Strategic Drug Trafficking & Sales Defense Lawyer
Protecting your rights when facing drug charges in Columbia and Charleston
Here in South Carolina, drug trafficking and sales is an extremely serious drug offense that brings serious penalties with conviction. Unfortunately, the full definition of trafficking can be difficult to understand. When many people think of drug trafficking, they imagine transporting a large amount of drugs over state lines with the intent to sell and distribute.
While this is certainly true in some cases, trafficking can include a wide variety of actions that you may not intend or believe to be a trafficking crime. However, the potential penalties for a drug trafficking conviction are much more severe than simple drug possession – a felony conviction on your record will affect you for the rest of your life, stripping you of many of your rights, including the right to own a firearm.
At The Law Offices of A. Randolph Hough, P.A., we understand the implications of a drug trafficking charge. You need the strongest defense possible in order to avoid jail time and a permanent criminal record. Attorney Hough’s previous experience as a prosecutor gives him the unique perspective you need for a head start and defensive advantage with your case. Call our drug crime defense attorney today. We have convenient locations in Columbia and Charleston.
“Remember, an arrest is not a conviction.” - Attorney Hough
What is drug trafficking?
Drug trafficking laws are laid out under South Carolina Code § 44-53-370(e). It’s important to understand exactly what trafficking is, as well as the possible penalties if you find yourself arrested and charged with this offense.
You can be arrested and charged with drug trafficking if you’re in possession of over a certain amount (or weight) of illegal drugs. Contrary to what most people think, you don’t need to be transporting drugs anywhere to be charged with trafficking. You only need to be in possession of an amount that takes the offense from a minor drug charge to trafficking. In fact, you don’t even have to have the intent to sell, distribute, or transport the drugs to be arrested.
According to state law, an individual can be charged with drug trafficking if he or she is found with drugs either at or over the following amounts:
- 10 pounds of marijuana
- 10 grams of cocaine or cocaine mixture
- 10 grams of methamphetamine
- 15 grams of methaqualone
- 100 tablets or more of LSD
- 100 tablets or more of MDMA or ecstasy
- 1 gram or more of flunitrazepam (Rohypnol)
- 50 milliliters or more of gamma hydroxybutyric acid (GHB)
Illegal possession of a lesser amount of drugs is still a crime, but a lesser charge than drug trafficking. If you’re facing drug trafficking charges or believe you may be under investigation, call Attorney Hough for immediate assistance and legal protection.
Why am I being charged with trafficking when I never sold or distributed drugs?
Although it might sound unbelievable, you can be charged and convicted with trafficking and distribution (sales) merely because of the weight of the drugs you’re charged with possessing. Simply put, the way the law is written, it assumes you’re a drug dealer even when you’re not. At The Law Offices of A. Randolph Hough, P.A., however, we believe you are innocent until proven guilty.
Another way the system works against you is that you can even be charged with trafficking if you have a smaller amount of drugs, but also possess drug paraphernalia like scales, baggies, or other items associated with drug distribution. Attorney Hough works to show the prosecution that you had no intent to distribute, negotiating to have the charges against you minimized as much as possible.
Is it possible to beat a SC drug trafficking charge?
With aggressive and timely legal help, it’s certainly possible to launch a successful defense against a drug trafficking charge. When we take your case, we thoroughly investigate every aspect of your arrest. Often, in their zeal to prosecute drug trafficking cases, authorities may violate your constitutional rights. For example, if they did not follow proper procedure in stopping your vehicle or searching your residence, the evidence may be inadmissible in court.
As a former prosecutor, Attorney Hough knows what questions to ask to challenge the prosecution’s case. We’re prepared to handle any drug trafficking charges, including the following controlled substances:
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When does drug trafficking become a federal charge?
If you’re charged with a drug crime, you may believe that the state will be handling your case. However, this isn’t always true and, depending on the circumstances of your arrest, you could actually be charged with a federal crime. This makes the charges and potential penalties even more serious, as the U.S. Attorney’s office is prosecuting. Typically, the federal government gets involved when there are very large amounts of drugs, guns, or cash seized by local authorities, who then turn it over to the feds.
The government’s current crackdown on drug trafficking – especially opioids – means they are harshly prosecuting these offenses and penalties can be severe. A federal trafficking conviction can bring mandatory minimum prison sentences as well as a variety of other charges, including conspiracy, money laundering, or RICO.
For example, an individual convicted of possession of 100 grams or more of heroin in federal court may face between five to 40 years in prison and up to five million in fines. Prison time can be increased at the discretion of the court if he or she had a weapon, were a repeat offender, or injured another person while committing the offense.
It’s vital to have experienced defense if you’ve been charged with – or believe you’re being investigated for – a federal drug crime. Attorney Hough’s previous experience handling complex federal drug charges as a Special Assistant United States Attorney gives him the inside perspective you need.
Experienced representation for SC drug trafficking and sales charges
The consequences of a drug trafficking conviction are severe and long-lasting. They can include lengthy prison sentences, asset forfeiture, and a permanent criminal record. If you’ve been accused of trafficking, you need aggressive defense to help avoid these stiff penalties and protect your constitutional rights – as well as your freedom. The Law Offices of A. Randolph Hough, P.A. handles local and federal charge throughout the state. To schedule a free consultation at one of our offices in Columbia or Charleston, please call 803-771-4119 or fill out our contact form.