Possession, PWID, and Trafficking: Drug Crimes in South Carolina


Generally speaking, there are three types of drug crimes in South Carolina; possession, possession with intent to distribute, and trafficking. This post will discuss the differences. Possession is the least serious, possession with intent to distribute (PWID) is a felony, and trafficking is also a felony.


Possession comes in many forms; simple possession of marijuana, possession of methamphetamine, possession of cocaine, possession of MDMA, possession of schedule 1 narcotics, and possession of controlled substances are all examples. Possession is the lowest form of a drug crime. Most first offenses of possession are misdemeanors in South Carolina.

Possession can be proven in two forms; actual and constructive. Actual possession is having the drug on your person or in your hand. Constructive possession is a little trickier: do you have domain and control over the substance. Constructive cases tend to come up in cases where a drug is found in a common area of a house or in a car. The State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a person intended to possess the controlled substance. Mere presence isn’t enough. However, multiple people can have possession of the same drug.

At Cole Law Firm we have experience dealing with possession cases of all sorts. It’s important to understand what the possible penalties are and whether you were charged wit the correct offense. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.

Possession with Intent to Distribute (PWID)

PWID comes in many forms too; marijuana, cocaine, meth, heroin, MDMA, narcotics and so on. The difference is the intent to distribute. PWID is a felony in South Carolina and carries serious penalties. If enhanced to a second or third offense, many carry mandatory jail time. (Example: PWID Meth 2nd offense carries a 5-year mandatory minimum)

PWID can be proven by three general methods: Inference weight, sale of drug to another, or packaging and scales.

Inference weight form meth and cocaine allows PWID to be charged in any case where the meth, cocaine, or heroin weighs more than 1 gram. The jury will be permitted to presume that the substance was for distribution. Now this presumption doesn’t require that the jury convict of PWID. Many heavy users can go through a gram or two in a week of the substance. Attorney’s at Cole Law firm regularly handle these sorts of cases and have obtained reductions to Possession charges. But it’s important to have an experienced attorney who understands what the law requires PWID to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

Sale to another simply requires that the person have sold it to another person. The total amount or weight of the drug doesn’t matter. The sale is all that matters. Usually this is done by a sale to a confidential informant.

Packaging and scales allows a jury to infer that the drugs were destined for distribution and not for personal use. Usually this will be proven by multiple individual baggies or having multiple scales to weigh the drugs. Other factors could be the proximity of large amounts of cash or proximity to weapons.


Trafficking in cocaine, marijuana, heroin, or meth is the most serious of the drug offenses in South Carolina. Trafficking carries mandatory jail time and usually is established by the weight of the drug. Once a certain weight is established, the elements for trafficking can be met. Personal use is no defense once a weight is established.



Being charged with a drug crime in South Carolina is a serious matter. It’s important that you consult with an experienced criminal defense firm.

At Cole Law Firm we have experience from handling Simple Possession of Marijuana to Trafficking. We work to vigorously defend your rights and we have experience handling these cases. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.