What Is The General Timeline Of A Drug Case In South Carolina?
Every case is different, so each case will have its own timeline. Generally speaking, cases involving smaller weights and less serious drugs can be resolved in as little as two weeks. Cases involving more serious substances and higher weights can easily take two years (sometimes even longer) to resolve successfully and to get the client the best result possible. The most important thing to keep in mind is to hire a professional drug crime attorney in South Carolina.
Can A Passenger Receive A Drug-Related Charge If Drugs Are Found In The Vehicle?
Yes, it is possible for a passenger to receive a drug related charge if drugs are found in the vehicle. There are two types of possession in South Carolina: actual and constructive. Actual possession is when the drugs are on your person, in your pocket or in your hand. Constructive possession most often applies when drugs are found in a car or in a house. If you are not in actual possession of the drugs, then the prosecution must prove the following to show constructive possession:
- You had some control over the area in which the drugs were found. For example, the car belonged to you or the drugs were found close to you
- You knew the drugs were there.
Actual possession or constructive possession is an element of most drug crimes. For example, if you are charged with possession with intent to distribute, then the prosecution would have to prove possession in order to convict you of a crime. If you are charged with trafficking based on the weight of the drugs that are found, then possession is a major element that the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt. People often believe that if someone else takes credit for the drugs then the other person cannot be charged. This is not true. If the state cannot prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you had control and knowledge of the drugs, then you cannot be found guilty. Call now to hire a professional drug crime attorney in South Carolina.
Do Most Drug Cases Go To Trial Or Do They Settle With A Plea Agreement?
It is every defendant’s right to demand and have a jury trial. However, the overwhelming majority of criminal cases (including drug cases) never end up going all the way to a full blown trial. In some cases, the attorney may be able to persuade the prosecutor to dismiss the charges because of a lack of solid evidence. Sometimes prosecutors decide not to refile charges after a defendant prevails at a preliminary hearing. Some defendants can escape conviction through a pretrial motion like a motion to suppress evidence, but the majority of drug cases end pursuant to a plea deal of some kind.
Are There Any Alternative Programs Available For First Time Drug Offenders In Your State?
Yes, there are alternative programs available for first time drug offenders. If you are a first time offender charged with a drug crime, you may be eligible for pre-trial intervention (PTI) or a conditional discharge. For either one of these alternative programs, your attorney will need to convince the prosecutor and judge to agree. PTI is a one-time program for first time non-violent-offenders and requires the participant to complete community service, pass drug tests, attecnd any mandatory counseling sessions and comply with all other requirements of the program. PTI can take anywhere from 90 days to one year to complete.
With a conditional discharge, a judge accepts a plea of guilty but holds it in abeyance and it is not put on the books. The person will have a three to 12 month probationary period and may include certain requirements. If the defendant meets all of the requirements during the probationary period, then the conviction will be discharged and expunged off of their record. However, if the defendant fails to meet the requirements of the conditional discharge, then the guilty plea will go into effect and the judge will sentence accordingly.
What Sets You And Your Firm Apart In Handling Drug Cases Specifically?
Our law firm is led by managing partner Michael Sahn. As a former prosecutor in South Carolina for many years, Mr. Sahn is very familiar with the inner workings of the criminal justice system in South Carolina. With Mr. Sahn representing you, you will have an arsenal of experience and knowledge by your side, defending your rights and fighting to defeat or reduce the charges against you.
For more information on Timeline Of Drug Case In South Carolina, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (843) 856-2222 today