Columbia Marijuana Possession Lawyer

Marijuana possession in Columbia is a very common offense and could have serious consequences. However, since it is a common crime that usually involves people may not have any prior confrontations with the law, it may be treated differently by the prosecution in comparison to other drug-related crimes. Nonetheless, a marijuana possession conviction may go on a person’s record and could limit future employment opportunities.

If you have been charged with marijuana possession in Colombia, contact an experienced drug attorney. A Columbia marijuana possession lawyer may be able to build a strong defense for you.

Common Things to Know about Facing Marijuana Possession in Columbia

A local marijuana possession defense attorney’s first step would be to get a copy of the drug results. Too often in drug possession cases, attorneys do not obtain the drug results from the lab. This process takes a long time. A lot of attorneys want to go ahead and get rid of the case as soon as possible. It is generally not in a person’s best interest to go immediately to court. Sometimes it is, and that is a case-by-case basis that each attorney gets to evaluate and advise individuals on, but if they do not have the drug results, then that is something that could dramatically affect the strengths and weaknesses of the case.

When somebody is pleading guilty and has not even seen the drug results for whether the drug tested positive, it certainly is not advisable. As a general rule, a person would not want to go forward without making sure that the attorney has received the drug test and reviewed it with them. Certainly, the attorney should be filing a supplemental discovery request, asking for the lab notes, testing procedures, the equipment that was specifically tested, the manuals, the science-based questions of error-rate, reliability testing, contamination. These are all the important things that a trained and experienced drug defense attorney knows how to do in defending these types of cases.

Decriminalization Influencing the Way Columbia Enforces Marijuana Laws

As of today, marijuana is not decriminalized. Marijuana is illegal in South Carolina. Even medical marijuana is still illegal in South Carolina and the possession of those specific amounts, even, say, small amounts for personal use is still illegal. Politically, having other states and other jurisdictions within the United States legalizing small amounts of medical marijuana, is starting to change people’s minds and influence them. However, currently it is still illegal and a person will be arrested if they have marijuana in their possession.

Difference of Defending Marijuana Cases from Other Drug Cases

These cases deal with people who do not have a criminal record, who are eligible for diversionary programs like PTI or conditional discharge. It is not as serious as other types of drug crimes. Prosecutors are more willing to negotiate certain cases because it is not as severe. A simple possession of marijuana is a misdemeanor case up to 30 days. It is not as significant as possession of cocaine or methamphetamine, which are also misdemeanors but it carries up to three years in prison.

Some marijuana cases also have a drug paraphernalia charge that goes with them, and many other marijuana cases include some type of possession with intent to distribute. This is usually because the person recently bought more than the threshold amount, which allows it to be considered possession with intent to distribute. It is not treated the same, but it is still illegal.

How Have those Implications Changed Over the Years?

There are more diversionary programs offered than years before that a Columbia attorney could help someone charged with marijuana possession explore. Prosecutors are a lot more open to finding ways to work with criminal defendants. Pretrial intervention is a great program. Conditional discharge allows a person to plead guilty and defer to sentencing. Once the person passes several drug tests and pays the fines, they will get the charge expunged.

Also, some prosecutors will work with the person to allow the criminal defendant to take weekly drug tests within a certain amount of time. Once the person is able to show that they are drug-free and have not been in trouble in a certain amount of time, the prosecution is more willing to dismiss the case outright and work with the person so that they do not lose that financial aid or scholarship.

Judge’s Leniency Regarding Marijuana Charges

A judge’s leniency regarding marijuana charges is highly dependent on the judge. Some judges are very anti-drug, and as a result, may not be lenient. Other judges are a bit more lenient because they may see a marijuana possession charge as an innocent mistake. In some instances, individuals charged with a marijuana possession charge receive probation, have to pay a fine, and/or have to attend treatment/diversionary programs.

Long-Term Implications of a Marijuana Possession Charge

One such effect would be possibly losing financial aid, loss of scholarship, or the job the convicted individual wanted. Certainly, if an employer is looking at a person’s criminal history and they see that, they generally will take the person who doesn’t have a criminal record and doesn’t have that stigma of being someone who uses illegal drugs.

If it is the first 30-day offense someone has received, the person may be, after three years and no subsequent arrests, eligible for an expungement. This is noteworthy because that could potentially alleviate some of these long-term effects. A lawyer in Columbia could help someone determine whether they are eligible to expunge a marijuana possession charge from their criminal record.

Contacting a Columbia Marijuana Possession Lawyer

Although marijuana possession is treated differently than other drug-related charges, a conviction could potentially damage your future. If you have been charged with marijuana possession, it is important that you contact a skilled attorney. A Columbia marijuana possession lawyer may be able to give you the legal representation you deserve.