If you have been arrested for simple possession of marijuana (SPMJ) in South Carolina, you may be wondering what legal penalties you are up against. While a conviction will typically result in a mark on your criminal record, the loss of scholarship opportunities, disqualification from government programs and possible jail time and/or fines, your driving privileges will not be suspended if you were arrested after April 12, 2011—which is when new legislation went into effect. Prior to this, the court had the option to impose a six-month suspension on your driver's license. Although this is no longer a penalty for SPMJ, it is important to understand that you could still be facing much more serious consequences.
Although attitudes about the recreational and medicinal use of marijuana are rapidly changing around the country, South Carolina lawmakers still maintain that simple possession of marijuana is a crime. For this reason, you should not take these charges lightly. Apart from the fact that you could be sentenced to jail, the ramifications of a permanent criminal record could prove to be much more devastating. Once you are convicted of a SPMJ offense in the state, the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) will enter the conviction onto your permanent record—which means that your criminal background would be publicly available and included in any future background checks.
If this isn't reason enough to hire a Lexington criminal lawyer after a SPMJ arrest, it is also important to understand that our firm may be able to help you avoid a permanent criminal record by requesting
pre-trial intervention (PTI)—which would allow you to avoid prosecution altogether. This program gives non-violent offenders the opportunity to pay for their mistakes by seeking counseling and offering restitution, rather than serving time in jail. If successfully completed, you could avoid a mark on your permanent record, retain your scholarship benefits and side-step the penalties of a criminal conviction. Whatever course of action you choose, however, you should not hesitate to retain the help of an attorney.
The Law Office of James R. Snell, Jr., LLC specializes in defending clients against drug crimes in South Carolina, so you should not hesitate to find out what our Lexington criminal defense attorneys can do for you. As members of the South Carolina Association for Justice and the American Association for Justice, we will fight for the fair treatment that you deserve; all you have to do is
call our office today at (888) 301-6004 or submit a
free case evaluation form online to find out how we can help. Our advice is always free, so there is no reason why you should wait any longer to secure the professional assistance that you will need.