Wrong. Any time you are charged with any drug offense, even if you were not arrested for it, you should consult and retain an attorney.
Possession of 28 grams or less of marijuana – usually written up as “Simple Possession of Marijuana” – is a misdemeanor under South Carolina law, whether the officer took you to jail or just wrote you a ticket. If you are convicted of the crime, you can be punished by up to 30 days in jail or a fine between $100 and $200 (plus surcharges) for a first offense.
For a second offense, the penalties increase, and you can be punished by up to a year in jail, a fine between $200 and $1000, or both.
There are other consequences of having a drug conviction on your record. It can make you ineligible for some federal student loans. It may affect other government benefits you receive or make you ineligible for certain housing options. And just like any misdemeanor conviction, it could pop up when a potential employer runs a background check and affect your ability to make a living.
A lawyer can review your case to see if there are any issues with how the police stopped and searched you or your vehicle that may have violated your 4th Amendment rights. Even if there’s not a great opportunity to fight the charge, there are options other than just showing up to plead guilty that a criminal-defense lawyer can negotiate for you to keep the charge off your record.
If the officer tells you “don’t worry, this will just be a fine when you get to court,” do not take that advice as the gospel truth. There are other consequences to these charges that they aren’t thinking about when they tell you that.
If you’ve been arrested or ticketed for any drug offense, including Simple Possession of Marijuana, you are welcome to call my office for a free and confidential consultation about your case.