South Carolina Drug Crimes Attorney Fights for the Accused
Determined Columbia attorney protects your rights throughout the legal process
If you or a loved one is charged with a crime involving possession, sale or manufacture of drugs, it is essential that you hire a criminal lawyer experienced in such cases as soon as possible. For more than 40 years, Jack B. Swerling, Attorney at Law, in Columbia has vigorously defended the rights of people accused of drug crimes throughout South Carolina. Whether you are facing charges in state or federal court, he is prepared to fully investigate the facts and challenge the authorities’ case against you.
Types of drug crimes under state and federal law
A drug crime can be a state or federal offense. Generally, federal authorities only get involved with cases of trafficking and leave lesser offenses like simple possession to the state. Drug charges range from misdemeanors, punishable by fines and up to a year in jail, to felonies, for which prison sentences can extend to life and fines can be in the tens of thousands of dollars.
Illegal activities related to controlled substances include:
- Possession of drugs — Certain drugs, such as heroin or methamphetamine, are illegal to possess under any circumstances. Other controlled substances, such as opioids, are legal if the person holding or using them has a valid prescription from a licensed healthcare provider. Notably, while other states have legalized or decriminalized marijuana, South Carolina has not.
- Possession with intent to sell — If someone is in possession of a threshold amount of a drug, the law presumes that he or she intends to sell it. Penalties for possession with intent to sell, distribution and drug trafficking depend on the type of drug, the quantity and the defendant’s prior record.
- Manufacturing — A person who manufactures methamphetamine or cultivates marijuana can be charged with a serious felony, similar in degree to distributing or trafficking in the drug. Paraphernalia that can be used in the manufacture of a drug can be evidence of manufacturing if it is tainted with drug residue.
Additional drug offenses common to South Carolina include:
- Abusing controlled substances, such as prescription drugs
- Possessing precursor chemicals for producing drugs
- Possessing equipment related to using, cultivating or manufacturing drugs
- Money laundering
The charges that may be filed, and the punishments if you are found guilty, depend on several factors that include:
- Classification of the drug — Drugs are classified under state and federal law according to degree of addictiveness and health dangers.
- Quantity of the drug — Greater amounts draw more severe charges.
- Reason for possession — Threshold amounts trigger presumptions that the defendant had the drugs for personal use, distribution or trafficking.
- Location of the alleged offense — A drug crime committed in a protected zone, such as within one half mile of a school, draws enhanced punishment.
- Previous convictions — Charges and sentences are enhanced for repeat offenders.
Mr. Swerling has ample experience defending South Carolina clients against all types of drug charges, regardless of their degree and the severity of potential punishment.
Aggressive defense for South Carolina clients in drug cases
Jack B. Swerling vigorously defends his clients, because he knows the cost of conviction is high, including:
- Incarceration from a few days to a minimum mandatory 25-year sentence or even life
- Forfeiture of assets
- Loss of your right to own guns and to vote
- Loss of your business or professional license
Mr. Swerling will draw on his decades of experience to craft a strategy for your defense. His goal is to introduce doubt into the case, leading to a dismissal of charges or an acquittal at trial. Tactics to achieve this goal include:
- Challenging the legality of police searches that discovered drugs
- Challenging the veracity of witnesses against you
- Arguing your possession was not “knowing”
- Arguing you had no control over the drugs in question
Another criminal defense strategy involves bargaining with prosecution for reduced charges, lenient sentencing or your admission into a drug treatment program in lieu of incarceration. If the case must go to trial, Mr. Swerling fights aggressively for an acquittal. If a conviction results, he will argue assertively for lenient drug crime sentencing, including probation.
Conviction for a drug crime can continue to haunt you long after you’ve served your time. It can make it hard to find a job or get a loan for a car or a home. For all these reasons it is critically important that you call Mr. Swerling immediately after your arrest so that he can begin fighting for your future.
Contact an experience South Carolina drug crimes attorney to represent you
Jack B. Swerling, Attorney at Law, in Columbia believes that everyone accused of a drug crime has the right to a strong and effective defense. Call him at 800-701-0599 or contact him online for a consultation.