Although legal in some states, possession of marijuana remains a crime in South Carolina. Simple possession of marijuana is a misdemeanor charge and it carries a penalty of fines and/or jail time.
Simple possession means no more than 28 grams of marijuana. The elements of simple possession are: intentionally or with criminal negligence manufacturing or creating, or distributing, dispensing or delivering, or purchasing, or aiding and abetting or attempting or conspiring to do the above or possession with intent to manufacture, distribute, dispense, deliver or purchase. In order to be convicted for the crime of simple possession, all of the elements must be present. Jail time and fines can substantially increase if you are facing drug charges for the second or third time.
If you are in possession of more than 28 grams of marijuana, the law of South Carolina presumes you had the intent to distribute the drug. Therefore, you may be charged with the greater felony offense of possession with intent to distribute. If you are convicted of the crime of possession with intent to distribute, the jail time may reach up to 25 years and fines as much as $200,000, depending on the amount of marijuana you are found to be in your possession.
For example, if you are found to have sold or delivered less than 10 pounds of marijuana, the crime is punishable for up to five years in prison and for a fine of up to $5,000. On the other hand, if you are found to have sold or delivered more than 10 pounds of marijuana, the crime is considered a trafficking offense and it carries a mandatory minimum sentence. The mandatory minimum sentence for trafficking less than 100 pounds is one year of jail time with a maximum of 10 years in jail and a fine of $10,000.
Your defense is critically important. To protect your freedom and your future, contact an experienced defense attorney as soon as possible. If police obtained the drug evidence illegally, charges may be reduced or dismissed.