Lexington Drug Crime Attorney
Aggressive Defense for Drug Crime Charges
Being arrested for any drug related crime in South Carolina is serious
business. Many charges carry a possibility of long prison sentences and
high fines. All convictions carry the potential for a jail sentence and
a mandatory criminal record and driver's license suspension.
criminal defense attorney James Snell is experienced in representing clients charged with
drug offenses ranging from
simple possession of marijuana through drug trafficking. He has tried drug related cases in both the
magistrate court and the court of general sessions. He is also qualified
to represent those charged with
federal drug crimes. If you are serious about defending your drug charge or that of a loved
one, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney.
Possible Defenses for Your Case
There are only four ways that a drug crime case will be resolved. After
obtaining discovery and investigating your case our drug crimes attorney
will meet with you to review the possible options. The following are the
ways that one of the Lexington criminal attorneys from
Law Office of James R. Snell, Jr., LLC can help you handle your drug crime:
Dismissal by the Prosecutor
- If the prosecutor is able to determine that there is insufficient evidence
to go forward with a case, they have an obligation to dismiss the charge.
In cases where our client's innocence can be affirmatively established,
we work diligently to pursue this option for our clients. This may include
administration of a polygraph (conducted by our office), establishing
an alibi or a faulty identification. Drug cases don't go away by themselves,
however. Unless affirmative steps are taken to demonstrate the lack of
basis for a drug charge, the prosecutor will take the police reports at
their word and move forward with the case.
Our clients found accused of simple possession of marijuana and certain
other drug crimes may be eligible to have their charges dismissed through
a conditional discharge. Under this type of agreement, the defendant will
submit to regular drug testing and any other special requirements imposed
by the court. If they are successfully completed, the charges will be
dismissed and the record may be eligible for
expungement. Entrance into this program is only obtained with the specific consent
of both the prosecutor and the court.
Clients with very serious drug charges may be eligible to have their case
placed into the
pre-trial intervention program, or PTI. Pre-trial intervention is a program whereby a defendant performs
30 - 50 hours of community service, a set number of counseling sessions,
and random drug testing. At the conclusion of the program, they will have
their charges dismissed and will be eligible for their record to be expunged.
Admission in pre-trial intervention requires the specific consent of the
Drug Court Program
Clients who have a diagnosed drug addiction may be eligible to have their
cases disposed of through the drug court program. Drug court in South
Carolina is a diversion program similar to pre-trial intervention, but
much more difficult. If completed, it will result in a dismissal of the
pending charges and the defendant will be eligible to have their record
expunged. Defendants may be eligible for admission into the drug court
even for non-drug offenses if their crimes were motivated by their addiction.
Admission into the drug court program requires the specific consent of
the solicitor's office.
- Some cases are resolved through the use of a plea bargain. During this
procedure, a defendant would agree to admit guilt or responsibility in
exchange for a dismissal or reduction of the charges, or other concessions
regarding sentencing. Our founding attorney, James R. Snell, Jr., firmly
believes that the decision as to whether or not a plea bargain is entered
into should be solely his client's decision that is only made after
a complete investigation of their case. Many times the result of a plea
bargain will be a negotiated fine or probation only sentence.
- Cases which are not otherwise dismissed by the prosecution for lack of
evidence or disposed of through a diversion program or plea bargain are
set for trial. During the trial the prosecutor has to prove guilt beyond
a reasonable doubt. At this stage of the process, we will seek dismissal
of the charge, without consent of the prosecutor, on any legally available
ground including police misconduct, search warrant violations or entrapment.
Types of Drug Crimes
Drug possession is a common drug crime. It can be shown by proving that
someone had actual (in their hand or pocket for example) or constructive
(in the same room, car or location) possession of a controlled substance such as
cocaine, crack, heroin, LSD, or crank. Possession with intent to distribute (PWID)
can be shown by proving that someone had actual possession of a controlled
substance either over a quantity threshold or packaged for street sale.
For marijuana, the threshold amount is one or more ounces. For ice, crank
or crack cocaine, the threshold amount is one or more grams. For powder
cocaine the threshold amount is ten grains and for heroin, the threshold
amount is two grains.
If the threshold amount is reached, then the State may argue to the jury
that there is an inference that the defendant intended to distribute the
substances. Another common drug crime is
trafficking. It can be shown by proving possession of a controlled substance over
a quantity threshold. The underlying crime is possession and the trafficking
statutes are punitive. There is no requirement that the State prove any
intent to distribute. For
marijuana trafficking, the threshold amount is ten pounds. For ice, crank or
crack cocaine, the threshold amount is 10 grams. For powder
cocaine, the threshold amount is 10 grams, and for heroin, the threshold amount
is 4 grams. Drug distribution can be proven by proving that the defendant
delivered or transferred the controlled substance to a third person.
Aggravating Factors in a DUI Case
These cases become even more serious if the defendant has a prior record
of drug or violent offenses or if they occur within a close proximity
to a school or playground. The final drug crime we will discuss is prescription
drug possession. There are also many laws concerning the obtainment, possession
and distribution of prescription drugs. Many individuals are arrested
based on a belief that they are doctor shipping or somehow else obtained
a drug prescription or prescription drugs by fraud or deceit. If you have
been accused of any drug crime in Lexington, Columbia or a surrounding
community, it is time to discuss your case with a Lexington criminal defense lawyer.