Florence Criminal Defense Law Blog

Drug charges follow refusal to move golf cart in South Carolina

An arrest for a lesser charge can sometimes prompt a search that could turn up drugs or paraphernalia, leading to more severe penalties. This appears to be what happened in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, when authorities arrested a man allegedly blocking the bike lane and part of the roadway on Ocean Boulevard with a rented golf cart containing himself and three passengers. 

Golf carts are street legal in South Carolina on roads with a speed limit of 35 miles per hour or less, and only during daylight hours. However, these conditions apply only to licensed drivers over the age of 16. Unlicensed drivers, and those under age 16, cannot operate a golf cart on the street under any circumstances.

How did the opiate crisis begin?

No state in the country, including South Carolina, is immune to the horrifying opioid crisis. With people dying daily from these drugs, it is amazing to see so many people still addicted. You may wonder how this crisis began and why so many people seem to be using opioids. You are not alone. Many people want to know why this is happening. To find the answer, you need to look way back to the 1990s.

According to the National Capital Poison Center, the opioid epidemic began in the early '90s when doctors increased the number of prescriptions for this class of drugs. They were being encouraged by pharmaceutical companies that promised the drugs were safe with little addiction risk. Of course, this was incorrect, and soon addiction and overdoses happened at alarming rates.

Are designated drivers always a safe choice?

Whether you are going out to have dinner and drinks with friends or you are headed out for a night out on the town, it may be a good idea to bring a designated driver. Although designated drivers are considered part of the group, it is understood that they will not drink any alcoholic beverages. This person will then be the one who drives everyone safely to their destination. While you may feel comfortable and safe getting into a car with a designated driver, studies show that these drivers may not be as safe as some may think. In some cases, designated drivers may lead to a serious car accident.


The state's drunk driving stop and arrest process

Residents in South Carolina may hear a lot about how the state has strict laws regarding drunk driving but they may not fully understand what could be involved in a potential driving under the influence stop or subsequent arrest. It is important for drivers to know a bit about the process as it is possible for most any driver to be faced with a line of questioning from an officer who suspects the driver is impaired.

As reported recently by Greenville News, one thing drivers do need to remember is that it is not expressly illegal for them to operate a vehicle after having an alcoholic beverage. For drivers over the age of 20, they may consume alcohol and then drive so long as their blood alcohol level does not exceed 0.08%. For drivers between 16 and 20 years old, the threshold is 0.02%.

Why do underage university students drink alcohol?

Your child leaves for college, and all you can think about are those teen movies that show plenty of college freshman drinking and partying. Is that really what college is like in 2019? After all, roughly half of college students are still too young to drink, and underage drinking is still illegal, even if it's part of "college culture."

Your concern is that your child could make some poor decisions and get arrested. If that happens, will they get kicked out of school? Will they lose their scholarships? Will it impact their options for a future career? You know that college itself is a stepping stone toward success, but you do not want one mistake to derail all of that.

What is the difference between DUI and DUAC laws?

The drunk driving laws in South Carolina include two statutes, DUI and DUAC, which may be confusing. While you may face serious consequences for driving after drinking alcohol or using drugs, there are unique penalties that exist for different types of convictions. In South Carolina, the difference between DUI and DUAC charges depends mostly on blood alcohol content levels.

According to FindLaw, it is illegal for you to operate a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. You may incur a DUI charge if you show that drug or alcohol consumption has impaired your faculties to a material and appreciable extent. In many cases, a police officer may require you to complete a sobriety or blood alcohol content test if he or she pulls you over for driving under the influence. According to state law, driving in South Carolina implies that you give consent to submit to testing (through blood, breath or urine) for alcohol and drugs. If you refuse to take a BAC test, you may lose your license for at least 6 months.

What court will hear my case for a misdemeanor?

Misdemeanor charges are less serious criminal charges in South Carolina. They typically carry smaller penalties than felony charges. However, the same court may hear both types of cases. It often depends on the specific charge as to what court will hear your misdemeanor case. Knowing where you will go to court can help you to prepare better for your appearance.

The South Carolina Judicial Branch explains that there are three types of courts that hear misdemeanor cases. If your charge carries a maximum penalty of less than 30 days and a fine of less than $500, your case will probably go to a magistrate or municipal court. These may be located in the courthouse or in another location as they are smaller courts that do not hear as many cases as the higher courts.

7-month South Carolina drug investigation results in 45 charged

Charleston County, South Carolina, ranked as the deadliest in the state for overdoses of heroin and other opioids, with more than 140 deaths, in 2017. Authorities regard the fatal overdose rate as a "massive crisis." So when tips came in to law enforcement from locals seven months ago regarding narcotics-related issues, including suspected drug houses in the community, they prompted the formation of a large investigation into drug suppliers that spanned three counties and involved authorities at the federal level as well as local levels. As of Tuesday, law enforcement has arrested and charged 45 people as a result of the investigation. Three of those cases are reportedly tied to Charleston County overdose fatalities.

Though concentrated in the counties of Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester, the probe reached far beyond their borders to implicate Mexican drug cartels and at least one individual in Texas. It is unclear whether this individual was one of the 45 charged in connection with the investigation. Authorities claim that the investigation did not target street-level dealers or addicts; rather, they reportedly focused their efforts on major drug distributors. 

What happens if you are pulled over for a DUI?

An arrest for driving under the influence in South Carolina has the potential to affect your future in significant ways, but what happens in the moments immediately after a law enforcement officer pulls you over for potential DUI? According to the Greenville News, the first step is to determine whether your blood alcohol concentration is beneath the legal limit of 0.08. To do this, the officer will conduct a series of field sobriety tests. These may include basic tests of motor skills and cognition. If you pass these tests, you are free to go.

If you fail the field tests, you will have to spend the night in jail, and law enforcement will move on to chemical testing of your breath and, possibly, urine. A urine test only occurs after a driver has failed a breath test, and it can take weeks to get the results back.

Types of drug charges vary depending on the circumstances

Drug charges in South Carolina have various impacts that can affect the remainder of your life. There are many different types of drug charges that a person can face, so you should understand some of the basic information about them.

One common misconception about these charges is that there are some that are minor. No matter what type of drug charge you are facing, it can still do harm as you get older. These charges remain on your criminal record for the rest of your life. You should take the time to learn a bit about the charges you are facing so that you can determine how to answer them.