Young adults starting college and living on their own for the first time are bound to make a few mistakes, some more serious than others. When it comes to drug possession charges, the consequences can be serious and have lasting impacts for college students.
If you find yourself in legal trouble, here’s what you need to know about drug possession charges in the state of South Carolina:
What are the legal ramifications?
The seriousness of the charge will depend on the type of drug in possession and the amount on hand. There is simple possession, which is a smaller amount intended just for personal use, which can result in a misdemeanor. If it’s a student’s first offense, they may be charged up to $620 and up to 30 days in jail. Second offenses can result in fines up to $1,000 and potentially a year-long jail sentence.
Possession with intention to distribute is a much more serious offense. For a first offense, you may be charged up to $5,000 and face up to five years in prison. A second offense can lead to up to $10,000 in fines and ten years in prison. Those charged and sentenced with second offenses for PWID can also lose eligibility for federal benefits for up to five years.
It’s also important to note that students can be arrested for more than just marijuana possessions. There are federal categories of drugs ranked by medical use and how addictive they may be:
- Schedule I drugs have no accepted medical use and high risk for addiction. Some examples of Schedule I drugs are heroin, marijuana, ecstasy, LSD, and peyote.
- Schedule II drugs are addictive with high risk for abuse. Some examples of Schedule II drugs are Vicodin, cocaine, methamphetamines, oxycodone, fentanyl, Adderall, and Ritalin.
- Schedule III drugs have lower potential for addiction and abuse. Some examples include ketamine and steroids.
- Schedule IV drugs have low risk for addiction and abuse. This includes Xanax, Valium, and Ambien.
Possession of these drugs without prescriptions when relevant is a federal crime that carries serious consequences, including high fees and potential jail time.
Are there additional consequences?
There aren’t just legal consequences to a possession charge, there may be additional consequences from your school or your job as well. Depending on the seriousness of the charge and the policies of your university, you could lose any financial aid or scholarships you may be receiving and potentially be forced to leave the university altogether. Beyond education, a drug possession conviction can have a lasting impact on your ability to find a job.
What’s the next step?
A drug conviction is a serious offense with potentially lifelong consequences, but there are options for those who have been charged. Depending on the specifics of your case, there may be opportunities to have the charge dismissed or to receive lighter sentencing. The first step is finding legal counsel that you trust to guide you expertly through this process.
For those seeking representation in South Carolina, the Law Office of Sara Turner is experienced in cases of this nature and works diligently to best represent her clients. With skill and compassion, Sara Turner will work tirelessly through the legal proceedings to achieve the best possible outcome for her clients. Reach out today for more information.