Brian P. Johnson, Esq. – Criminal Defense Attorney located in Greenville, South Carolina – Handling Drug Charges Throughout Upstate South CarolinaDrug Crime Defense

Many drug-related crimes carry extremely heavy jail sentences and fines. If you are ever convicted of a drug crime, that conviction will stay on your record for the rest of your life and could affect your ability to get a job, a loan, or even an apartment. For this reason, any time you’re facing drug crime charges or have been arrested for drug offenses, it’s important that you take the time to consult with a criminal defense lawyer who can give you a better understanding of the charges you are facing, your constitutional rights, and your legal options.


There are essentially three types of drug crimes: Possession, Distribution, and Trafficking.  The amount of drugs that you are found with typically determines the type of charge you receive. For example, if you are found with less than one gram of cocaine, you are likely to be charged with possession. If you are found with more than one gram of cocaine, you are likely to be charged with distribution, whereas having in excess of ten grams will likely lead to a trafficking charge.

However, there are some key points to note here. If you are caught in the act of distributing cocaine, you can be charged with distribution (instead of possession), even if it was less than one gram.  Furthermore, you can be charged with distribution if it can be reasonably assumed that your intent is to sell the drugs. However, in order to find you guilty of the charge, it must be proven that you were actually selling the drugs.  If you are caught with greater than ten grams, you will receive a trafficking charge, regardless of your intention. In other words, you can be charged and found guilty of trafficking, even if the drugs were for your own personal use.


The penalty for these three drug charges is mandated by the South Carolina Legislature, and each charge carries a corresponding minimum and maximum sentence. For example, for cocaine, first offense possession carries a 0-3 year sentence, first offense distribution carries a 0-15 year sentence, and first offense trafficking carries a minimum of 3 years.


Manufacturing drugs is covered in the same statute as Distribution; thus, it is treated similarly. Regardless of the intended end use for the drugs, if you are caught in the act of making drugs, you can be charged with manufacturing. For example, if you are caught rendering crack cocaine for your own personal use, you will still be charged with manufacturing.

There is a separate statute that addresses manufacturing Methamphetamine.  This statute is by design inclusive of any and everything related to the drug.  You can be charged with manufacturing methamphetamine for simply purchasing a supply for the actual manufacturer. For example, you can be charged with manufacturing for buying Sudafed and passing it off to someone who uses it to make methamphetamine. It is irrelevant whether you have any other involvement in the process whatsoever.


It is important to understand that drug charges do accrue, so having a previous charge on your record will impact any subsequent, unrelated charges. For example, for cocaine, a second offense of possession carries a 0-5 sentence, a second offense distribution carries a 5-30 year sentence, and second offense of trafficking carries a minimum of 5 years.  Furthermore, a first offense of distribution is a nonviolent crime, whereas a second offense of distribution is considered a violent crime.  This distinction is important to note because it affects the amount of your sentence you must serve before being eligible for parole.


It is crucial that you speak with an attorney after you have been charged with a drug crime, even for a minor charge like possession of marijuana.  We can help you understand and navigate these complexities and fight to achieve the best possible outcome for your unique situation.

If you’ve been charged with a drug offense, contact The Law Office of Brian P. Johnson, LLC. Depending on the circumstances of your situation, we may be able to help you obtain a favorable plea deal, help you prove your innocence, or even get the charges against you dropped completely. The key is to act quickly, so call today.

In order to be flexible and convenient, we have open office hours, easy appointment scheduling, and payment plans available. Call today and schedule your free and confidential consultation.  Our law office focuses on those accused of crimes across Upstate, South Carolina, including: Greenville, Spartanburg, Anderson, Pickens, Laurens, and Oconee counties.

Disclaimer:  this information should not be construed to be formal legal advice.