When it comes to cocaine use and trafficking, South Carolina may not be the first state that comes to mind. However, it’s still a serious problem in the state, so authorities have taken a hard stance against it.
If you are caught with cocaine, the potential penalties you face are severe. Understanding these penalties will help you know what to expect if you are arrested for cocaine possession, distribution or trafficking.
Penalties for possessing cocaine
In South Carolina, possession of 10 grams of cocaine results in misdemeanor charges that carry fines of up to $5,000 and up to two years in prison if convicted. Each subsequent offense and conviction come with more serious fines and jail time.
Additionally, if you are caught with more than 10 grams of cocaine in your possession, it is no longer charged as “possession.” Instead, you will face “intent to sell or distribute charges.”
Penalties for selling cocaine
If you are caught selling cocaine, the potential penalties for a conviction include fines of up to $25,000 and up to 15 years in jail. The penalties are more severe for subsequent offenses and if you are caught selling the drug within the vicinity of a school.
It is important to understand that cocaine is not only illegal on a state level. It is also illegal federally. That means your case could end up in federal court, where the penalties can be even more serious than state law permits.
Due to how serious cocaine-related charges can be, you must take steps to know and protect your rights. You can learn more by contacting an experienced criminal defense attorney, who can answer any other questions you have.