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South Carolina Criminal Defense Law Blog

Vital drunk driving statistics

Drunk driving accidents happen every day in South Carolina and the rest of the United States. Sometimes, simply knowing the facts and figures relating to drunk driving is enough to motivate people to avoid drinking and driving. However, no matter how careful one is when out with friends, it is still quite easy to mistakenly get behind the wheel when you think it is still safe to drive.

Believe it or not, an average of 30 people are killed every single day in the United States after being involved in a drunk driving-related automobile crash. A total of 10,322 DUI-related fatalities happened in 2012, representing about 31 percent of traffic deaths that year.

What are the punishments related to a cocaine-related drug crime?

A large portion of cocaine-related arrests in South Carolina happen after police perform a routine traffic stop. During a traffic stop, if police have reason to suspect a driver may have contraband materials inside his or her automobile, they can order a search of the car. This is when authorities might discover drugs like cocaine inside the vehicle.

Individuals who are arrested and accused of cocaine possession, may wish to familiarize themselves with the law and potential punishments associated with this drug crime.

Is South Carolina doing enough to prevent drinking and driving?

Approximately 35 years ago, a devastated mother created an extremely successful grassroots advocacy group called Mothers Against Drunk Driving. In order to mark its 35th anniversary this year, the group created a new national slogan that reads, "No More Victims." The group has also published statistics on each state's drunk driving fatality rate.

Unfortunately, South Carolina ranks the highest out of all other states in drunk driving fatalities. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2013 statistics show that 335 people died in DUI-related traffic crashes that year.

Is marijuana possession still a drug crime in South Carolina?

A lot of people are asking if South Carolina will jump on the bandwagon and legalize marijuana for medicinal and recreational purposes like other states have. As it stands, this has yet to occur in South Carolina and the possession, sale and trafficking of marijuana is still considered a drug crime. Since marijuana is classified as a narcotic and a controlled substance in our state, it is important that everyone is fully aware of the laws that pertain to the substance.

In South Carolina, possession of marijuana is considered to be a misdemeanor if the amount is under one ounce. Someone convicted of possessing under one ounce of marijuana could face a short jail sentence ranging from 30 days to one year and/or fines ranging from $100 up to $2,000. The length of the jail sentence and/or the size of the fine can change within this range depending on if it is the first, second or third such offense.

What are the marijuana drug laws and penalties in South Carolina?

In South Carolina, as in other states, the penalties for marijuana vary depending on many factors, like how much of the drug you have in your possession and how many offenses you have on your record. It is a good idea to know what some of the most basic penalties are, which are listed below.

If you have one ounce of marijuana or less, this is going to be a simple possession charge. If it is your first offense, you could see jail time, but it will not exceed 30 days, or you could be given a fine that ranges from $100 to $200. If it is your second offense or a subsequent one, your jail time cannot exceed a year, and the fine will range from $200 to $1,000.

Avoid drunk driving charges this holiday season

The best way to avoid a drunk driving charge is to avoid getting behind the wheel of an automobile after you have been drinking. However, some South Carolina residents find themselves in situations where it is difficult to determine whether they are sober enough to drive. Indeed, there is a line when it comes to drinking and driving, and sometimes individuals are not sure whether they have crossed it.

Driving after consuming alcohol always comes with risks because even with a small amount of alcohol in your system, it can affect the smell of your breath. If a police officer pulls you over and suspects you have indeed been drinking, then you may be subjected to a breathalyzer test and field sobriety tests.

What are the laws governing drunk driving in South Carolina?

Those who are convicted of drunk driving in South Carolina face the threat of jail time, suspension of driving privileges, steep fines and having ignition interlock devices installed in their vehicles. A drunk driving conviction can also result in the need to complete drug safety and alcohol safety programs.

Due to the stiff penalties associated with a drunk driving offense -- and the fact that it is one of the most common criminal offenses that South Carolina residents are charged with -- it is important that every South Carolina driver familiarize him- or herself with the laws associated with this offense.

Defending against drugged driving charge in South Carolina

Individuals who are pulled over by police in South Carolina and charged with drugged driving face some pretty hefty consequences if they are convicted of the crime. That said, not everyone who is charged with a criminal violation is found guilty. Indeed, by employing various criminal defense techniques, individuals can try to better their situation in the eyes of the law. In some cases, they can even get their charges dropped, dismissed or obtain a verdict of not guilty.

In order to have a greater chance at achieving positive results in your criminal defense, you will want to have a qualified and experienced criminal defense attorney on your side. Indeed, a criminal defense attorney will know where to look in order to identify and make use of any weaknesses in the persecution's version of the facts. Your defense attorney will also try to suppress any evidence that could be used to incriminate you.

DUI checkpoints and underage drinking in South Carolina

Police in South Carolina are increasingly using DUI checkpoints and roadside safety checks to find and identify drivers they suspect of drunk driving. Adults over the age of 21 and teenagers alike can get stopped and arrested at these checkpoints if police believe they are inebriated. While underage drinking and driving charges often come with the threat of stiffer punishment than over-21 drinking and driving charges, both of these kinds of arrests tend to happen in the same way.

DUI checkpoints are most prevalent around major holidays, when drinking and driving is more likely to occur at holiday parties. During these times, police will set up a roadblock at a major intersection and randomly stop oncoming vehicles. They might stop one out of 10 drivers, for example, and look for signs of inebriation.

Proof of drunkenness in a South Carolina DUI case

Drunk driving allegations are extremely serious, but just because you are accused of driving while inebriated does not mean that you are actually guilty of the crime. Indeed, in the state of South Carolina, no one will ever be found guilty of any crime until -- and only if -- that individual is proved to be so beyond reasonable doubt in a court of law. For this reason, it is important to know some of the most common factors that courts consider before they make a drunk driving conviction.

The most critical element in any drunk driving case involves the allegations that the defendant was inebriated. It is sometimes difficult for the prosecution to prove that an individual was actually drunk while driving a motor vehicle, but there are some common facts that will be used to prove inebriation. Police will use testimony relating to the unusual way that an individual might have been operating his or her vehicle. They will use testimony about the driver's physical appearance and conduct. They will use testimony about the way the driver completed field sobriety tests. They will also use photographs, film and tapes to back up the above testimony. Incriminating statements that the driver makes during his or her interactions with police may also be used.

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