Drug crimes can be put into various categories depending the specifics of individual cases. Some of these crimes are covered under federal law, while others are considered state matters. This column will address some common drug crime types seen in South Carolina and how it is determined if state or federal laws are applied when cases goes to court.
There are at least five basic drug crimes that are most commonly seen. The first involves paraphernalia. When a person has been charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, it simply means the arresting officer found that person with drug-related equipment on his or her person. Such equipment includes bongs, syringes, pipes and rolling papers -- among various other things. Many of these cases are handled at state levels; however, the equipment type and purpose of use may qualify such cases for federal charges.
Another common drug crime is possession. Possession laws can be somewhat confusing. In order to determine if federal or state laws were broken, authorities will need to look at the drug type in one's possession as well as the amount.
Finally, manufacturing, trafficking and dealing are all considered major offenses, and those accused of such activity are most likely to deal with federal felony charges. These crimes carry some of the steepest penalties -- such as imprisonment and hefty fines. Again, the drug type and the amount in one's possession matters when determining the charge and penalty severity.
South Carolina residents who have been charged with drug crimes, whether at state or federal levels, would benefit from seeking legal assistance as soon as possible. A criminal defense attorney with the knowledge of both state and federal law regarding drug crimes can help these individuals determine the best actions to take regarding their specific cases. While fighting drug charges can be quite the challenge, with the right assistance the accused can seek to achieve the best outcome possible for his or her situation.
Source: FindLaw, "Types of Drug Crimes", Accessed on July 20, 2016