Many young adults are alarmingly naive about the future ramifications of an arrest and conviction on marijuana charges. After all, some figure, if it’s legal in some states already, just how serious can it be?
It can be plenty serious. For starters, South Carolina’s marijuana laws are much stricter than the pot laws in many other states. Simply being found guilty of possession of pot can land you in jail for up to six months and cost you $1,000 in fines, without adding in any court costs or other fees.
Additionally, it must be noted that under federal law, marijuana is still illegal in all 50 states. While the Obama administration chose not to intercede when certain states elected to make the recreational use of marijuana legal, there have been no such assurances from the Trump camp that the hands-off policy will continue during the next four years.
A pot conviction can close the door to opportunities
Even those who don’t get sentenced to jail and who can afford the fines and other costs still have unforeseen consequences ahead of them from a pot conviction, such as:
- Depending on whether the offense was a misdemeanor arrest for simple possession or a felony conviction for distribution of marijuana, voting rights may be affected.
- Scholarships can be permanently rescinded.
- Access to student loans can be denied.
- In 38 states, prospective parents are barred from adoption for having even a single misdemeanor pot conviction.
- It can be impossible to obtain licenses to practice law, nursing, medicine or get a teaching certificate.
- If individuals are already in possession of the above licenses, they can be revoked.
- Applicants can be denied housing after criminal background checks reveal a pot conviction.
- Those with convictions can be barred for three years from living in public housing units.
Take decisive action now
Depending on the age you are when you are arrested on a marijuana charge, you may not even realize what opportunities will be permanently denied to you simply because you once got busted for weed as a college student. Don’t allow your future endeavors to be curtailed before they even begin .
If you are facing marijuana charges, the time to act is now. There are many viable defenses available to those in your situation, and you and your criminal defense attorney must carefully examine the circumstances surrounding your arrest to determine which best fits your case.