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Advocacy for Drug Crime Charges in Lexington

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. As a drug crime defense attorney James Snell is experienced in representing clients charged with drug offenses ranging from simple possession of marijuana through 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. Even if you feel that your case shouldn't be that serious because the drugs belonged to someone else, or you have no prior criminal record, that doesn't mean that the case won't be taken seriously by the prosecutor and judge. Even innocent people or those without criminal histories can face substantial punishment.


If you believe that we can be of help, the first step for you to take is to contact our office for a confidential consultation. You can submit a contact form online or call the office directly at (888) 301-6004.


Possible Defenses for Your Case

A drug charge can be resolved in several possible ways. Some of the most common include:

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.

Other times drug charges will be dismissed if the arrest was the result of an improper or illegal search committed by the police. This could be a traffic stop resulting in a nonconsensual search, or a warrantless search of a home or place of business.

Drug cases don't go away on their own. 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.

Diversion Programs: Our clients charged with Simple Possession of Marijuana and certain other possession charges 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.

Other clients with even more 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 Solicitor's Office.

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 tougher. It is a long and difficult program. 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.

Plea Agreement: 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. Mr. Snell 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 result in only a small fine, or no-jail sentence.

Contested Trial: Cases that 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.

What Are the Types of Drug Crimes?

Below is a brief description of some of the more common South Carolina drug crimes:

Drug Possession - Drug Possession in South Carolina 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 Marijuana, Cocaine, Crack, Heroin, LSD or Crank.

The most common drug charge in South Carolina is Simple Possession of Marijuana. These cases are prosecuted in magistrate or municipal court, normally after an officer has indicated charges on a blue traffic ticket. Possession crimes related to other drugs are brought in the Court of General Sessions.

Possession with Intent to Distribute (PWID): Possession with Intent to Distribute (PWID) in South Carolina can be shown by proving that someone had Possession (as described above) 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.
  • 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.

Drug Trafficking: Drug Trafficking in South Carolina can be shown by proving Possession (as described above) of a controlled substance over a quantity threshold. The underlying crime is Possession, and the trafficking statutes are punitive only. 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.
  • For heroin, the threshold amount is 4 grams.

Drug Distribution: Distribution in South Carolina can be shown by proving the defendant delivered or transferred the controlled substance to a third person. 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.

Federal Drug Conspiracy: Federal drug charges are often brought as a conspiracy charge. Unlike state prosecutions, which are normally made as a result of drug the defendant is actually caught with, federal conspiracy cases are based on the defendant’s role in a drug distribution network. Federal cases are frequently based on the cooperation of other defendants, confidential informants, and the results of wiretapping or other surveillance techniques.

Prescription Drug Possession: South Carolina also has many laws concerning the obtainment, possession and distribution of prescription drugs. Many individuals are arrested based on a belief that they are "Doctor Shopping" or somehow else obtained a Drug Prescription or Prescription Drugs by fraud or deceit.

General Sessions Drug Crimes Defense: Outside of Simple Possession of Marijuana, South Carolina drug charges are prosecuted in General Sessions. There is a ten-day time-frame after an arrest to request a preliminary hearing. This is an opportunity for us to question the police officer regarding the circumstances of your charge. It’s important to retain a lawyer as soon as possible after an arrest so that the preliminary hearing can be timely requested.

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 drug lawyer. Contact us today.

Former Client Experiences

  • “Thank you so much for handling my case for me. Since the first moment I talked with you I felt a sense of relief. I knew I had found a true professional, how relieved I was every step of the way. I will never forget your help.”

    Former Client

  • “You absolutely exceeded every possible expectation I had. I'm simply amazed at how quickly you got results for me. I am beyond happy that I hired you.”

    Former Client

  • “They make sure you're safe, secure, and make you feel like family”

    John T.

  • “I want to thank you for how you handled my son's case. We were very concerned with whether or not his charges would effect his future. After meeting with you we knew that we could trust you to advise us in his best interests. I cannot express how grateful ”

    Former Client

  • “Would definitely recommend this law firm!”

    Brittany S.

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  • South Carolina Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
  • Top 100 Trial Lawyers - The National Trial Lawyers
  • 10.0 Superb Avvo Rating - Top Attorney DUI

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