If you follow AMC’s fictional drama Breaking Bad, then you know how methamphetamine ruined the characters’ lives. And you don’t have to be a drug kingpin for methamphetamine to seriously damage yours. Not only does the production, use and distribution of meth put your freedom at risk, getting caught puts your employment, finances and good name in jeopardy.
And that’s no fiction.
If convicted of possession of methamphetamine in SC, the consequences will depend on a few factors:
- The amount of methamphetamine you were holding
- Whether you have prior drug convictions
- What you planned to do with the drug
But just because you’re arrested, that does not mean you will be convicted. The prosecutor must prove either “actual possession” or “constructive possession.”
What’s the difference? If you have drugs on your person (say in your hand or in a pocket of your clothing), then you could be charged with actual possession. If methamphetamine is found in a space you control, such as your vehicle, apartment or storage unit, that is constructive possession. This is also the case if you are a passenger in a vehicle.
To get the best possible outcome, you need the help of a drug charge lawyer like Webb Charpia who will work to protect your rights.
Here are what the fines and penalties look like based on the charge:
For a first offense, possession of a gram or less of methamphetamine is a misdemeanor in SC.
If convicted, the charge could land you up to three years in jail and $5,000 in fines.
Subsequent convictions are felonies and can cost even more money and significantly more jail time — up to 10 years on a third offense.
Methamphetamine 1st Offense: 0-3 years and/or $0-5,000
Methamphetamine 2nd Offense: 0-5 years and/or $0-7,500
Methamphetamine 3rd Offense: 0-10 years and/or $0-12,500
Intent to distribute
When you possess methamphetamine for the purpose of giving or selling it to others, that crime is called “possession with intent to distribute,” also known as PWID. It is a felony and carries even stiffer penalties than just possession.
The jail sentences and fines start big with the first offense and get tougher as a person racks up additional or future convictions:
Methamphetamine 1st Offense: 0-15 years and/or $0-25,000
Methamphetamine 2nd Offense: 5-30 years and/or $0-50,000
Methamphetamine 3rd Offense: 10-30 years and/or $0-50,000
Trafficking is an even more serious crime than possession with intent to distribute. A person commits trafficking of methamphetamine when selling, manufacturing, distributing, purchasing or bringing into the state 10 grams or more.
For trafficking of 10 grams to less than 28 grams, the following penalties apply in SC:
Methamphetamine 1st Offense: 3-10 years with no suspended sentence or probation and $25,000
Methamphetamine 2nd Offense: 5-30 years with no suspended sentence or probation and $50,000
Methamphetamine 3rd Offense: 25-30 years with no suspended sentence or probation and $50,000
Two things make these punishments more serious. First, no part of the jail sentence may be suspended or be served on probation. Second, a judge must order both jail time and a fine. For larger amounts of methamphetamine, the penalties are even greater.
What can I do now?
If you’ve been charged with a drug crime in the Charleston, South Carolina area, you need representation from an attorney experienced in handling drug cases. You need someone on your side to fight for the best possible results to your case.
And if you’re like many who’ve been in a similar situation, you probably have a ton of questions. Maybe you’re wondering what to do if the drugs weren’t yours, or how a felony conviction can impact your life. We can answer these and other questions with just a simple conversation.
So don’t wait another minute, especially with your freedom on the line. Give us a call at (843) 261-7026, or complete this online form for a free, no-obligation consultation.