South Carolina laws on Simple Possession of Marijuana
Despite the dynamic changes in state laws regarding marijuana in D.C., Washington, Colorado, etc, South Carolina remains within the category of states where it is illegal to possess Marijuana. In South Carolina, Simple Possession of Marijuana is a criminal misdemeanor for the unlawful possession of less than 28 grams of marijuana.
Under S.C. Code § 56-1-745, for your first offense, the punishment is up to 30 days in jail followed by a fine. However, upon your second offense, the punishment becomes more severe and you will face up to one year in confinement. For a first offense it is punishable by a fine or up 30 days in the County jail. Unfortunately, a conviction <i>shall result</i> in your driver’s license being suspended for six months.
The defendant must either have actual knowledge of the existence of the marijuana or the facts must show that the defendant’s possession was the result of criminal negligence. This means that even if the defendant didn’t actually know about the marijuana, but they should have known, they can still be guilty.
You will be prosecuted in either municipal (city) or Magistrate Court. Despite it not being prosecuted in General Sessions, the defendant is still entitled to all due process under the law available in other cases, to include a right to a jury trial and the presumption of innocence.
Possession of hashish
In addition to the actual drug itself, South Carolina makes it illegal to possess marijuana concentrates such as hashish. The larger the quantity, the more severe the penalty.
Simple possession of 10 grams or less of hashish is a misdemeanor and can lead to 30 days in jail and a $200 fine. If you’re arrested with more than 10 grams, you can face up to five years in jail and a $5,000 fine.
Possession of Paraphernalia
Possessing drug paraphernalia, like bongs and pipes, is not a criminal charge. This means it’s not a misdemeanor or a felony. But it does result in a civil fine and possible inclusion on your arrest record.
Drug laws in South Carolina are complex and you need an experienced lawyer to defend your rights in the courtroom. Contact Bell & Brigham.