Drug charges can be extremely serious in the state of South Carolina and can come with tough penalties. Individuals that face drug charges may not fully understand the process or their rights, but these rights exist and need protecting. Protecting rights effectively can be the difference between a serious penalty and an acquittal.
Recently in Columbia, South Carolina, five individuals were brought to court on federal drug and firearm charges. Those individuals are being charged with conspiracy to possess and distribute methamphetamine. A conviction for these individuals could result in ten years to life imprisonment.
When an individual faces charges in criminal court, authorities must prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt. This standard means that the prosecution has the burden of proof to demonstrate that the crime occurred. The defendant does not have to take the stand or put on any case at all if he or she chooses not to because he or she is presumed innocent.
As the prosecution fulfills their burden, they use police work that was conducted during the investigation. In order to be used in court, that police work must be carried out in a proper fashion. If an officer obtained drugs by forcing entry into a safe without a search warrant, for example, the evidence seized may not be used in court.
A defense attorney is required to know and understand the law and make sure that the police and prosecution have done their jobs by not cutting corners. Defense attorneys are also important to ensuring that the trial process is fair and that no legal option is ignored. Individuals facing drug charges in the state of South Carolina can fully assess their case and options by discussing their situation with an experienced legal professional.
Source: The Island Packet, "Five face federal court charges after seizure of 26 pounds of meth, 5 firearms," Harrison Cahill, June 26, 2014