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Facing a drug charge for cocaine in South Carolina?

Cocaine laws in South Carolina can be confusing and difficult to understand, the simplest way to break down the charges is to look at these three: possession, possession with intent to distribute (PWID), and trafficking.

Simply stated, if you've been charged with one of the above, here's what it means:

  • Possession -- You had a small amount of drugs on your person or in a place where you readily have access, such as your vehicle or apartment.
  • PWID -- You had drugs in quantities where it appears you meant to give or sell drugs to others.
  • Trafficking -- You were transporting (or helped someone transport) large quantities of drugs presumably to sell them.

What are the penalties for cocaine charges in SC?

The charts below lay out the legal penalties associated with being convicted of a cocaine charge. First, let’s look at possession and PWID charges:

Cocaine Charge
Felony or Misdemeanor
Penalty
Possession, First Offense Misdemeanor Up to 3 years in jail and/or $5,000 fine; mandatory drug treatment program may be ordered
Possession, Second Offense Felony Up to 5 years in jail and/or $7,000 fine
Possession, Third Offense Felony Up to 10 years in jail and/or $12,000 fine
PWID, First Offense Felony Up to 15 years in jail and/or $25,000 fine
PWID, Second Offense Felony 5 to 30 years in jail and/or up to $50,000 fine
PWID, Third Offense Felony 10 to 30 years in jail and/or up to $50,000 fine

If you think the penalties for possession and PWID are tough, consider the potential fines, penalties and jail time if you’re convicted of trafficking in cocaine. All trafficking in cocaine charges are felonies. Here are their penalties:

Trafficked Quantity
Offense
Penalty
10 grams to less than 28 grams First 3 to 10 years in jail and $25,000 fine
10 grams to less than 28 grams Second 5 to 30 years in jail and $50,000 fine
10 grams to less than 28 grams Third 25 to 30 years in jail and $50,000 fine
28 grams to less than 100 grams First 7 to 25 years in jail and $50,000 fine
28 grams to less than 100 grams Second 7 to 30 years in jail and $50,000 fine
28 grams to less than 100 grams Third 25 to 30 years in jail and $50,000 fine
100 grams to less than 200 grams All 25 years in jail and $50,000 fine
200 grams to less than 400 grams All 25 years in jail and $100,000 fine
400 grams or more All 25 to 30 years in jail and $200,000 fine

The penalties are probably your main concern, but there is much more to know about cocaine charges.

Common Questions About Cocaine Charges in SC

When you or someone in your family has been arrested on cocaine charges, you are bound to have countless questions about what you should do. Here are answers to some of the most common questions our clients have about cocaine charges.

Is cocaine possession a felony or a misdemeanor?

Whether a cocaine possession charge is a felony or misdemeanor depends on how many prior convictions you have. A first offense is a misdemeanor, but all further convictions are felonies.

What does trafficking mean?

Trafficking means you were caught with a large quantities of drugs in your possession. You don’t necessarily have to have the intent to distribute or transport the drugs. As long as the drugs were found in your possession and the quantity exceeds a certain amount, you can be charged with drug trafficking.

What does simple possession mean?

Simple possession means you have a small quantity of drugs that appear to be for your own use. You do not intend to give or sell any of the drugs to anyone else.

Get help with your SC drug charges

If you have been arrested and charged with a drug crime in South Carolina, you need a law firm that has experience representing people charged with drug offenses. Call 803-708-6767 to discuss your legal situation with one of our SC criminal defense attorneys.‚Äč

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Barney Giese

Keith Giese