You might think being charged with simple possession of marijuana in South Carolina isn’t a big deal, given that many other states are relaxing their cannabis laws. You’d be wrong. Pot is still illegal in SC, and simple possession charges are a huge deal.
In South Carolina, weed is classified as a Schedule I controlled substance. (Learn more about drug classifications and drug possession penalties here.) Even a small amount of weed is enough to get you prosecuted for simple possession. Though it’s possible to ultimately have it expunged from your record, you shouldn’t take that chance. You could end up spending time in jail, in addition to paying massive fines and court costs.
Those are just the immediate risks. Having a simple possession charge on your record may make some employers think twice about hiring you, which could make it more difficult for you to get a job in the future.
So what should you do if you’re charged with simple possession of pot in South Carolina? Read on for some helpful tips.
Understanding South Carolina’s Marijuana Laws
Marijuana possession penalties in SC range from a month in jail and a few hundred dollars in fines to years in prison and thousands in fines. A simple possession charge of less than an ounce of marijuana for personal use is a misdemeanor under South Carolina marijuana laws. For a first offense, you may face 30 days of jail time and/or a fine. While a subsequent offense is also a misdemeanor, it carries heavier penalties. If you have more than an ounce of weed, you may be charged with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute (PWID)—and possession with intent is a felony charge.
A drug charge of any kind is serious, and it can lead to a criminal record that can have an impact on your life for years to come. Even a simple possession charge is nothing to mess with, and you deserve a good criminal defense attorney on your side to help you understand SC state laws, ensure your rights are upheld, and advocate on your behalf in a criminal case.
What To Do When Faced With Simple Possession Charges in SC
Remaining calm throughout your arrest is the best thing you can do for yourself. It’s understandable if you’re concerned and upset, but try to keep a level head, be polite to the law enforcement officers, and avoid saying anything that could come back to haunt you. Being charged with simple possession of pot is serious. Remain quiet and calm and respond only in short ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ answers whenever possible.
Comply with Law Enforcement
It can be tempting to rebel, argue, or get angry with the arresting officer, but you’ll make things easier on yourself if you remain respectful and calm. Request access to a criminal defense lawyer before answering any questions, and you will put yourself in the best position to defend yourself against weed possession charges later on.
Know Your Rights
According to the Fourth Amendment, you are protected from unreasonable searches. This includes your car or truck, so you’re within your rights to deny a warrantless search of your car if you’re pulled over. This is not the case with a body search, however. Police officers are free to pat you down and search your clothing for drugs, weapons, or any illegal objects. Finally, you have the right to legal advice, so you should contact a criminal defense attorney who understands the laws in South Carolina as soon as possible for the best chance at a positive outcome.
Already Convicted of Simple Possession or Another Cannabis Crime in Columbia, South Carolina?
Contact the Law Office of David Tarr in South Carolina for assistance in seeking relief from your simple possession conviction. He can assist you in pursuing post-conviction relief, including expungement. For college students convicted of marijuana possession, taking this step is often the best option available to minimize or eliminate any future non-criminal consequences on your education or employment opportunities.
Need a Criminal Defense Lawyer to Help You Face Charges for Possession of Marijuana in SC?
David Tarr is a criminal defense attorney in Columbia, South Carolina, and his law firm specializes in fighting for people charged with simple possession of pot, other marijuana charges, and so much more. As the only Midlands attorney with membership in the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), he is a strong advocate against the severity of cannabis laws in South Carolina, and he has represented many people in Columbia, Charleston, Lexington, and other communities who are facing simple possession charges.