Public attitudes towards marijuana have shifted considerably over the past few decades. What was once an illicit drug is now legally grown, sold, and used recreationally in at least eight states, and a majority of states in the country allow some form of medical marijuana use. These legal changes likely reflect that the use of marijuana is more culturally acceptable than it has been in the past, even in states where the possession or sale of marijuana is still prohibited.
Marijuana Is Still Illegal in South Carolina
Much to the chagrin of many in the Columbia area, South Carolina—like most of the South—has been slow to legalize marijuana for medical or recreational use. As a result, if you are caught with marijuana in any form, you will be facing serious legal consequences, including the following:
- Jail time
- Community service
- Drug testing
- Drug education
The penalties for selling, trafficking, or cultivating marijuana are significantly more severe than those for simple possession, and often involve years of incarceration and fines well into the thousands of dollars.
If you are convicted a crime related to marijuana, there is a good chance that you will be facing adverse collateral consequences as well. A drug crime conviction can make it difficult to get a job, rent an apartment, get into college, or even exclude you from participation in the federal student loan program.
Defenses to Marijuana Crimes
Which so much on the line, it is advisable for anyone who has been accused of a marijuana crime to speak with an attorney as soon as possible. Most drug-related arrests occur after the police have searched an individual’s person, car, or home. If the police violated your constitutional rights during such a search, it can result in the evidence collected against you being thrown out of court. Without access to the marijuana seized, it is impossible for the state to obtain a conviction, which means that the case must be dropped or will likely be dismissed by the court.
Even if there is no way to get the evidence thrown out, a lawyer can often help bring your case to a better resolution than you would have been able to achieve on your own. A lawyer may be able to negotiate a plea bargain in which you agree to plead guilty to a lesser offense or in exchange for the prosecutor’s recommendation that the judge imposes a light sentence. In some cases, your lawyer may even be able to get you into South Carolina’s drug court program which will avoid a conviction at all, provided that you successfully complete it.
Accused of a Drug Crime? Call Columbia, SC Criminal Defense Lawyer Lori Murray Today
If you have been accused of a crime related to the possession or sale of marijuana, it is in your best interest to retain an attorney right away. To schedule a free consultation with a criminal defense attorney in Columbia, call our office today at 803-779-4472 or send us an email through our online contact form.