John D. Newkirk represents individuals who have been charged with all types of drug offenses. A drug crime conviction, no matter how minor, can result in large fines and jail time. Many drug crimes carry mandatory prison time. Even a minor drug charge can have a permanent impact on an individual's future and current employment and can negatively impact an individual's educational opportunities.
Experienced lawyer for drug charges
John D. Newkirk is a former drug prosecutor who has prosecuted all types of illegal drug cases. Because he once worked as an assistant solicitor in Greenville County, he is well versed in how the police build their cases and how prosecutors try their cases. For over 10 years he has been working as a criminal defense attorney defending people who have been charged with drug crimes in Greenville County and throughout the Upstate of South Carolina.
As a drug defense attorney, John D. Newkirk has handled all types of drug charges, including: possession, possession with the intent to distribute, distribution, manufacturing, trafficking, obtaining prescription medication by fraud, and large scale drug conspiracy cases. John is experienced in and knowledgeable about all aspects of drug cases, including: traffic stops, interdiction, K-9 alerts, prescription drug diversion, search warrants, controlled buys, controlled deliveries, the use of confidential informants, clandestine methamphetamine labs, and illegal marijuana grows.
John D. Newkirk is prepared to aggressively defend you in your drug case. John will thoroughly investigate your case, identifying all police mistakes and violations of your constitutional rights. After listening to your concerns and expectations, he will formulate a plan with the goal of obtaining the best possible result in your particular case.
What are the consequences of being convicted of a drug crime?
Because there are so many types of drug offenses in South Carolina, the direct consequences of being convicted of a drug crime varies greatly depending on what you have been charged with. For example, a first offense Simple Possession of Marijuana conviction carries a fine of up to $500.00 or up to 30 days in jail. On the opposite end of the scale, a first offense conviction for Trafficking over 100 grams, but less than 200 grams, of Methamphetamine carries a mandatory sentence of 25 years incarceration and a $50,000 fine.
Drug crime convictions have consequences beyond the criminal penalty. Being convicted of a drug crime may affect your ability to obtain scholarships and financial aid for college, and may affect your future employment opportunities. Drug crimes can also be enhanced, much like DUI offenses; a 2nd or 3rd offense drug crime carries a greater sentence than a 1st offense drug crime.
What is a conditional discharge?
A conditional discharge may be available for an individual who is facing his or her first offense drug charge. A conditional discharge is only available for a possession level drug offense and an individual can only use a conditional discharge once in their lifetime. A conditional discharge is available for both Magistrate level drug charges and General Sessions level drug charges.
If the prosecutor and the Judge agree to a conditional discharge in your case, you enter a guilty plea, but the recording of the guilty plea is deferred upon you meeting certain conditions. If it is a General Sessions drug charge, you will be monitored by a probation agent for a period of time and the conditions will generally include the following: random drug screens, drug counseling, and community service. The specific requirements of your conditional discharge are within the discretion of the Judge. You are also required to be on good behavior during the conditional discharge period, which means you cannot be arrested for a new criminal charge during the conditional discharge period. The length of the conditional discharge is within the discretion of the Judge.
In Magistrate Court, you may have the same conditions: random drug screens, drug counseling, and community service. You will also be required to be on good behavior during the conditional discharge period. The primary difference is the conditional discharge period is only for 6 months and you will not be monitored by a probation agent.
If you successfully complete the program, the charge is dismissed. If you do not successfully complete the program, you go back in front of the Judge for sentencing and the charge is recorded as a conviction.
Types of drug charges
In South Carolina, possessing illegal drugs can result in a variety of charges. Experienced drug defense lawyer John Newkirk represents clients with drug charges relating to:
Simple Possession of Marijuana
Possession with the Intent to Distribute (PWID, PWITD)
Search and Seizure
Interstate Traffic Stops
Obtaining Controlled Substances by Fraud