Florence Criminal Defense Law Blog

The complex system of misdemeanor charges

Misdemeanor charges can be serious, but are not as crucial as felonies, which involve more complicated and expensive procedures. In South Carolina, the court system divides misdemeanor charges in three separate categories, and each category consists of its own complex set of rules. 

The Misdemeanor Guide explains the details of misdemeanor charges. According to the guide, the first offense of a crime is a misdemeanor, the second offense is a Class C misdemeanor and the third offense is called a Class A misdemeanor. If a fourth offense or more occurs, the justice system considers the crime a Class F felony. Those charged with a misdemeanor typically serve time in a country jail instead of prisons. The most severe type of misdemeanor in South Carolina is a Class A misdemeanor, in which an individual must serve no more than three years in a county jail facility. There are a number of exceptions to these categories, as some misdemeanors can result in a ten-year prison sentence. Although these sentences are rare, misdemeanors can, in fact, carry a felony conviction.

Springfield police chief arrested over unpaid funds to deputies

If there was any demographic that people in Florence would believe to be the least likely to be involved in criminal activity, it may be law enforcement officials. However, stories of police officers being arrested are not uncommon. This may not necessarily signify an increased propensity amongst police to break the law, however, but rather an indication of how easy it may be for one’s unintentional errors or mishandling of a matter to result in criminal charges. People may make errors in judgment in their professional or personal lives all the time. Law enforcement officers may just happen to be in position where there mistakes are more likely to get them into hot water legally.

A Springfield police chief was recently arrested on a misdemeanor charge of public official misconduct, which could potentially see him spending a year in prison as well as owing a $1,000 fine. His alleged crime? Stealing from his fellow officers. It is alleged that he kept money owed to other members of his office for off-duty jobs they had completed. The amount of money he allegedly kept was not disclosed.

The circumstances of a DUI can impact your defense options

Everyone makes mistakes every now and then. Some mistakes don't have long-lasting consequences. One mistake that can have long-term penalties, however, is driving home drunk.

If you are out drinking with the guys, hopefully you took the time to find a designated driver or to come up with a plan for getting home. If you didn't and find that you can't get home unless you drive, you might be in for a long legal journey.

Effects of prescription drug abuse

Prescription drug abuse has seen all-time high in recent years. The misuse of drugs such as opiods and benzodiazepines are only a few names in the world of drug abuse. In addition to the negative effects these chemicals can have on the body, prescription drug abuse has trickled into public health, social welfare, and even the outlook of future generations. Initially used for treatments such as the reducing of chronic pain and improving quality of life, prescription drugs have begun dominating South Carolina with crippling cases of dependence and addiction.  

The National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates that 1.9 million people in the United States suffered from substance use disorders related to prescription opiod pain medicines in 2013, with 517,000 suffering from a heroin use disorder. NIDA, along with National Institutes of Health, has partnered with the Secretary of Health and Human Services to address the issue of prescription drug abuse. Plans include research to improve opiod prescribing practices, strategies to make the opiod overdose reversal drug naloxone more accessible to those in need, and the development of new approaches to treatment with reduced potential for opiod misuse.  

Drug arrest derails teens planned Myrtle Beach trip

Teens in Florence can often be forgiven for exercising what some may term to be poor judgment due to their relative lack of experience and understanding. Often, their excitement and exuberance to fully participate in what may be perceived to be adult activities can cause them to overlook any potential consequences that they may face from engaging in them. Many often appreciate this fact, and hope that law enforcement officials will, as well. Yet the circumstances of an arrest may prompt authorities to forget this notion.

Law enforcement officials in North Carolina are currently facing a case challenging this notion following the arrest of three teens headed to Myrtle Beach. The teens embarked on their road trip after having graduated from high school in Virginia earlier this month. Their diversion was cut short, however, after authorities pulled them over for speeding and noticed the smell of marijuana emanating from their vehicle. A subsequent search revealed $3,600 in cash, drug paraphernalia, over three ounces of marijuana, more than 2 grams of cocaine, and countless liters of liquor and beer. The three now face an array of charges ranging from underage and unlawful possession to speeding and illegally transporting narcotics and alcohol. They revealed that the trip was a culmination of a year of planning, and that they had combined all of their resources to purchase the drugs and alcohol.

Understanding the nystagmus field sobrity test

Summer is in full swing now and it is not uncommon for South Carolina residents to be invited to backyard barbeques or outings at a local lake to gather with friends and family. Beer, wine or other alcoholic beverages may well be served as these events. Anyone who drives home after having a casual drink with friends should be keenly aware of the types of tests officers may ask you to participate in if they suspect you may be intoxicated or impaired while driving.

FieldSobrietyTests.org indicates that one of the tests used is called the horizontal gaze nystagmus test and is said to be 77-percent accurate. The nystagmus is an involuntary jerking motion of the eye that is believed to be accentuated if you have consumed alcohol. An officer would hold an object a foot or so in front of your eyes and move it side to side. You would need to follow it with only moving your eyes, not your head.

College students should fight any drug charges

If you're a college student facing drug charges in South Carolina, you need to consider your next steps carefully. If you do not fight the charges with every tool at your disposal, you may lose your education, your future job prospects and even your ability to find housing, among other things.

Maybe you think that the charges are not that big of a deal, or that everybody does drugs in college. While it is true that many people experiment with drugs as a part of their college experience, the situation changes the moment that you receive criminal charges.

What is the one-leg stand test?

When hearing about a person being arrested for drunk driving, a person in South Carolina may not always know exactly what transpires during this process. Certainly a driver's blood alcohol level may need to be obtained but that is not the only type of testing that may occur. The National Highway Traffic Safety Association has sanctioned three other tests for use during the investigation phase. According to FieldSobrietyTests.org, this battery of tests is not meant to prove that a person is intoxicated or determine a level of intoxication. Instead, the field sobriety tests are used to establish enough evidence to support a drunk driving arrest.

One of these tests is called the one-leg stand. It is only said to be 65-percent accurate. In this test, you could be asked to balance on one leg and count out loud. Your arms must remain firmly affixed to your sides. If you attempt to use your arms to balance or put your lifted foot down even for a moment, you may be at risk of failing this test.

How common is underage DUI?

When it comes to underage drunk driving, there are many issues to take into consideration. If you are a teen who was accused of this offense, or if your child is facing underage DUI charges, you may have a high level of anxiety and be unsure of what to do next. In Florence, and across all parts of South Carolina, these charges can upend a young person's life in many ways. For example, they may lose their driving privileges, face financial penalties and even spend time behind bars. Moreover, these charges could impact their performance in school, which highlights how important it is to deal with these charges appropriately.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated one out of each 10 high-schoolers operates a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. Although the number of teen drivers driving while drunk has gone down since 1991, a significant number of young people continue to face drunk driving charges after driving while intoxicated. There are many reasons why a teenager may get behind the wheel after consuming alcohol. For example, they may not be aware that it is against the law for them to drive after consuming a very small amount of alcohol. Or, perhaps they are pressured by their peers to drive drunk.

How drinking affects your ability to drive

If you are a resident of Florence, South Carolina, you are likely already aware that getting behind the wheel after you have been drinking can have serious consequences, including the possibility of being arrested. However, it may be helpful to understand how alcohol affects your body when you have been imbibing. At Parham Law Firm, LLC, we understand how important keeping your driver’s license is to you.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, alcohol affects you more dramatically as the number of drinks you consume increases. One drink is considered the equivalent of a five-ounce glass of wine or one 12-ounce beer.