty verdict and may complicate any additional, more serious charges in General Sessions Court.

Drug Trafficking

Drug trafficking involves the manufacture, distribution, or possession of large quantities of controlled substances.

Legal Implications: This is a felony charge that carries severe penalties, including lengthy prison sentences and substantial fines.

Manufacturing and Cultivation

This charge involves the production of drugs, such as growing marijuana plants or manufacturing methamphetamine.

Legal Implications: Convictions can result in long-term imprisonment and hefty fines.

Prescription Drug Charges

This involves possessing or distributing prescription medications without a valid prescription.

Legal Implications: Penalties can include fines and imprisonment, depending on the quantity and type of drug involved.

Penalties for Drug Charges

When facing criminal charges in South Carolina, it’s crucial to understand the role of the General Sessions Court. This court handles most offenses with penalties exceeding 30 days, except for specific cases like first-offense DUI, DUS, and some DV cases. With Thompson & Hiller, experienced SC criminal law attorneys, you’ll have the best defense for your General Sessions level offense.

 

Misdemeanor Penalties

Fines: Up to $1,000

Jail TIme: Up to one year

Felony Penalties 

Fines: Upwards of $5,000

Prison Time: Minimum of one year, with some charges carrying life sentences 

Additional Consequences: 

Asset forfeiture 

Loss of employment

Permanent criminal record

The Legal Process : Drug Charges in Columbia, SC

Arrest and Booking

What to Expect: After arrest, you’ll be taken to the police station for booking. You’ll be fingerprinted and photographed.

Your Rights: You have the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney.

Initial Hearing

What Happens: The judge will read the charges against you and set bail, if applicable.

How to Prepare: Consult with your attorney to understand the charges and potential defenses.

Discovery and Pre-Trial

Gathering Evidence: Your attorney will collect evidence, interview witnesses, and prepare your defense.

Legal Strategies: Options may include plea bargains, motions to dismiss, or preparing for trial.

Trial

Court Proceedings: The prosecution and defense present their cases, and the jury delivers a verdict.

Defense Tactics: Your attorney will cross-examine witnesses, challenge evidence, and present your defense.

Sentencing

Possible Outcomes: If convicted, you could face fines, imprisonment, or other penalties.

Appeals Process: You have the right to appeal the verdict, but this is a complex process that requires legal advice.

Expungement of Drug Charges in Columbia, SC

What is Expungement?

Expungement is the legal process of having a criminal charge or conviction removed from your public record. In the context of drug charges in Columbia, SC, this means that the charge would be erased, as if it never occurred, allowing you to move forward without the burden of a criminal record affecting your life.

When is Expungement Applicable?

Expungement is generally applicable to first-time offenders and for certain types of drug charges, such as simple possession. South Carolina law may allow for the expungement of drug charges under specific conditions, including successful completion of a drug diversion program or if the charges were dismissed. It’s crucial to consult with an experienced attorney to determine your eligibility for expungement based on the specifics of your case.

The Expungement Process

  1. Eligibility Assessment: Consult with an attorney to determine if you are eligible for expungement.
  2. Filing a Petition: If eligible, you’ll need to file a petition for expungement with the court. This usually involves filling out specific forms and paying a filing fee.
  3. Review by Solicitor’s Office: The Solicitor’s Office will review your petition to ensure that you meet all the criteria for expungement.
  4. Court Hearing: Depending on the circumstances, a court hearing may be required. You’ll need to present your case, and the judge will make a final decision.
  5. Record Removal: If the expungement is granted, the criminal charge will be removed from public records, and you are legally allowed to deny the existence of the charge in most situations.

Results of Expungement

Once your drug charge is expunged, it will no longer appear on most background checks, thereby improving your chances for employment, housing, and educational opportunities. However, it’s important to note that some agencies, like law enforcement, may still have access to these records for specific purposes.

Expungement can be a complex process that requires legal advice. At Thompson and Hiller, we guide clients through the intricacies of expungement for drug charges in Columbia, SC. Contact us today to find out how we can help you.

Breakdown of Charges Based on the Drug

Marijuana

  • Simple Possession: Up to 30 grams can result in a misdemeanor charge, with penalties of up to 30 days in jail and a $200 fine.
  • Possession with Intent to Distribute: Larger quantities can lead to felony charges, with penalties ranging from 1 to 5 years in prison and fines up to $5,000.

Cocaine

  • Simple Possession: A first offense can result in up to 3 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.
  • Trafficking: Possession of 10 grams or more can lead to a minimum of 25 years in prison and a $50,000 fine.

Heroin

  • Simple Possession: A first offense can result in up to 7 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.
  • Trafficking: Possession of 4 grams or more can lead to a minimum of 25 years in prison and a $50,000 fine.

Methamphetamine

  • Simple Possession: A first offense can result in up to 3 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.
  • Manufacturing or Trafficking: Penalties can range from 3 to 25 years in prison and fines from $5,000 to $200,000, depending on the amount involved.

Prescription Drugs (e.g., OxyContin, Vicodin)

  • llegal Possession: Penalties can include up to 2 years in prison and a fine of up to $2,000.
  • Distribution: Penalties can range from 5 to 15 years in prison and fines up to $25,000.

MDMA (Ecstasy)

  • Simple Possession: A first offense can result in up to 3 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.
  • Trafficking: Possession of 10 tablets or more can lead to a minimum of 25 years in prison and a $50,000 fine.

Want to Speak With an Attorney Today?

Get your free initial consultation set up today by reaching out via phone, email, or text. Have Thompson & Hiller on your side today.

Practice Areas

Driving under the Influence in South Carolina

DUI

Thompson & Hiller Defense

Domestic Abuse<br />

Domestic Violence

Thompson & Hiller Defense