Even while states across the country are legalizing cannabis, you can still face serious criminal penalties in South Carolina for marijuana possession and other types of drug crimes. Relatively small amounts of drugs can lead to criminal charges that can affect your entire life, including later opportunities for education, housing and employment. In addition, if you were found near a school or another designated area, you could face additional sentencing even if you never interacted with minors. Drug charges can include allegations related to possession, distribution, trafficking or manufacturing.
Marijuana charges in South Carolina
If you are found with less than 1 ounce of marijuana, you may face simple possession charges. While this is a misdemeanor drug offense, the consequences can be significant. For a first offense, you could face up to 30 days in jail or a fine between $100 and $200. However, if you are charged a second time with marijuana possession, you may face up to a year in jail and up to $1,000 in fines. Those penalties can increase dramatically if you were found near a school or even a public park, regardless of the presence of minors. If you had more than 1 ounce of marijuana or your own plant, you could face drug distribution and manufacturing charges even if you never intended to sell cannabis and kept your supply for personal use.
Other types of drug charges
The penalties for other types of drug possession, trafficking or distribution may be even more severe. For example, you could face a felony conviction for a second possession of cocaine even if you had less than 1 gram. The same is true of heroin, methamphetamine and other drugs. You could even face jail time if you were found with a controlled substance without a prescription.
Drug charges can have a significant impact on your life, even if you were found with only a small quantity of drugs. A criminal defense attorney may be able to help you protect your rights and fight for a just outcome for your situation.