In recent years, numerous states have eased their marijuana laws. Today, marijuana use in some form is legal in 33 states, including 11 states where it is fully legal. However, in South Carolina, marijuana use, sale and possession remain fully illegal. If the police in Rock Hill or any other community in South Carolina catch you with even a small amount of the plant or a derivative, you can face serious consequences.
For this reason, you should seek help from an experienced drug defense attorney at McKinney, Tucker & Lemel, LLC, if you have been charged with any marijuana-related offense. Our team includes attorney Gary C. Lemel, who has dedicated his career to protecting the rights of people just like you. We will explore all defense options available to you and work tirelessly to find the best outcome in your case. Contact us today to discuss your case in a free consultation.
What Are South Carolina’s Marijuana Laws?
Under South Carolina law, marijuana is a Schedule I controlled substance. In other words, the state considers marijuana to be a drug with no accepted medical use and a very high potential for abuse. Marijuana also is banned as a Schedule I drug under federal law. As a result, the penalties for marijuana-related offenses in South Carolina can be harsh, regardless of whether you are prosecuted in state or federal court.
In South Carolina, it is illegal to possess any part of a marijuana plant, including leaves, stalks, plant fibers, seeds, resin, oil or cakes manufactured by seeds. So, in addition to marijuana, the resin from the flowers of the cannabis plant, or hash, is illegal as well. You can face criminal charges if you possess marijuana or hash in any form and plan to consume it in any fashion – whether smoking, vaping or eating it.
However, you can legally grow, sell and possess hemp in South Carolina as long as it contains trace amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the active ingredient in marijuana. Also, in 2017, the state legalized cannabidiol (CBD), which many people use today for a wide variety of reasons such as treatment of anxiety or seizures.
What Are Different Types of Marijuana Charges in South Carolina?
You can face a wide range of penalties if you are charged with a marijuana-related offense in South Carolina. Those penalties largely depend on three factors:
- Nature of the offense – Sale, possession, manufacturing or trafficking
- Amount of marijuana – The greater the amount, the higher the penalty
- Your criminal record – Penalties increase for repeat offenders.
Where the marijuana offense allegedly occurred can also be a factor. For instance, the punishment for selling marijuana to a minor or within a half-mile of a school, park or playground is more severe than selling it in a different location.
Some of the most common marijuana crimes that authorities charge people with in Rock Hill and other communities in South Carolina are:
- Possession – If you are charged with possession of one ounce or less of marijuana, you can face a fine up to $200 and up to 30 days in jail. If it is a repeat offense, you can pay a fine of up to $2,000 and face up to one year in jail. However, many first-time offenders in York County are eligible for a diversion program.
- Possession with Intent to Distribute – If you allegedly possess more than one ounce but less than 10 ounces, you could be charged with this felony offense – even if the drug was solely intended for personal use. You could face up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. The penalties increase for repeat offenses.
- Trafficking – The penalties for trafficking marijuana depend on the amount allegedly being moved. A conviction for trafficking between 10 and 100 pounds of marijuana carries a fine of up to $10,000 as well as between one to 10 years of imprisonment. If the amount is more than 100 pounds, the mandatory minimum sentence is 25 years, and the fines can go as high as $200,000.
- Manufacturing marijuana – This offense is also a felony in South Carolina. To manufacture marijuana means to grow, process, prepare or propagate it. The penalties range from a maximum of five years in prison and up to a $5,000 fine (less than 100 plants) to a minimum of 25 years in prison and a $200,000 fine (more than 10,000 plants).
- Possession of drug paraphernalia – Even possessing paraphernalia associated with marijuana is subject to punishment in South Carolina. If you are found in possession of pipes, bongs, baggies or even a “roach clip,” you could face a civil citation and a fine of $500.
How Can a Marijuana Crimes Defense Lawyer Help You?
When you work with McKinney, Tucker & Lemel, LLC, we will explore every possible way to fight the charge against you. For instance, we may be able to successfully challenge the legality of a stop or search which led to the discovery of marijuana in your car or home or on your person. If the police obtained any evidence in violation of your constitutional rights, that evidence could be thrown out of court. Ultimately, the Solicitor’s Office could be forced to dismiss the charge against you.
Additionally, we can examine the prosecution’s evidence and identify any issues with it. The evidence that you possessed the marijuana may be weak, for example, or a problem may have occurred in the testing of the material, which calls lab results into question. After we investigate your case, we will provide a straightforward, honest assessment. We don’t believe in sugar-coating our advice.
Have You Been Charged with a Marijuana Crime in Rock Hill?
If you have been charged with a marijuana crime in Rock Hill, you should get help from an experienced Rock Hill criminal defense attorney at McKinney, Tucker & Lemel, LLC, without delay. We know how to prepare effective defenses for criminal marijuana charges. We will work hard to find the best possible solution to your case and fight to protect you and your future. Contact us now so we can get started on your case.