Marijuana has become a hot topic in the last couple of years. A number of jurisdictions throughout the country have been trying to legalize it for medicinal purposes. However, in South Carolina, Marijuana is still very illegal. Under South Carolina law §44-53-370(c) and (d)(4):
(c) It shall be unlawful for any person knowingly or intentionally to possess a controlled substance unless the substance was obtained directly from, or pursuant to a valid prescription or order of, a practitioner while acting in the course of his professional practice, or except as otherwise authorized by this article.
(d) A person who violates subsection (c) with respect to:
(4) Possession of more than:...A person who violates this subsection with respect to twenty-eight (28) grams or one (1) ounce or less of marijuana or ten (10) grams or less of hashish is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be imprisoned not more than 30 days or fined not less than $100 nor more than $200.
Marijuana is a controlled substance and categorized as a Schedule I drug. Schedule I drugs are substances that the Department of Health and Environmental Control have deemed to be (A) A high potential for abuse; (B) No accepted medicinal use in treament in the United States; and (C) A lack of accepted safety for use in treatment under medical supervision.
If one is arrested for Possession of Marijuana, the State has the burden to convict that person beyond a reasonable doubt. The State must also prove every element of the crime. With the charge of Possession of Marijuana, as described above, the State must prove that the person arrested knowingly and intentionally possessed, that the Defendant actually had possession, that the substance was in fact a controlled substance as defined by South Carolina Statutory Code, and finally that the substance was not obtained by a valid prescription or order of a pracitioner in the course of his professional practice. While this may seem like an easy task for any officer or solicitor/prosecutor, a skilled defense attorney can contest each element and ultimately exonnerate one from being branded with this criminal charge for the rest of their life.
An arrest does not equal a conviction and despite what an officer will tell you, you do have some defenses available to fight a Possession of Marijuana charge. Contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer. Contact Daniel Selwa to fight for you.