Charleston, SC Drug Crimes Defense Lawyer
Charleston defense lawyer Grant B. Smaldone defends all types of drug cases, including:
- Simple possession marijuana;
- Possession with Intent to Distribute;
- Drug Distribution;
- Drug Manufacturing;
- Drug Trafficking; and
- Civil Asset Forfeiture.
A broad range of drugs is illegal under South Carolina law – the most common offenses that we see involve:
- LSD and other hallucinogens; and
- Prescription medications.
Defending Drug Crimes in SC
There is also a broad range of defenses to drug crimes in South Carolina – your defenses will depend on the facts of your case including the prosecution’s evidence, witness interviews, audio or video evidence, and what we discover in our own investigation of your case. Some common examples include:
Fourth Amendment search and seizure violations may result in suppression of key evidence in your case.
Sometimes, drug distribution cases turn out to be a matter of mistaken identity.
If you were charged with possession, possession with intent to distribute, or trafficking drugs based on “constructive possession,” the state will have to prove: 1) that you had “dominion and control” over the area where the drugs were found, and 2) that you knew the drugs were there. “Mere presence” at the scene of a crime is not enough for a conviction.
Chain of custody issues can result in suppression of drugs and drug analysis results at trial.
Often, a possession with intent to distribute charge based on the drug weight is actually a simple possession charge – regardless of the weight, if you did not intend to distribute the drugs and they were for personal use, you are not guilty of possession with intent to distribute. The prosecutor can reduce the charge, or the jury can find you guilty of the lesser included offense of simple possession at trial.
Although two or more people can be found guilty of possession of the same drugs, sometimes prosecutors will dismiss a co-defendant’s case once someone has taken responsibility or claimed the drugs.
In other cases, pretrial diversion programs can be an alternate solution that keeps your record clean, including conditional discharges for minor drug offenses or PTI (pre-trial intervention), either of which results in your charges being dismissed and expunged.
Charleston, SC Drug Court
In some cases, Charleston’s drug court is the right answer.
It’s an intensive program that takes a minimum of 15 months to complete and requires regular reporting, substance abuse treatment, self-help meetings, drug tests, fees, and regular employment or enrollment in school.
When you enter the drug court program, you plead guilty to your charges. You are sentenced to time in prison. Then, your sentence is “held in abeyance” until you either complete the drug court program or fail to finish it. If you complete the program, your case is reopened, dismissed, and expunged. If you do not finish the program, you are sent to prison to serve your sentence.
Not everyone who wants to get into drug court is allowed – the solicitor and any alleged victims in your case must agree beforehand. Also, not everyone who can get into drug court should – if you are not likely to finish the program and if you had defenses to your charges, you may be setting yourself up to be sent to prison.
Talk to your criminal defense lawyer about the strength of the evidence against you, what your options are, and your likelihood of completing the program before making any decisions about drug court.
Drug Crimes Defense Attorney in Charleston, SC
If you have been charged with drug possession, drug distribution, or drug trafficking in the Charleston, SC area, call Grant B. Smaldone now at (843) 808-2100 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation.