We are all human, and humans make mistakes. But there are some mistakes that make a greater impact on our lives than others. In Columbia, South Carolina, it is illegal to possess even a small amount of marijuana. As a matter of fact, according to state and federal laws, marijuana is on the illegally controlled substance list along with methamphetamine, cocaine, LSD, and heroin. The laws also make it unlawful to possess any of the chemicals for use in the manufacturing drugs. Drug possession charges are different according to the kind of drug, the amount, and the location of where the charge took place.
In order to face a charge of possessing illegal drugs, the prosecutor has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused:
- Was aware the drug in their possession is a controlled substance; and
- Willingly was in possession of or was in control of the drug.
There is also the possibility of a person facing a charge of “constructive possession,” which means there was access to the drug in question even if it is not with the accused when they are placed under arrest. In this instance, several people may have access to the location of the drugs, like having keys to an apartment full of drugs and all individuals can face charges.
If you or someone close to you is facing drug possession charges, consulting with an experienced criminal defense attorney in Columbia should be a priority. You will need a lawyer to represent you in court proceedings to help you prepare and adequate defense. Depending on the amount of narcotics in your possession at the time of your arrest, you may face severe penalties and jail time.
What Category of Drug Possession Laws Does Is My Case Considered In Columbia, South Carolina?
The laws of drug possession in Columbia, South Carolina typically fit into one of these categories:
- Simple possession – defendants in this category possess narcotics for their own personal use
- Possession with intent to distribute – defendants in this category possess narcotics with the intent to sell or distribute it to others in the community
Anyone facing possessing with intent to distribute charges will face stricter penalties if convicted than anyone with a simple possession charge. The judicial system intends to prevent drug dealing and punish those that operate with the intent to sell and distribute drugs. Prosecutors will use evidence like baggies, massive amounts of narcotics, digital scales, witness testimony, and large amounts of cash in small bills to prove a person is in possession of drugs with the intent to distribute.
Columbia, South Carolina, and other states often put various drugs in different categories and treat them as separate entities. Laws are constantly changing to adapt to new regulations for legal marijuana use for recreational or medicinal use so you should consult a dedicated criminal defense attorney if you are facing charges. A lawyer will be familiar with the laws for your area and understand how to apply them to your situation.
Will My Drug Case Fall Under Federal or South Carolina State Laws?
If you reside in Columbia, South Carolina, you need to be aware of the fact that the state’s laws and penalties for marijuana are stricter than in other states. Possessing even a small amount of marijuana is illegal according to the federal Controlled Substance Act. In other words, if marijuana use becomes legal in South Carolina, it will still be illegal under federal law since federal laws supersede any state laws. The federal government will not stop enforcing the laws put in place to prevent possession, manufacturing, growing, trafficking, and distributing marijuana. The medicinal marijuana bill did not pass in South Carolina, and there are no current plans to legalize marijuana use and consumption.
A South Carolina criminal defense attorney will be able to determine which statutes your marijuana related case falls into, and you should schedule an appointment with one to discuss the specifics of your case. A lawyer can notify you of the options available to you relating to your case as to possible case disposition.
What are the Possible Outcomes for My Columbia, South Carolina Marijuana Case?
Any sentence you receive for your marijuana related case will depend on the amount of narcotics in your possession at the time of your arrest, whether or not it is your first offense, and other determining factors. Your sentence may include any of the following:
- Possession – a sentence of up to 6 months in jail and/or a $1,000 fine for a misdemeanor first offense. The fines and jail time will increase for subsequent arrests.
- Sale – a felony sentence can receive up to 5 years in jail and/or a $5,000 fine. The fines and jail time will increase for subsequent arrests.
- Trafficking – a sentence of 1 to 10 years in jail and a $10,000 fine for a first offense. The fines and jail time will increase for subsequent arrests.
How Can a Columbia, South Carolina Criminal Defense Attorney Help Me?
If you or someone you love is facing charges in connection with a crime in Columbia, South Carolina, you should schedule a consultation with an experienced criminal defense attorney to discuss the specifics of the case. Although it can be a frightening time for you and your family, an attorney will be able to answer any questions you may have about the possible outcomes of your case. A criminal defense lawyer will have the resources and the skill to provide you with the representation you need to defend your case. They can also help you decide if you should take your case to court, agree to a plea bargain, or see if you qualify for a reduction in charges.
Contact the Michael Jeffcoat Firm for Assistance Today
Call the experienced criminal defense attorneys at the Michael Jeffcoat Firm today for help with your criminal case. Let us put your mind at ease and represent you so that you can get through this difficult time in your life. We will put you first and answer all questions you have about your case. Contact us today for a no-obligation consultation.
Mr. Jeffcoat, a native of the Columbia area, founded the law firm in 1999. Mr. Jeffcoat got his undergraduate degree at Wofford College in 1994, majoring in Political Economy and Philosophy, and then went to the University of South Carolina School of Law, where he received his J.D. in 1997. After working in two law firms following his graduation from law school, Jeffcoat ventured out on his own to launch The Jeffcoat Firm in March of 1999.