Columbia Criminal Defense Attorney
South Carolina considers marijuana a Schedule I substance – on par with heroin, LSD, and others – and has not been approved for legal medical use. If you are found to be in possession of marijuana or marijuana paraphernalia, you could be arrested and charged for serious drug crimes, many of which constitute a felony violation. Acting quickly may be your best bet for protecting your rights and freedom. With 21 years of combined legal and trial experience, our Columbia drug crimes lawyers at Masella Law Firm, P.A. have been handling defense cases just like yours with resounding success, as evidenced by our dozens of
5-star client testimonials.
Misdemeanor Charges for the Slightest Amount
Possessing up to one single ounce of marijuana – or just one-sixteenth of a pound – is considered a misdemeanor crime. Only in rare circumstances does the state consider a marijuana crime an infraction. Otherwise, you could be in jail for 30 days and pay a $200 fine for your first conviction. Subsequent convictions for less than an ounce of marijuana can include a $1,000 fine and up to 12 months in jail.
Anything More is Drug Trafficking
If you are arrested with more than one ounce of marijuana on your person or in your possession, South Carolina will consider it a felony and label the action as drug trafficking. To put the severity of the legislation into perspective, most counties in California will only issue infraction citations – no jail time, no criminal record, and minimal fees – for illegal possession of the practically the same amount (28.5 grams). Law enforcement often does not need to look for any evidence beyond amount to hit you with a drug trafficking charge, meaning there does not need to be proof of cultivation or distribution.
Marijuana trafficking convictions will include varied sentences:
- Up to 10 pounds: Possible 5 year prison sentence and $5,000 fine.
- 10 to 100 pounds: Possible 10 year prison sentence and $10,000 fine.
- Near school grounds: Additional 10 years in prison and $10,000 fine.
- Sold to minor: Additional 10 years in prison and $10,000 fine.
Surprising Stamp Tax Penalty
In addition to being ordered to pay thousands of dollars in fines, you may be shocked to learn that South Carolina can also enact a stamp tax penalty against you. A stamp tax is any sort of federal or state level tax imposed upon a good that is transferred or intended to be sold. The court can assume that you had either purchased or transported the marijuana in your possession at one point or another and then enact a retroactive stamp tax on it, usually about $3.50 for each gram. For example: Possessing one ounce of marijuana would create ~$98 stamp tax. Although a stamp tax collected on small amounts of marijuana may seem minimal, it is just one more way the legal system can take its punishments over the line.
Standing Up to a One-Sided Criminal Justice System
There are often news stories of people who were found to be in possession of marijuana being too harshly penalized by the criminal justice system of South Carolina. Do not let yourself be held under the same heavy hand of the law. Contact our Columbia criminal defense attorneys today and set up your
case evaluation. Together, we can stand up for your rights.