Not everyone accused of selling marijuana here in South Carolina faces the same type of charges. Some are charged with standard drug distribution. Others, however, are charged with drug trafficking. Which type of charge a person is facing matters greatly, as trafficking carries much harsher penalties.
The main factor that determines whether individuals accused of selling marijuana would face drug trafficking charges rather than standard distribution charges in the state is how much marijuana they are accused of selling.
Under state drug laws, selling marijuana rises to being the crime of marijuana trafficking when the amount sold is 10 pounds or more.
Big fines and long prison sentences can come out of a conviction on a marijuana trafficking charge. Just how long and how big depends on the amount of marijuana a person was found to have sold and whether this was a first or a repeat offense.
The possible maximum fine for trafficking ranges from $10,000 for a first offense of selling at least 10 pounds but under 100 pounds to $200,000 for selling at least 10,000 pounds.
Meanwhile, the prison sentencing range goes from one to 10 years for a first offense of selling at least 10 pounds but under 100 pounds to 25 to 35 years for selling 10,000 pounds or more.
So, being accused of selling marijuana in South Carolina takes on a whole new level of seriousness when the amount a person is accused of selling is enough to expose him or her to trafficking charges. Many different things can impact what defense options a person would have when facing such charges. Defense attorneys can advise individuals charged with drug trafficking on what routes are available to them.