FBI data shows high marijuana arrest rates in 2012

While many Americans would likely prefer law enforcement officers to focus their efforts on serious crimes, statistics show low-level drug offenses are often the target of police officers across the country.

Recently, the Federal Bureau of Investigation released statistics regarding the types of arrests that were made last year. According to the data, more people were arrested for marijuana possession in the United States in 2012 than for violent crimes. Based on the information from the FBI, 658,231 arrests were made for marijuana possession in the U.S. in 2012. Comparatively, just 521,196 arrests were made for a variety of violent crimes, including:

  • Murder.
  • Rape.
  • Robbery.
  • Aggravated assault.

Of all the drug arrests made in the United States each year, a significant portion are solely for marijuana-related crimes - despite the changing attitudes toward the controlled substance across the country. Last year, about 50 percent of all drug-related arrests were for marijuana offenses. In total, around 762,000 marijuana arrests were made in 2012, according to the FBI.

Fight marijuana charges in South Carolina

When someone is faced with marijuana charges, being aware of the potential consequences of a conviction is critical.

In South Carolina, the penalties for those facing charges of marijuana possession will vary depending on whether they have prior convictions. For instance, upon a first conviction for possessing one ounce of marijuana or less, an individual could face up to 30 days in jail and a fine of up to $200. In some case, if the individual participates in a pretrial intervention program, he or she may be granted a conditional release.

Upon subsequent convictions for possessing one ounce of marijuana or less, the penalties increase. In such cases, an individual could face up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.

The penalties are much more severe for those charged with the sale or trafficking of marijuana. In such cases, an individual may face felony charges, and the penalties will vary depending on the quantity of the substance found and whether the individual has prior convictions.

For instance, a first conviction for selling or trafficking between 10 to 100 pounds of marijuana can lead to a jail sentence between one to ten years and a fine of up to $10,000. Upon a third such offense, those convicted face a mandatory minimum jail sentence of 25 years and a fine of up to $25,000.

If you are currently facing marijuana charges in South Carolina, you should be aware of your rights. Consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney to ensure a strong defense is established on your behalf.