The state of South Carolina takes marijuana offenses very seriously, and if you are caught with marijuana in your possession, you’re going to need an experienced criminal defense lawyer to assist you. While marijuana legalization is occurring in several states, it is still illegal in South Carolina and being aware of this is crucial.
What Are the Basics of South Carolina Marijuana Offenses and Laws?
Marijuana is illegal in the state of South Carolina with no exceptions. Even if you purchase your marijuana in a state where recreational cannabis is legal, if you get caught with marijuana or anything used to smoke marijuana in South Carolina you may end up with one or more of the following charges:
- Simple possession of marijuana/weed/pot
- Possession of drug paraphernalia
- Trafficking marijuana
- Possession with intent to distribute marijuana
The charges you may be facing depend on a few factors including how much the drugs weigh, and the circumstances surrounding the drugs. In South Carolina it’s counted as marijuana if it is:
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- The resin extracted from any part of the marijuana plant
- Any compound, salt, derivative, manufacture, mixture and/or preparation of a marijuana plant, resin, and/or seeds
- Any variety or species of the marijuana plant (growing or not growing)
What is A Possession of Drug Paraphernalia Charge in South Carolina?
Because South Carolina deals with marijuana offenses seriously, you can be charged with possession of drug paraphernalia even if you don’t have any marijuana in your possession.
The different objects that may be considered as drug paraphernalia in South Carolina include but aren’t limited to:
- Metal, acrylic, wooden, plastic, ceramic, or stone marijuana pipes with or without any screens.
- Any water pipes that are either used for or designed for the marijuana
- Roach clips
- Any type of device that has the intended use to smoke, ingest, administer, manufacture, or prepare marijuana
- Displaying advertising, selling or delivering any object intended to be used with marijuana
- Any objects in your possession that are found in proximity to marijuana
- Possessing depictions and/or instructions either oral or written that show how any objects in your possession can be used with marijuana
- Having marijuana residue on any objects found to be in your possession
Does Possession of Drug Paraphernalia Fall Under Marijuana Offenses?
In South Carolina, the possession of drug paraphernalia is considered a misdemeanor and could result in up to 30 days in jail and/or up-to a $500.00 fine.
What is a Simple Possession of Marijuana Charge?
If you are found to have at least 28 grams (1 ounce) of marijuana you could be charged with possession of marijuana. You don’t have to be physically holding the marijuana to be charged with possession. If marijuana is found in your motor vehicle, bag, or on your porch or home, you may be charged with possession of marijuana.
In order for a charge of simple possession to stick in South Carolina, the prosecutor must be able to prove that you were aware the drug was a controlled substance and that you knowingly had possession or control over the drug in question at the time you were arrested.
What is the Penalty for Possession of Marijuana?
If you are charged with simple possession, it is considered to be a misdemeanor in South Carolina, and you could face up to 30 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $100-$200.
What is Intent to Distribute Marijuana?
If you’ve been caught with marijuana that weighs over 28 grams (1 ounce) up to 10 pounds, you may be charged with possession with intent to distribute. If you are charged with possession with intent to distribute, South Carolina law enforcement believe that you had the intent to do more with the marijuana than just smoke it.
South Carolina law enforcement can use the circumstances of your individual situation in order to determine if you had the intent to sell the marijuana, how the marijuana was packaged, and whether the scales or any other items you used to break large quantities of marijuana into smaller ones were present at the time of your arrest.
What is the Penalty for Intent to Distribute Marijuana?
The penalties in South Carolina will be based upon any previous offenses. A first offense is considered to be a felony and is punishable by up to 5 years in jail and/or a fine of up to $5,000.
A second offense is also a felony and is punishable by up to 10 years in jail and a fine of up to $10,000.
A third offense is a felony and you could be facing a jail sentence of up to 5-20 years and fines up to $20,000.
What is Trafficking in Marijuana?
If you are caught selling or transporting marijuana in the state of South Carolina, you could be charged with trafficking marijuana. This is an extremely serious crime, and if you have a lot of cash or drugs in your possession at the time of your arrest, you could be looking at the trafficking of marijuana charge.
What is the Penalty for Trafficking Marijuana in South Carolina?
The penalties for trafficking marijuana in South Carolina depends on how much marijuana you’ve been caught having and any previous offenses. The penalties include:
- If you are caught with between 10-99 pounds of marijuana and this is your first offense, this is a felony and you could be facing 1-5 years of jail and a fine of up to $10,000.
- A second offense for 10-99 pounds of marijuana is a felony and you could be looking at 5-10 years of jail and fines of up to $15,000.
- A third offense for 10-99 pounds of marijuana again is considered a felony and punishable by up to 25 years in jail and a $25,000 fine.
- If you were caught with 100-1,999 pounds of marijuana, any offense, is a felony and punishable by 25 years in jail and a fine of $25,000.
- If you were arrested with 2,000 to 9,999 pounds of marijuana this too is a felony and you could face 25 years in jail and a fine of $50,000.
- 10,000 pounds or more of marijuana in your possession is a felony and punishable by 25-30 years in jail with a mandatory minimum of 25 years, and a fine of $250,000.
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Call Bannister, Wyatt & Stalvey, LLC Today For Help With Marijuana Offenses
If you are facing drug charges in South Carolina that are associated with marijuana, the criminal defense attorneys at the Greenville law firm of Bannister, Wyatt & Stalvey, LLC understand how to navigate our legal system and will aggressively work to obtain the best possible outcome for you.