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An arrest doesn’t mean you’re guilty.

Being charged with possession can be embarrassing, time consuming and can threaten your future. However, you have rights and we’ll make sure they’re represented vigorously.

In South Carolina, controlled dangerous substances (CDS) are divided into categories referred to as “schedules.” The type and quantity of the substance an individual is in possession of dictates the penalties imposed by the state.

For example, with marijuana, which is more widespread than ever because of its legal status in a handful of states, a person unlawfully possessing under one ounce of the substance is deemed to have committed a misdemeanor, punishable by jail time and/or a fine. In most situations, first-time offenders can avoid jail time. Fines and potential jail time, however, increase with each subsequent charge.

If an individual is found in possession of an ounce of marijuana or more, the state presumes that person is trafficking the substance.

The punishments are more substantial, as the charge is considered a felony. Cocaine, heroin and most prescription drugs for which an individual does not have a prescription are treated differently from marijuana — statutory fines and jail time are more severe.

Possession of paraphernalia related to the use of controlled substances, such as bongs and pipes, are charged as civil offenses, and are generally punishable with fines. Regardless, anyone accused in South Carolina of possessing marijuana, cocaine or any other controlled substance or paraphernalia related to its use is presumed innocent and is entitled to a trial by jury.

You are not guilty merely because you were arrested.

The arresting entity has the burden to prove that you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, which is a high standard. You have rights and — from day one — I’ll make sure they’re not ignored, dismissed or compromised.

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