Florence Criminal Defense Law Blog

A drug conviction can throw a wrench in your financial aid

There are certain criminal convictions that can damage your student financial aid. For example, a drug charge can seriously cost you when it comes to applying for federal loans to pay for tuition. Such a conviction can completely derail your academic career, especially if your university suspends you in addition to federal lenders denying your loan applications.

If a court in the Florence area has charged you with a drug crime and you are a student, your school year could be at risk if you receive a conviction. To find out more about how a drug conviction affects student aid, read further.

What kinds of prescriptions drugs are abused?

You may often associate addiction with illegal drugs. You can easily become addicted to prescription drugs, though. A previous blog discussed the hazards of abusing prescription drugs. This week's blog will focus on the kinds of drugs which are most often abused.

One class of drugs that is frequently abused is prescription opioids. The National Institute on Drug Abuse says that this kind of drug can be abused because it sometimes makes people experience euphoria. A prescription opioid might be called Codeine or Hydrocodone and you may receive this drug in the form of a liquid or a tablet. This prescription drug can be particularly dangerous if you mix it with alcohol, as your breathing and heart rate may sometimes slow down. As you go through withdrawal from a prescription opioid addiction, you might experience vomiting, restlessness and insomnia. You may sometimes be able to overcome this addiction with behavioral therapy or with a medication.

Obesity and field sobriety tests

Most people in South Carolina have likely heard or read headlines and stories about the problem of obesity facing our nation. In addition to concerns about people's health if they are overweight, there may also be concerns when it comes to criminal charges involving drunk driving. If you are carrying some extra pounds and are one of the many drivers who grabs a beer after work or enjoys a glass of wine when out to dinner and then drives home, you should learn about this.

As explained by FieldSobrietyTests.org, a drunk driving arrest investigation generally includes an officer administering tests at the location where you have been stopped. These tests are not meant or are not even able to prove that you are intoxicated but are instead meant to arm the officer with sufficient levels of evidence to support them placing you under arrest. Your body weight alone may be the reason you are unable to pass these tests, leading you to be arrested incorrectly.

Avoid letting a college pastime turn into a DUI

For you and many other South Carolina residents, the beginning of this school year has been an exciting and busy time. Life in college is different from life at home as a high school student. You are treated as an adult now, and you can take part in adult activities that may have been frowned upon when you lived at home – particularly social drinking. While our team at the Parham Law Firm, LLC, believe you should be able to have fun with your friends, we feel it is important to warn you about the risks you face when alcohol is involved.

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, about 60 percent of college students between the ages of 18 and 22 had alcohol at least once in the past month. Out of these, around two out of every three binge drank – or drank to excess. You should know that college drinking is not without consequences. Each year there are close to 1,825 student fatalities resulting from alcohol-related injuries, most notably from drunk driving. Thousands more are victims of physical or sexual assault stemming from students who are intoxicated.

Penalties for driving without a license

In South Carolina, it's illegal for someone to drive without a license on their person. But what are the exact penalties if a driver is caught without their license? Are these penalties serious?

First of all, Findlaw shows that many states differentiate between when a driver is operating a vehicle without proof of license, and when they're operating a vehicle without a license. The former occurs if a person is a registered driver. They have the proper licensing, and their license is not suspended, revoked, or expired. However, in the situation in which they've been pulled over, they simply forgot to bring their license or registration with them and aren't able to present it. On the other hand, driving with the knowledge that a license is suspended, revoked, or invalid is considered a misdemeanor. Jail time, vehicle impoundment, or tickets may be the result of this action.

Man successfully defends against DUI charge

South Carolina residents may understandably feel concerned that if they are arrested for and charged with a drunk driving offense. Reports about tough laws and harsh penalties seem to give little reason for people to believe they could successfully defend themselves against the charges. This is one reason that people need to be made aware of times when a defense does manage to lead to a person's charges being dropped or to a not guilty verdict.

One such case can be seen in a recent verdict handed down in Greenwood. The case started just over two years ago when the mayor of a town was arrested for drunk driving with a reported blood alcohol level of just 0.01 percent over the legal limit of 0.08 percent. The arrest actually happened almost in front of his home. There were two elements of the case that contributed to an ultimate not guilty verdict.

Be prepared for the festivities this holiday season

The Christmas season is full of parties and other events, many of which have alcoholic beverages offered. When you are heading out to party with your friends, you need to make sure that there is a designated driver in place who will see to it that everyone makes it home safely.

When you do go out this holiday season, avoid the temptation to drive home drunk. There is a good chance that a law enforcement officer will see that you are showing signs of impairment and pull you over.

Uniform traffic tickets in South Carolina

If you are a licensed driver in South Carolina, understanding the rules of the road is important for you. This involves having a good grasp on the types of citations that may be issued and what may lead to those. As explained by the South Carolina Legislature, a uniform traffic ticket may be issued for a myriad of reasons far beyond exceeding the speed limit or failing to make a complete stop at a stop sign.

What is referred to as the uniform traffic ticket may be given to people accused of littering, possessing or attempting to purchase wine or beer when only 20 years of age or younger, disorderly conduct, indecent exposure and even damaging a public highway. These are just some of the many offenses that may result in you being ticketed with this type of citation.

The cycle of drug addiction

Many people in South Carolina and around the nation have been hearing news reports lately about what many call the opioid epidemic. The country is finally starting to realize that all people who use drugs for other than intended medical purposes are not necessarily a bunch of criminals or losers. Instead, many of these people are simply ill and fighting an extremely difficult disease.

WebMD explains that drug addiction is literally a disease as the use of drugs over time can actually change the chemistry in the brain, thereby altering how the brain works. People who become addicted to drugs cannot control the cravings they develop to continue to use the drugs. These cravings can become so strong that people end up being motivated to find illegal ways to get drugs in some situations.

Drunk driving checkpoint viability questioned

Most people in South Carolina have seen or heard reports of checkpoints set up by police officers to try and catch alleged drunk drivers. These checkpoints are often set up at or near key holidays like New Year's Eve or Fourth of July. They may also be established at random times. This particular method of attempting to target people for specific violations has been the subject of some debate recently in neighboring North Carolina.

At one particular driving while intoxicated checkpoint in the middle of August, a total of 15 officers staffed the area over a span of five hours. The effort resulted in one drunk driving arrest. Another 42 drivers were cited or arrested for a variety of offenses ranging from expired vehicle license tags to outstanding warrants for their arrest.