Simple Possession of Marijuana
Lexington Drug Crime Attorney Protecting Your Rights
Marijuana is one of the most common drugs that lead to drug crime charges and convictions. For those facing such charges, it is essential to enlist the powerful help of one of the Lexington criminal defense lawyers at Law Office of James R. Snell, Jr., LLC. We understand what you are facing and have the knowledge and skill to help. If you are facing a charge for the simple possession of marijuana, contact our firm today!
Why a Defense Matters
A marijuana charge is a criminal offense. It does not matter if you were arrested and taken to jail, or if the officer just wrote you a ticket. Either way you are facing a criminal record that could be considered for military, employment, school, or professional background check purposes.
The most important goal for most of our marijuana defense clients is to assist them in trying to prevent the marijuana charge from becoming a permanent fixture on their record. Many of our clients are students, young adults, or others who are concerned how a criminal record might affect their future.
Your Defense Options
There are many ways that a marijuana charge can be favorable resolved. Our lawyers have experience with all of the various options, including both contesting the charge in court or negotiating a more favorable outcome. Here are the most common defense strategies:
Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI) – This is a program available to those with no or only a very minimal prior criminal record. Upon completion the charge will be dismissed and the arrest record expunged. It does not require you to plead guilty or be found guilty of any crime.
Conditional Discharge – This is a special type of sentence that can be negotiated and applied by the court. Upon completion of the terms the marijuana charge will be dismissed and the arrest record expunged. It will require reporting clean drug tests back to the court.
Contested Case – Everyone charged with a drug offense, including marijuana possession, has a right to challenge the police investigation and other facts in their case. Were you legally searched? Were your rights violated? Did the officer properly put the marijuana into evidence? Was it actually tested by the police laboratory? Can the police prove that you were the one in possession, and that it didn't belong to someone else?
When you contact us for a free consultation we will review with you all of your options and help you decide on the strategy most important for you and your specific goals.
Penalties for Drug Possession in Lexington
Simple Possession of Marijuana is always a criminal offense 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 and face up to one year in prison. 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 marijuana possession in South Carolina you may face the following penalties:
- Risk of a court-ordered fine
- Risk of a jail or prison sentence
- Permanent criminal record
- Loss of college scholarship opportunities
- Difficulty passing military, employment, school and other background checks
The judge will have no discretion or authority regarding the creation of a criminal record, license suspension 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.
Interstate Marijuana Charges
Many rural police department in South Carolina frequently charge motorists traveling on I-95 with marijuana possession. Motorists (frequently with out of state tags) are pulled over for a minor traffic offense by an officer (usually with a drug sniffing dog). We regularly hear reports that our clients believe that their fourth amendment rights may have been violated, or that they were unfairly pressured into consenting to a search or making a statement. In almost all situations the officer is looking to make a trafficking level bust, and when he finds only a small amount of marijuana he writes a ticket and doesn't take the defendant to jail.
If you received a South Carolina Interstate marijuana ticket in one of the following areas we can help:
- Saint George
We also can assist with any other ticket written in any other area on I-95.
These tickets, just like any other drug crime, can be reported on your criminal background check. As a result it is important that everyone who has received a ticket consider hiring a lawyer to challenge the charge, or assist them in negotiating placement into a program like pre-trial intervention or the conditional discharge.
Medical Marijuana in South Carolina
South Carolina law makes no provisions or allowances for legal recreational or medical marijuana (other than prescribed cannabis oil). Medical marijuana prescriptions from other states are not honored by our police or court system. If you were charged with possession of your medical marijuana you are facing the same criminal charge as any other recreational or illicit user.