Choosing a Drug Lawyer for Your Simple Possession Charges in South Carolina
Marijuana arrests, from simple possession to sale and trafficking, are happening all over the world. The majority of marijuana arrests in the United States, however, are due to possession. There have been approximately 8 million marijuana charge arrests between 2001 and 2010 in the country. This is according to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). A staggering 88% of these arrests are due to mere possession of the substance.
If you’re dealing with a drug charge in Clemson, SC, you face the possibility of fines, imprisonment, or both. The help of a drug lawyer should be your priority, regardless of the nature of your arrest. You may represent yourself since South Carolina laws treat marijuana possession as a misdemeanor. However, even a misdemeanor can affect your professional and personal life in many ways. To seek for legal assistance on your simple possession case, work with a drug crimes lawyer in Clemson today.
Simple Possession and Marijuana Addiction Statistics for Clemson, SC Residents
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there has been an increase in marijuana abuse in the past decade. In fact, marijuana or cannabis has a higher rate of abuse than other drugs such as cocaine and opiates. As much as 2.5% of the global population use or have used marijuana, according to the WHO. This translates to as many as 147 million people all over the world.
As reported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 30% of marijuana users in the US suffer from addiction. Although the drug is considered illegal in the country according to federal laws, its sale and distribution persist. In 2010 alone, more than half of drug arrests in the country were due to marijuana.
The ACLU has reported that these marijuana charge arrests usually do not involve drug kingpins. Most of these arrests involve individuals in simple possession of minimal amounts of the substance. As much as 88% of the arrests from 2001 to 2010 were for simple possession, the ACLU reports.
In South Carolina, there were as many as 15,889 arrests for possession in the year 2016. Arrests related to the sale of the substance were at 1,434. These statistical data show that the majority of marijuana charge arrests were due to possession, including simple possession.
Marijuana Simple Possession and Arrest History
Clemson, SC is no stranger to these arrests, moreover. In 2016, the Clemson Police Department arrested a resident on Hawthorne for marijuana trafficking and illegal firearm possession. The police were able to confiscate 50 pounds of marijuana during the operation. In another 2016 incident, the police arrested Clemson player Kaleb Chalmers for possessing less than an ounce of marijuana.
Although the possession, sale, or intent to distribute marijuana carries grave penalties, there are legal defenses to these charges. The help of a drug crimes lawyer in Clemson plays a crucial role at this point. More than the help of any other drug lawyer, you will need an attorney with knowledge of state laws.
Marijuana Charge Types in South Carolina
South Carolina laws and penalties dictate various types of marijuana charges. These charges depend on whether you have been arrested for simple possession, sale, trafficking, or cultivation. Authorities may also apprehend you for a marijuana charge if you have been caught with drug paraphernalia. Once charges are brought against you in South Carolina, the help of a drug lawyer becomes crucial.
A first simple possession offense is considered a misdemeanor in the state. This means you have been caught with an ounce or less of the substance. Penalties include a fine total of $200 and incarceration of up to 30 days. While authorities still classify a second offense a misdemeanor, the penalties are considerably harsher. For a second offense, you may end up paying as much as $2,000 in penalties. You could also spend up to a year in jail.
Anyone may also face a marijuana charge for marijuana sale or trafficking. The sale or distribution of the substance typically involves greater amounts and is typically tagged as a felony. A sale of fewer than 10 pounds of marijuana merits the least serious penalty, with $5,000 in fines. The period of imprisonment may last up to 5 years. For distributions involving more than 10,000 pounds, the felony charge may require as long as a 25-year imprisonment. Maximum fine payments are usually at $200,000.
Possession of Paraphernalia in Clemson, SC
The possession of paraphernalia, furthermore, can earn South Carolina residents a civil citation. They may have to settle a fine payment of no less than $500.
The sale of marijuana to a minor is a felony, according to state laws. So is the possession of the substance within half a mile from a school property or playground. This carries an imprisonment sentence of up to 10 years and maximum fines of $10,000. In addition to state arrests, federal arrests are also common with marijuana possession and sale or distribution. The most common marijuana charges by federal authorities usually involve drug trafficking offenses. Drug possession, in contrast, is a more common reason for state-wide arrests.
Both the state police and federal authorities have the power to make marijuana-related arrests. Regardless of the nature of your marijuana arrest, you will need help from a drug crimes attorney in Clemson.
Possible Defenses to a Simple Possession Charge in Clemson, SC
Despite the grim penalties of marijuana-related arrests, a charge doesn’t have to lead to a conviction. A drug crimes lawyer in Clemson can look at your case and determine an effective course of defense. One possible defense to a simple possession charge is unlawful search, seizure, and arrest by authorities. Everyone is entitled to a fair process in terms of searches and arrests. Your drug lawyer can look into how the authorities have violated your rights during the arrest. This can help your defense attorney challenge and invalidate the charges against you.
Some simple possession arrests may also be unfounded and based simply on conjecture. A possible defense relating to this is for the defendant to simply deny the possession of the substance. If other people were present during the arrest, it is possible that the substance was theirs, not yours. Planted marijuana evidence is also fairly common, especially for guilty parties who don’t want to incriminate themselves. Many of those arrested for possession may actually be victims themselves.
In states where medical marijuana is allowed, a defendant may also cite its medicinal use as a defense. This can be a thorny defense if you reside in a state that absolutely prohibits the use of cannabis. The defenses to a marijuana-related charge can be several, from unlawful arrest to fabricated evidence. Throughout this ordeal, you will need a trustworthy drug crimes attorney in Clemson. With several drug attorneys operating in South Carolina, you need to pick someone you can truly rely on.
How to Pick a Drug Crimes Attorney in Clemson, SC
When it comes to choosing a drug lawyer, there are helpful characteristics that can guide your choice. It is important for your drug crimes lawyer in Clemson to work on the best defense possible. Even a simple possession charge can cost you thousands in penalties and a full year of imprisonment.
Some of the important qualities to look for in a drug crimes attorney in Clemson, South Carolina are:
Commitment to Your Case
A drug charge can either turn out be a simple misdemeanor or a serious felony. The most serious charges can result in $200,000 in fines and more than 20 years in jail. Thus, your lawyer should be able to commit to your case, starting from day one. Your attorney can handle more than one case at a time and should not be too busy for you. Who you need is a drug crimes attorney in Clemson who can work as efficiently as possible.
Specific Knowledge of Laws
If you have been arrested in Clemson or anywhere in South Carolina, state laws typically apply. The opposite is true for federal arrests; in these cases, federal laws prevail. If you’re facing state charges, however, it is vital for your lawyer to understand state laws. And with state laws changing over time, your legal counsel should know which outdated laws have recently been updated.
Attention to Detail
You and your drug crimes lawyer in Clemson cannot afford to make a mistake. Drug charges can cost you more than a quarter of your life in jail, in addition to hefty fines. Even a misdemeanor simple possession can set you back by hundreds in fines. Thus, your defense should contain zero to minimal loopholes. A reliable lawyer, for example, should be able to present inviolable proof there was an unlawful seizure or arrest. A keen eye will allow any legal counsel to verify facts, study laws, and formulate a solid defense.
Not all lawyers are confident in the courtroom and may fight for a negotiation instead. While there are benefits to a successful negotiation, a good defense almost always takes place in court. Your lawyer should not possess only impressive presentation skills but also courtroom presence and confidence. It is important to sway the courts into your favor, and an exceptional lawyer can take you there.
Should You Go for a Public Drug Crimes Lawyer in Clemson?
One of the questions in the search for a drug lawyer is whether public defenders are a good choice. After all, simple possession is a misdemeanor in the state. The free services of a drug crimes lawyer in Clemson make them a popular choice in South Carolina.
Experience and courtroom skills are also important in a drug lawyer. Since many of these public defenders handle numerous cases, they are quite experienced in court action. They may also be familiar with court personalities, making it easier for them to navigate through court proceedings.
However, public defenders may not always be available for consultation and meetings. Since they take on multiple cases, getting them to focus on your simple possession case can be challenging. They may also be unavailable for routine court appearances.
Why You Need a Drug Crimes Lawyer
There are many possible defenses to a drug charge. However, your drug crimes lawyer in Clemson will still have to do the work. Who you need is a drug crimes attorney in Clemson who can commit to your case until the end. It helps for your drug lawyer not to have a heaping workload.
There are still many upsides in working with a public defender. If you cannot afford to hire a private lawyer, the court will appoint an attorney for you. This means you can save on legal fees and other expenses. If, however, these savings will cost you your freedom and a fair trial it may be time to reconsider.
Hiring a private drug crimes attorney in Clemson can set you back in fees. The fees, in fact, can become more expensive as you bring the case to court. However, you have your private lawyer’s time and commitment.
Remember, even a misdemeanor conviction can remain in your records before expungement. This can potentially and significantly affect numerous opportunities otherwise available to you. These include educational opportunities and employment chances. A charge may even affect your eligibility for loans or your chances at child custody.
Trust in a Drug Crimes Attorney in Clemson from the Bateman Firm Today
Drug charges can change your life from bad to worst in an instant. If arrested for simple possession charges in Clemson SC, you need legal representation you can trust. Don’t let a citation or conviction affect educational or career-related opportunities. There are many defenses to a drug-related charge, whether you are dealing with a misdemeanor or a felony. The right legal counsel can make a huge difference. Seek help from a drug crimes attorney in Clemson from the Bateman Firm today.