Millions of Americans sit in jail as a result of drug convictions. Most of these crimes were non-violent. The causes of mass incarceration in this country are many, but the War on Drugs is undeniably a significant factor.
Fortunately, attitudes toward drug crimes in the US are slowly evolving, and Bill Nettles has played a role in that change. If you've been charged with a drug crime in South Carolina, you cannot find a better, more qualified defense attorney than Mr. Nettles.
We've seen how a drug conviction can shatter a promising life. Many of those charged with drug crimes don't have the advantage of skilled legal representation. With Bill Nettles, you'll be in good hands.
If you've been accused of a drug crime in South Carolina and need an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side, please call the Law Office of Bill Nettles today at (803) 828-6126.
Examples of Drug Crimes
"Drug crimes" is obviously a broad term, and there are a wide range of case types that fall under that particular umbrella. We use the term "drug crime" to refer to any criminal violation involving the possession, distribution or other illegal interaction with an intoxicating substance.
Examples of drug crimes Bill Nettles has handled include:
- Driving under the influence
- Intent to distribute
- Transportation across state lines
- Violation of miscellaneous marijuana and paraphernalia laws
Obviously, this is not an exhaustive list of potential drug crimes. But it does provide a clear sense of what you might be facing when you're charged with one of these crimes.
In 2010, South Carolina passed a sentencing reform law. Among other things, it eliminated mandatory minimums for first-time drug possession charges and the discrepancy in sentencing between crack and powder cocaine.
This was a welcome development. With the state's prisons over-crowded and the costs of incarcerating an ever-growing prison population eating a larger portion of the state's budgets, such reforms were necessary. Judges now have a bit more flexibility in sentencing those convicted of a drug crime.
The sentence you could be facing will depend on a number of factors, including:
- The specific drug in question
- Your past criminal record (judges don't like kindly on repeat offenders)
- The nature of the crime- possession is less serious than distribution
You can find the complete South Carolina sentencing statute for drug offenses at the state's legislative website here.
Sentences obviously range in severity. A first-time simple possession charge for marijuana, for instance, carries with it a jail sentence of between 0 and 30 days or a fine between $100 and $200.
On the other hand, a first-time cocaine possession charge has a maximum jail sentence of three years.
Any sort of trafficking charge carries with it a significant jail sentence.
Of course, those are state laws. The federal government has its own laws concerning drug trafficking and distribution. If you're charged with a federal crime, it's absolutely crucial you find an attorney with ample experience in the federal system.
Bill Nettles' Unique Experience with Drug Crimes
Between 2010 and 2015, Bill Nettles served as the US Attorney for the District of South Carolina. When he took over the position, much of his office's energy was directed at drug crimes, and a lot of that energy was expended in an attempt to incarcerate those who were arrested for these crimes.
Mr. Nettles dramatically changed the office's priorities and goals. First, by greatly enhancing the office's public corruption and graft unit. But he also changed how the US Attorney's office handled low-level drug crimes.
This new emphasis garnered positive coverage from the national media; you can read an excellent piece on these changes at The Huffington Post.
Mr. Nettles' Drug Market Intervention Initiative worked with local police forces, communities and families to find non-incarceration solutions when neighbors reported low-level drug dealers in their areas. Local authorities would stage "interventions" with the dealers, make clear that a second offense would be unacceptable, then help them find legitimate employment.
All of this shows the extent to which Bill Nettles understands just how devastating a drug conviction can be. A conviction makes it difficult if not impossible to acquire public housing or federal student loans. And a single conviction makes any subsequent conviction all the more devastating, as sentences increase for repeat offenders.
The Value of Our Criminal Defense Attorney
It's difficult to overstate the importance of a skilled, experienced defense attorney when you're accused of a drug crime. Many defendants don't have access to high-quality legal representation. They're encouraged to accept plea bargains that aren't in their best interests, all because they have no other options.
Mr. Nettles won't let that happen. There are no guarantees in the criminal justice system, but it's an undeniable fact that good legal representation makes a huge difference in a criminal case. Mr. Nettles will ensure your rights are protected. He won't let you be bullied or intimidated.
If you need a criminal defense lawyer with ample, unique experience in drug cases in the state of South Carolina, please call the Law Office of Bill Nettles today at (803) 828-6126. We're located in Columbia, but we handle cases in Charleston, Greenville and every other South Carolina community.