Legalization of marijuana is a hot topic in many of the states. Some have made it legal. Some have made it legal under certain conditions. Others refuse to decriminalize it on any level. South Carolina still considers possession of marijuana an offense.
It is that time of year when the kids go back to school. High school and college students dabble in drinking and partying. Sometimes, this involves smoking marijuana. Police officers and college security officers are on the lookout for this type of behavior.
If you or your teen are charged with possession of marijuana, there are different consequences depending on the amount. Obviously, the less marijuana you have in your possession, the lower the charges.
Marijuana Charges in South Carolina
The laws in South Carolina regarding possession are pretty clear. If you have an ounce or less on you, it is a misdemeanor. This is simple possession. Possession of anything more than an ounce is a felony. The penalties increase if it is not your first possession offense. The punishments break down as follows:
- Possession of less than an ounce (1st offense)
- Up to 30 days in jail
- Fines of up to $200
- Possession of less than an ounce (repeat offenses)
- Up to 1 year in jail
- Fines up to $2,000
If you have more than an ounce, you will face sale and trafficking charges. The fines for sale and trafficking range from one year to 25 years in prison. The fines for sale and trafficking charges go as high as $200,000. Obviously, the high prison terms and fines are associated with very serious offenses. They do not apply to simple possession charges.
It is important to note that you will not lose your driver’s license for simple possession. This doesn’t mean you can’t lose your license for other reasons. If you smoke marijuana, it can lead to a DUI. If the police arrest you for driving under the influence, you can face the loss of your license. This isn’t because of the simple possession. It is because of the DUI.
Treatment of Marijuana Simple Possession in South Carolina
If you are facing a simple possession charge in South Carolina, you may be eligible for certain programs. For example, you may be offered a conditional release. If you opt for this, you avoid a trial and jail time. You will still pay fines and court costs. However, if you complete your probation without incident, the authorities may drop the charges.
If you are in possession of drug paraphernalia but no actual marijuana, the situation is different. There are no criminal charges for possession of paraphernalia in South Carolina. If officers catch you with a pipe or bong, you will be issued a civil citation. You will be required to pay a fine, but you will not face trial or jail time.
What Qualifies as Simple Possession
It’s important to know that you don’t have to be caught with the marijuana on your person. There are many scenarios in which you can be charged with simple possession, including:
- Marijuana is found in your car
- A friend in your car is found with marijuana on them
- You’re a passenger in a car where marijuana is found
- The cops find marijuana in your house or a friend’s house
These scenarios usually involve a traffic stop. If the cops pull over you or a friend, they may have reasonable cause to search your vehicle. If they find marijuana anywhere in the car, they can charge anyone who was in that car. Even if it isn’t your car, as a passenger, the police can charge you. If a friend has marijuana in their pocket but they’re in your car, officers may charge you.
How a Drug Possession Lawyer Can Help
If you or your college student face a simple possession charge, you need a lawyer. The penalties can be severe. They can tarnish your criminal record. It is important that you contact an experienced drug possession lawyer in Clemson.
There is a lot at stake, even for simple possession. If it isn’t your first offense, you face serious jail time. You also face significant fines and court fees. You will want a drug possession lawyer by your side.
Contact a drug possession lawyer now. The initial consultation is free. Your lawyer can answer any questions or concerns you may have. They will work hard to negotiate the best results possible.