Marijuana laws are getting much less restrictive throughout the country, with recreational use currently legalized in nearly a dozen states and medical use legal in three times that many. However, South Carolina isn’t one of these states. While the state has allowed some use of derivatives of the drug to help seizure patients, a bill that would legalize marijuana for medical use is facing an uphill battle. It has currently been pushed out to next year for a vote by state lawmakers. When it comes to legalized recreational use, that possibility isn’t anywhere on The Palmetto State horizon. So, against this restrictive state backdrop, if you’ve been arrested for marijuana possession, you might be asking yourself ”Will I go to jail for first time possession of marijuana?” To help answer that question, let’s take a look at the state’s marijuana penalties.
South Carolina Marijuana Laws
The possession of 28 grams, or one ounce, of marijuana or less, which is known as simple possession, is a criminal misdemeanor in South Carolina. A simple possession charge assumes that the marijuana is for your personal use. The penalty for a first-time, simple possession offense is up to 30 days in jail and a maximum $200 fine.
If you are arrested with more than an ounce of marijuana, however, you can be charged with intent to sell the drug, a felony that can involve years of prison time, even for a first offense.
Will I Go to Jail for First-Time Possession of Marijuana?
As you can see, the penalties for first-time marijuana possession in South Carolina do include jail time, but that doesn’t mean that you will actually receive that sentence. How harsh your penalty is or whether you are convicted and receive a penalty at all can depend upon the unique details of your case, which is why it’s a good idea if you’ve been arrested on a marijuana charge to engage the services of a skilled drug arrest attorney. A South Carolina lawyer who has handled first-time marijuana possession arrests will examine all the circumstances surrounding your case, including whether your rights were violated when the arrest was made and many other factors. An attorney familiar with the state’s laws may be able to have your sentenced reduced so you don’t serve any jail time for a first-time simple possession charge and potentially have the amount of time you must serve reduced if you are arrested on a more serious charge.
It’s also important to point out that if you are a first-time offender on a simple possession charge, you might be eligible to enter a conditional release program, which would allow you to choose probation over going to trial, thus avoiding jail time. You might also be able to attend a drug abuse counseling program to have your sentence reduced.
Contact an Experienced South Carolina Drug Arrest Lawyer
South Carolina marijuana laws are very complicated. If you’ve been arrested for first-time possession, it’s smart not to try and handle your case alone. A criminal attorney who understands state marijuana laws and their intricacies and has experience winning reduced sentences for clients can help keep you from serving time behind bars for your simple offense. Reach out to The Leventis Law Firm today to schedule a free initial consultation. We can explore all your options for avoiding jail time.