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Simple Possession vs. Possession with Intent in South Carolina

Simple Possession vs. Possession with Intent in South Carolina

There are two types of drug possession charges in South Carolina: simple possession and possession with intent to distribute (PWID). While both charges involve carrying, holding, or knowing the location of a controlled substance, a person is often charged with possession with intent if the amount of drugs in question is more than the “threshold weight.” 

The judge will generally charge someone with possession with intent to distribute in South Carolina if the defendant possessed more than the following amounts of drugs: 

  • One gram of cocaine 

  • Two grains of heroin 

  • Four grains of morphine or opium 

  • 15 capsules of MDMA 

  • 20 milliliters or milligrams of GHB 

  • 50 micrograms of LSD 

However, the amount of drugs alone may not be enough evidence for the prosecution to secure a PWID conviction. The presence of scales, baggies or other packaging, stacks of cash, and other “sales paraphernalia” can be used as evidence to prove intent to distribute. 

If you are charged with PWID, a conviction will result in the same penalties as if you had allegedly sold the drugs. Although a first offense for simple possession involving a Schedule I or II narcotic is a misdemeanor that carries a maximum jail term of two (2) years and a fine of up to $5,000, while a first offense for PWID is a felony that is punishable by imprisonment for up to five (5) years and a maximum fine of $5,000. 

Additionally, having a felony conviction on your record can make it extremely difficult to find employment, apply for college, and take advantage of other opportunities in life. You also lose your gun and voting rights. 

If you or a loved one has been charged with a drug crime in Lexington or within the surrounding area, contact the Law Office of James R. Snell, Jr., LLC today at (803) 359-3301 for a free consultation. Helping clients facing serious criminal charges since 2004. 


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