What are Anabolic Steroids?
Anabolic steroids are primarily used by bodybuilders, athletes, and fitness "buffs" who claim steroids give them a competitive advantage and/or improve their physical performance. Steroids are purported to increase lean body mass, strength, and aggressiveness. Steroids are also believed to reduce recovery time between workouts, which makes it possible to train harder and thereby further improve strength and endurance. Some people who are not athletes also take steroids to increase their endurance, muscle size and strength, and reduce body fat which they believe improves personal appearance.
An undetermined percentage of steroid abusers may become addicted to the drug, as shown by their continuous use of steroids despite the physical problems, negative effects on social relations, or nervousness and irritability. Steroid users can experience withdrawal symptoms such as mood swings, fatigue, restlessness, and depression. Untreated, some depressive symptoms associated with anabolic steroid withdrawal have been known to persist for a year or more after the abuser stops taking the drugs.
What are the Side Effects of Steroids?
Possible physical side effects include the following:
- High blood cholesterol levels - high blood cholesterol levels may lead to cardiovascular problems
- Severe acne
- Thinning of hair and baldness
- Fluid retention
- High blood pressure
- Liver disorders (liver damage and jaundice)
- Steroids can affect fetal development during pregnancy
- Risk of contracting HIV and other blood-borne diseases from sharing infected needles
- Sexual & reproductive disorders
Possible psychological disturbances include the following:
- Mood swings (including manic-like symptoms leading to violence)
- Impaired judgment (stemming from feelings of invincibility)
- Extreme irritability
- Hostility and aggression
- Atrophy (wasting away of tissues or organs) of the testicles
- Loss of sexual drive
- Diminished or decreased sperm production
- Breast and prostate enlargement
- Decreased hormone levels
- Menstrual irregularities
- Masculinizing effects such as facial hair,
diminished breast size, permanently deepened voice,
and enlargement of the clitoris.
What are the Penalties for Using Anabolic Steroids?
Possessing or selling anabolic steroids without a valid prescription is illegal and will result in both state and federal consequences. At the federal level, simple possession of these steroids is punishable by up to 1 year in prison and a maximum $1,000 fine for a first-time offense. The maximum penalty for trafficking anabolic steroids is punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for a first-time offense. Second-time offenses for selling or trafficking steroids result in doubled fines and jail time.
In South Carolina, selling or delivering anabolic steroids without a valid prescription is a felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison and/or $5,000 fines for a first offense and up to 10 years in prison and/or $10,000 fines for a subsequent offense. The charges and penalties for possessing anabolic steroids without a valid prescription depend on the amount of drugs involved, as you can see below:
- Less than 10 units: Misdemeanor punishable by up to 6 months in jail and/or a $1,000 fine for a first offense and up to 1 year in jail and/or $2,000 fines for a subsequent offense.
- 10 to 100 units: Misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year in jail and/or $2,000 fines for a first offense and up to 2 years in jail and/or $3,000 fines for a second offense.
- More than 100 units: Felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison and/or $5,000 fines for a first offense and up to 10 years in prison and/or $10,000 fines for a second offense.
Possible Defenses to Your Drug Crime Charges
As you can see from the penalties above, your life could turn upside-down amid a conviction for drug possession. That’s why it’s imperative to retain an attorney who is experienced in defending drug possession charges, such as our very own at Masella Law Firm, P.A. We can look into the circumstances that lead to your charges and determine the best possible defense to employ. Examples of common defenses to drug possession that we may utilize include:
- Unlawful search and seizure: The Fourth Amendment protects you from unlawful searches and seizures, so if the police did not have probable cause to search your home, business, or vehicle before obtaining the illegal steroids, your lawyer may use this defense to your advantage.
- The drugs aren’t yours: If the drugs did not belong to you, then you can use this defense in your favor. This defense is often used when drugs are discovered in a room with several people present, such as a hotel room. In other cases, a defendant is framed for a crime by someone else, such as a spiteful ex-partner, an unhappy employee, or someone else who holds a grudge against the defendant.
- Entrapment: If a police officer induced you into committing a crime, then you could get reduced or dismissed charges by arguing that you were entrapped. For example, if the officer threatened you to hold onto the steroids for a weekend and you agreed, they would bring drug possession charges against you. Since you were entrapped, however, you can get your charges eliminated altogether.