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What are the punishments related to a cocaine-related drug crime?

A large portion of cocaine-related arrests in South Carolina happen after police perform a routine traffic stop. During a traffic stop, if police have reason to suspect a driver may have contraband materials inside his or her automobile, they can order a search of the car. This is when authorities might discover drugs like cocaine inside the vehicle.

Individuals who are arrested and accused of cocaine possession, may wish to familiarize themselves with the law and potential punishments associated with this drug crime.

Cocaine is as a Schedule 1 narcotic in South Carolina. If a person is convicted of being in possession of under 10 grams of cocaine, they could be punished with a fine of $5,000 and/or as many as two years in jail. A second cocaine possession offense is a felony with the possibility of five years in jail and/or a $5,000 fine. As for the third cocaine possession offense, the punishment is a $10,000 and/or five years in jail.

The above figures relate to powder cocaine, not crack cocaine, which has different and more severe punishments associated with it. Less than a gram of crack cocaine is considered a felony with the potential for a $5,000 fine and five years in jail. A second offense related to crack could result in a $10,000 fine and 10 years in jail. Finally, a third crack offense could result in 10 to 15 years in jail and a $15,000 fine.

No one in South Carolina plans on getting arrested on narcotics charges, but in the event that such an arrest and charges occur, accused individuals can seek assistance from an experienced criminal defense attorney. Indeed, everyone accused of a crime will have the right to an attorney – even those who cannot afford private legal counsel will have a free public defender provided to them by the court. That said, many individuals may prefer to hire private legal counsel to represent them in their defense.

Source: FindLaw, "South Carolina cocaine laws" accessed Jan. 21, 2015

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