Facing Marijuana Charges in Lexington, SC?
Marijuana is one of the most common drugs used. Therefore, there are many criminal charges that can arise from the possession or use of this drug. It is also known as pot, weed, bud, chronic, or hash. At Law Office of James R. Snell, Jr., LLC, our Lexington criminal defense attorney, James R. Snell, represents those who are charged with simple possession of marijuana and
serious drug crimes. Whether you are facing charges in Lexington, Columbia or another area within the state of South Carolina, we can provide you with the top-quality representation you need.
Penalties in South Carolina
First-time offenders charged with up to one ounce are prosecuted in the magistrate or municipal court. Second and subsequent offenders are prosecuted in general sessions court. Although most individuals charged with marijuana possession are arrested and taken to jail, at the officer's discretion you can be given a traffic ticket and asked to appear in court. Whether or not you were taken to jail, all marijuana charges are criminal in nature and can result in severe penalties. If you are convicted of any marijuana charge, you face the possibility of high fines, jail time, and a permanent criminal record.
This includes marijuana possession, possession with intent to distribute, distribution of marijuana, marijuana trafficking or manufacturing. The judge will have no discretion or authority regarding the creation of a criminal record, license suspension (for repeat offenders) or how the conviction may impact your ability to obtain a college scholarship. Under South Carolina law, in order to be convicted, the State must prove that you were in either actual or constructive possession of marijuana. There is no minimum amount of marijuana that must be present to be criminally convicted. If it is enough to be tested, it is enough to be charged.
PTI for Marijuana
Every county in South Carolina operates a pre-trial intervention (PTI) office. PTI is a diversion program designed for first-time non-violent offenders. PTI is not a sentence; instead, defendants are referred into the program upon the agreement of the police and the court. To complete PTI for a marijuana charge a defendant will have to complete 30-50 hours of community service, counseling, pass at least two drug tests, and prepare a two-to-three page report. Generally it takes six to nine months to enroll and complete all of the program's requirements. Once PTI is complete the simple possession of marijuana charge will be dismissed and the defendant's arrest record will be expunged.
Conditional discharge is a special program for individuals charged with simple possession of marijuana and certain other drug offenses. Upon completion of the program, the charge will be dismissed and the arrest record expunged. To complete a conditional discharge program, a defendant must follow all instructions of the court. The program is directly supervised by the court. Typical requirements are random drug testing, community service, and drug counseling. The typical length of time to complete the program is three to six months.
Whether it is contesting your case in court, or pursuing PTI or a conditional discharge, we are available to discuss all of the available options in your case. Our lawyers regularly represent clients charged with marijuana possession. Our clients include students, out of town motorists (usually arrested or ticketed on the interstate) and anyone else wishing to avoid a criminal conviction. For more information on marijuana charges, contact one of our Lexington criminal attorneys today!