Have you been charged with simple possession?  In this article, you will learn what simple possession means, and what the potential penalties are for several different drugs.  You will also learn about some of the collateral consequences of being convicted of a criminal drug offense.

The basic idea of “simple” possession charges is that it’s intended for personal use.  It is a relatively small amount of whatever drug. It means that the person was intending to use the drug for themselves, not to sell it or distribute it to someone else. Simple Possession most commonly refers to marijuana, but can be used to refer to other drugs.

Charged with Simple Possession… Now what?

The amount of weight of the drug is typically what determines if one will be charged with simple possession.  The way the drug is packaged–a single package versus multiple packages–could also be a factor in determining if someone will be charged with simple possession as opposed to Possession With Intent to Distribute or Trafficking.

Why You Should Fight a Simple Possession Charge

Aside from the punishments described above, convictions can negatively impact your life in other ways.  It can affect your home life and your life at work. It will show up on a background check and can affect your ability to get a job.

It can also affect one’s ability to qualify for federal student aid if a person was receiving federal student aid at the time of the offense.  In addition, it can affect a person’s ability to gain or retain custody of children.  A conviction in the past will also affect the number of prior offenses you have should you offend in the future.  

Simple Possession of Marijuana

Simple Possession of Marijuana is defined in S.C. Code 44-53-370(d)(4) and means possession of less than 28 grams (or one ounce) of marijuana.  A person could be charged with Possession With Intent to Distribute (PWID) marijuana even if it is less than 28 grams, if it is packaged in multiple baggies.  The punishment for simple possession depends on the type of drug and how many prior convictions a person has.

  • For Simple Possession of Marijuana, 1st offense, a person can be sentenced to up to thirty days in jail OR a fine of $100-200.  
  • For a second offense, a person can be sentenced up to a year in prison AND/OR a fine of $200-1,000.  For a second offense, a person can be placed on probation, but probation is typically not granted for a first offense, as it is a magistrate level offense.  

Simple Possession of Cocaine

Simple Possession of Cocaine is defined in S.C. Code 44-53-370(d)(3) and means possession of 1 gram or less of cocaine.  The punishment for Possession of Cocaine is as follows:

  • For a 1st offense, the person is guilty of a misdemeanor and must not be imprisoned more than three year or fined more than $5,000 or BOTH.  
  • For a 2nd offense,the person is guilty of a felony and must not be imprisoned more than five years or fined more than $7,500 or BOTH.  
  • For a 3rd offense, For a 2nd offense,the person is guilty of a felony and must not be imprisoned more than ten years or fined more than $12,500 or BOTH.  

Simple Possession of Meth

Simple Possession of Methamphetamine or Cocaine Base is defined in S.C. Code 44-53-375(A) and means possession of 1 gram or less of methamphetamine or cocaine base (crack cocaine).  The punishment for Possession of Methamphetamine or Cocaine Base is as follows:

  • For a 1st offense, the person is guilty of a misdemeanor and must not be imprisoned more than three year or fined more than $5,000 or BOTH.  
  • For a 2nd offense,the person is guilty of a felony and must not be imprisoned more than five years or fined more than $7,500 or BOTH.  
  • For a 3rd offense, For a 2nd offense,the person is guilty of a felony and must not be imprisoned more than ten years or fined more than $12,500 or BOTH.  

Need help with your simple possession case?

As you can see, drug offenses can cause many problems for a person.  A conviction for a drug offense is not just being convicted of the offense, there can be collateral consequences as well.  In addition, if a person is convicted of a drug offense, it can cause the penalties to be more severe if he/she ever reoffends.  It is very important to contact a criminal attorney as soon as possible if you find yourself facing a drug charge.

Questions? Speak With Mandy

Dial (843) 970-2929