South Carolina Possession of Marijuana Lawyer

Drug statutes in South Carolina tend to be more restrictive than those in other states. Specifically, while other states have either de-criminalized or legalized marijuana possession, South Carolina still aggressively prosecutes these charges. Federal law also prohibits marijuana possession under the Controlled Substances Act. To date, the State has no plans of legalizing marijuana in the near future.

If you receive a guilty verdict (conviction) for possessing marijuana in South Carolina, you can face criminal fines and other serious penalties. For help with your defense, consult with an experienced drug crimes attorney. A South Carolina possession of marijuana lawyer can examine the circumstances and facts surrounding your arrest and can help you choose the best legal option for your situation.

Actual versus Constructive Marijuana Possession

Someone does not need to be in actual physical possession of marijuana in order to sustain a marijuana possession charge. Actual physical possession means that the accused has the drug on their person. For example, the drug could be in a pants pocket or a coat pocket.

Constructive possession, on the other hand, means that the drug in located in the accused’s general vicinity or reach (aka dominion and control). For example, if law enforcement officers recover marijuana from a home or motor vehicle in which the accused is present, the accused may be in constructive possession of the drug. A seasoned defense attorney knows that both actual physical possession and constructive possession are sufficient to sustain a marijuana possession charge in South Carolina.

Penalties for a Marijuana Possession Conviction

While marijuana possession is a misdemeanor, which is less serious than a felony, convicted inviduals may still face harsh penalties. A marijuana possession conviction in South Carolina can result in up to 30 days or 6 months in jail depending on the total amount of weight of the drugs, a fine of up to $1,000, or any combination. When individuals commit subsequent drug offenses, they can face even harsher penalties. A subsequent conviction for marijuana possession (which is also a misdemeanor) can result in up to one year in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,000.

If the accused possesses under one ounce of marijuana, the potential penalties are 30 days in jail and/or a fine of between $100 and $200. A subsequent offense for possessing under one ounce of marijuana can result in one year of jail time and/or a fine of between $200 and $1,000. If the accused possesses over one ounce of marijuana, then the prosecutor may presume an intent to sell.

Generally speaking, the potential penalties upon conviction for marijuana sale or trafficking are much higher than those for marijuana possession in South Carolina.

Defenses to Raise in Court

There are several potential defenses to South Carolina marijuana possession charges that the accused may raise in court. These potential defenses include:

  • Mistaken identity
  • Lack of ownership over the home or vehicle where the police discovered the drugs (i.e. lack of actual or constructive possession over the marijuana)
  • Fourth Amendment violation (i.e. improper search or seizure which led to discovery of the marijuana)

A dedicated South Carolina lawyer can assess the details of a marijuana possession charge to build the best possible defense.

Call a South Carolina Possession of Marijuana Attorney Today

If you or someone you love is currently facing a marijuana possession charge, a good legal defense may lead to a dismissal or a nolle prosse by the state’s attorney. In the alternative, a South Carolina possession of marijuana lawyer may be able to work out a favorable plea deal with the prosecutor on your behalf or help you obtain a reduction in your criminal sentence. Call today to learn more.

South Carolina Drug Lawyer