Many people these days consider marijuana charges to be minor offenses. Marijuana legalization in a number of states leaves people thinking marijuana offenses are minor. South Carolina, however, is not one of those states. While lawmakers have introduced a marijuana bill this session, it has yet to go to vote, let alone implemented.
Anyone caught using or in possession of marijuana is committing a crime in the state of South Carolina. A conviction or a guilty plea to a drug charge could result in a loss of federal financing for your college education, which is why you need a defense attorney.
Misdemeanor possession can destroy your college career
Plenty of kids are drinking and engaging in recreational drug use during their college years. Some even consider it a rite of passage. The state of South Carolina, its courts, and its law enforcement, however, consider drug charges for marijuana serious offenses. Looking over the penalties for possession, you might not feel too worried. Possession of an ounce or less of flower or 10 grams or less of concentrate or hash is punishable by a $200 fine and up to 30 days in jail for a first offense. Additional offenses for the same amount of marijuana could result in a year of jail time and a $2,000 fine.
Those relatively light first time punishments may make some college students consider taking a plea deal that offers them no jail time or even taking their chances in court with public defender. Unfortunately, whether you plea or receive a jury conviction, having a drug record precludes you receiving federal student aid for college. Partnering with an experienced attorney could be your best option to protect your education and your future.
An experienced criminal defense attorney may be able to help
There are usually more than one or two options available to those facing criminal drug charges. An attorney who has heard the details of your case may be able to request that certain evidence be excluded from your trial. This professional advocate may be able to get your charges thrown out if certain violations of your rights occurred.
An attorney can also advocate for your diversion from criminal courts, pending substance abuse treatment. Depending on your circumstances, experienced representation by a criminal defense attorney may be the only chance you have to continue your education.
Your initial consultation will be free. Once you have related the circumstances around your arrest and charges to an attorney, he or she can advise you about your possible defenses and other options. You owe it to yourself, your education, and your future to seek the advice of an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as you know you’re being charged with a marijuana offense.