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South Carolina Criminal Defense Law Blog

Defending against drug charges in South Carolina

If police discover the presence of a controlled substance in an individual's car during a routine traffic stop, then the person could be arrested on drug related charges. Depending on the type and amount of drugs found by police, the drug charges could range from minor to serious.

Typically, when police discover a large amount of drugs, they will try to elevate the charges from simple possession to full-blown drug trafficking or drug distribution. Such elevated drug charges must be taken seriously because they could result in years behind bars if the person is convicted of the allegations. Drug charges related to simple possession of a small amount of drugs could also land a person behind bars, but it is more likely that the person will face lesser punishments like probation or community service.

Criminal charges involving underage drinking and driving

The legal age for drinking in every state is 21. However, just like in other states, many South Carolina teenagers and individuals under the age of 21 engage in the act of drinking alcohol. Parents do their best to prevent their children from drinking, but law enforcement officials know that parents cannot be in charge of their children 24 hours a day. Police are actively on patrol looking for underage individuals who are drinking -- particularly those who are drinking and driving.

Because it is illegal for people under 21 to drink, when they are also drinking and driving, more stringent laws and punishments will apply to them. For example, did you know that an under-21-year-old can be arrested and charged with DUI if his or her blood alcohol level tests at just 0.2 percent? This means that a young driver could get arrested after just a single beer.

The importance of hiring a defense attorney

For South Carolina residents who have been charged with a criminal violation, it will be important to consult with a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. A qualified legal professional can inform of your rights in a way that is easy to understand. He or she can also tell you what you can expect during the different stages of the criminal process. More importantly, though, a lawyer can help you evaluate the best courses of action to take during the litigation of your case.

When you are shopping for an attorney, you will want to investigate your attorney's background. As such, it will be important to look at the attorney's past experience and knowledge on the topic of your charges and skill level.

Underage drinking: What are zero tolerance laws?

Zero tolerance laws apply to underage drinkers in all states throughout the nation, including South Carolina. In most states, the blood alcohol limit used to establish drunk driving is 0.08 percent. However, zero tolerance laws apply to underage drinkers, and a person under the age of 21 could be charged with Driving Under the Influence if they have a much lower blood alcohol content.

In South Carolina, the blood alcohol limit for underage drivers is 0.02 percent. That means that a 20-year-old driver could get arrested on DUI charges after drinking less than a single beer. It is important for all underage drinkers to be aware of these zero tolerance laws so they can plan ahead and avoid driving after ingesting any amount of alcohol.

Policeman shoots man while giving citation for seatbelt violation

Usually, a South Carolina traffic stop is nothing more than a police officer issuing a warning or a ticket. While the resulting tickets can be costly and can result in litigation and criminal defense proceedings, usually no bodily harm comes to the person who was pulled over. However, in a recent incident, a routine traffic stop turned violent when a highway patrol officer shot a driver for no apparent reason.

Video footage taken from a police cruiser dashboard camera shows everything that took place last week when the driver was shot. Allegedly, the unarmed driver was pulled over for a simple seat belt violation. The man can be seen getting out of his vehicle, and then returning to get his identification out of his vehicle when asked to do so by the officer. The officer then fired his weapon four times while yelling at the man to get out of his car.

Criminal defense for out-of-state drivers

When an out-of-state driver is ticketed in South Carolina, he or she can face the risk of stiff penalties – especially if the driver has a commercial driver's licenses. Those with commercial driver's licenses could have their driving privileges revoked. They could also face rising insurance costs.

While most ticketed out of-state drivers will simply pay the fines associated with their tickets, others may wish to hire an experienced attorney who deals with traffic ticket defense. The Lord Law Firm specializes in the area criminal defense relating to traffic violations. We can help you try to avoid some of the stiffer penalties associated with getting a serious traffic ticket in South Carolina.

What are some differences in juvenile cases in South Carolina?

In South Carolina, any minors who have been charged with crimes should definitely know the differences between juvenile cases and adult criminal cases. In many ways, these proceed in the same fashion, but there are absolutely some key differences to note. These include, but are not limited to, the following:

For one thing, the main goal of the adult justice system is simply to provide sentences that fit the crime. While the juvenile system also does this, there is a sense that the underlying goal is not just to punish the person but to help with rehabilitation. This focus exists because of the way that young people are still learning and developing.

The consequences of an underage drinking and driving conviction

If a South Carolina resident or tourist visiting our state who is under the age of 21 is caught drinking by authorities, he or she could be charged with a crime. If the individual also happens to be driving, the penalties for underage drinking and driving are even more severe. Indeed, the laws and punishments associated with underage DUI in this state are more stringent than those that apply to adults 21 and up.

An underage drinking and driving conviction could result in a lot of negative consequences. For example, a parent's son or daughter could lose eligibility for financial aid in college. Future job opportunities could also be jeopardized as a result of such a conviction.

Common strategies employed by drunk driving defense attorneys

Just because a South Carolina driver has been accused of drunk driving does not mean that he or she will be convicted or punished for the alleged crime. Indeed, a variety of drunk driving defenses might be applicable to an individual's case, which -- if used successfully in court -- could help the individual get his or her charges dropped or dismissed.

One common defense that is used by those accused of drunk driving is that of "necessity." The necessity defense seeks to prove that the allegedly inebriated person had no choice but to drive while intoxicated. For example, it may have been necessary to operate a vehicle in order to transport a sick person to the hospital. In this defense, it must be shown that the dangers associated with driving drunk were a great deal less serious than what would have happened otherwise.

South Carolina man arrested on drug crime charges

A South Carolina man from Fort Mill was recently taken into custody by Rock Hill police officers. The 23-year-old man was arrested on multiple drug charges after he was pulled over for allegedly failing to use his turn signal.

Police say that they pulled the man over and asked him to produce his driver's license. Upon reviewing the identification, authorities say they discovered it was suspended. Police claim that they later found a clear plastic baggie filled with approximately 11.7 grams of marijuana. They also say they found hydrocodone pills and a digital scale -- all of these items were allegedly found in the man's vehicle.

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