SC Law Blog

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Monday, March 18, 2013

Spring Break - Myrtle Beach

As it always does in Myrtle Beach, the month of March starts the madness of the tourist season and the festivities scheduled throughout the Grand Strand. Many college students are on Spring Break and choose Myrtle Beach to party. Many will come here and forget that despite popular belief, law and order does exist.  This is also the time of year that police officers get overburdened with the same old activity they see every year. This often leads to burn out and fatigue, especially with youthful rebellion. It is not uncommon for a police officer to see one offending party committing a crime and just arrest everyone around to let them sort it out. While this does not happen all the time, make no mistake about the fact that it does happen. A common charge that some will catch on spring break is a simple possession of marijuana or other possession of drug charge. Sometimes one person will have it in the group and some may know, some may not, but the police officer will be hearing the same story from all. This means that obviously even the innocent go to jail. So, if you are in Myrtle Beach on Spring Break, please remember the following:

Recent changes have lead to the legalization of marijuana at the state level in Washington and Colorado, not Myrtle Beach. Some states allow the use of marijuana but only for medical reasons and one of these states is California. Contrary to the United States, many countries around the world allow the use of marijuana for any reason at all, although the amount of marijuana may be regulated. Here, in South Carolina, the use of marijuana is strictly regulated, meaning the use or possession of marijuana is not legal, no matter the purpose. Fortunately, if you are being charged with possession of marijuana, the law recognizes a difference between possessing a small amount versus possessing a large amount.  

The following penalties show the differentiation the law makes between possessing a small amount versus a large amount of marijuana. For simple possession of marijuana, (no more than 28 grams), or hashish, (no more than 10 grams), the penalty carries jail time of up to 30 days or a fine ranging between $100 and $200. A second or subsequent offense carries up to 1 year in jail and a fine of up to $1000. If you are charged with carrying more than 28 grams of marijuana or more than 10 grams of hasish the penalties can reach up to 15 years of jail and/or up to $25,000.  If you are facing a subsequent charge for possession of more than 28 grams or more than 10 grams of hasish the penalties can include jail time of up to 30 years and up to $50,000.

Simple possession is a misdemeanor offense and although the penalties may be less severe than felony marijuana charges, the misdemeanor charge will still be a part of your criminal record. A competent attorney may be able to get the misdemeanor charge dropped against you completely, which could be the difference between getting and not getting a job. Also, you may think the fines are relatively low, but the cost of the fines will likely double because of court costs.  The consequences of the lesser offense are still significant so it is in your best interests to contact an attorney immediately upon being charged with possession of marijuana. Criminal defense attorney Daniel Selwa can help you explore your options. Contact him today to discuss your case.

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