Florence Criminal Defense Law Blog

Woman arrested for alleged impaired operation of toy

People who live in South Carolina know that operating a motor vehicle while impaired by either alcohol or drugs is against the law and may find them facing a criminal charge for operating a vehicle while under the influence. This type of charge may also be faced for alleged impaired operation of a boat. A recent incident in Walhalla raises new questions about what may be considered a motor vehicle under the law regarding these types of charges.

As reported by Fox News, police stopped a woman who was driving a toy truck one day. It is not clear what made them stop her as the report does not indicate she was driving erratically or unsafely. At any rate, she was pulled over and believed to be under the influence of some type of drug, perhaps a narcotic. The woman, who is 25 years old, is said to have indicated she was driving the truck as part of her training for wrestling.

College pranks can lead to criminal actions

College students who are trying to find their way often make mistakes. Unfortunately, this can sometimes lead to serious legal problems because they might not think through whether certain actions are legal. There are several things that college students might do that will require them to defend themselves in court.

The laws in South Carolina cover a variety of things for which college students can get into trouble. Even some common college pranks are covered here.

Oconee County authorities respond to unique incident

Law enforcement authorities in Florence take drunk driving cases very seriously (as they should). The impairments that set in after one has consumed alcohol can make them dangerous to others should they choose to get behind the wheel while intoxicated. Officials have a responsibility to protect the public if and when a person is indeed proven to have engaged in such reckless behavior. At the same time, authorities are also asked to understand that not every suspected DUI case is the same, and oftentimes, following what may be viewed as protocols may leave one facing charges that their actions do not warrant. 

That the case of a local woman who recently had a run-in with Oconee County Sheriff's deputies. The police received a call about a person displaying suspicious behavior, and upon arriving on the scene, encountered the woman driving while appearing to also be under the influence of either drugs or alcohol. What was unique about this particular incident was the woman's vehicle: a motorized Power Wheels truck. The toy vehicle reportedly has a maximum speed of only 5 mph, yet still the woman was found driving down the middle of the road over a mile away from her home. 

Loss of driving privileges in South Carolina

If you are licensed to drive in the state of South Carolina, you may likely know that the Department of Motor Vehicles has the right to rescind your driving privileges in some situations. There are several different violations or reasons that may lead this to happen. However, it is important for you to know that the loss of your driving privileges may take many forms. As explained by the South Carolina Code of Laws, a driver's license may be suspended, revoked or cancelled.

If you are told that your license is going to be suspended, that means you will be unable to drive for a temporary period of time. The length of time that your suspension may last will vary based in part on the violation that led to the suspension. Once the suspension term is over, your license and your driving privileges may be able to be reinstated. 

York County teen faces misdemeanor charges in runaway case

The hope is that teens in Florence gain the experience needed to successfully deal with life's challenges without having to learn those lessons the hard way. Yet oftentimes, teens simply lack the comprehension and discernment needed to fully understand the implications of their actions. While such actions may indeed fit the definition of criminal activity, oftentimes the teens accused of committing them display no criminal intent. Rather, they simply may view what they do as harmless actions that cause no distress to others or as then simply trying to help out their friends when they are in need. 

The latter may have served as justification for a York County teen who was recently arrested on misdemeanor charges stemming from a runaway case. Authorities say that he aided and encouraged a pregnant 16-year-old to run away from home, even to the point of harboring her during her time away from home. He now faces charges of harboring a runaway and contributing to the delinquency of minor, both of which could send him to prison for several years. His relationship to the girl (as well as any ties he may have to her unborn child) were not revealed. 

Lawsuits continue against drug company

Across the nation and in South Carolina, too many people continue to struggle with the challenges of drug addiction. This serious health problem often contributes to and is associated with criminal activity as good people are fueled to take steps that may be illegal in order to feed their addictions. For many of these people, their drug addictions can be linked to legal, prescription medications. Opioids are a type of drug used generally to control serious pain but, over the years, the prescribing of these drugs has spiraled out of control.

As reported by CNBC, an estimated 218,000 people lost their lives due to drug overdoses connected with opioid drugs between 1999 and 2017. One of the opioid drugs that many assert has been over-prescribed is OxyContin. This drug was first introduced in 1996 and is manufactured by Pharma Purdue.

Is Emma's law effective at preventing drunk driving deaths?

Named after a six-year-old girl who died in a collision with an alleged drunk driver, Emma's Law has been in effect in South Carolina since 2014. The purpose was to prevent repeat DUI offenses by requiring many drivers convicted of drunk driving for the first time to purchase and install an ignition interlock device on their vehicles. 

The law is supposed to work this way: Following your drunk driving conviction, the court orders installation of the device on your vehicle. Before you can start your car, you have to blow into the device, which then analyzes your breath and prevents you from starting your vehicle if your blood alcohol is above the device's set limit of 0.02. Though celebrated at the time as a life-saving measure, critics now claim that Emma's Law has too many loopholes to be effective.

Impaired driving can come from medications and drugs

College students sometimes use medications and other substances to cope with the stresses of student life. While this might not be an issue alone, it can become a major problem if you take anything and then drive. You might believe that impaired driving is limited to alcohol, but this isn't the case.

It is possible to face criminal charges if you are impaired for any reason when you are driving. Alcohol is easy to prove because of the blood alcohol concentration tests. Other substances might be harder to prove but this doesn't mean it is impossible.

Son of district official charged in school vandalism

While it is always difficult when a teenager faces misdemeanor criminal charges in South Carolina, it can complicate matters even further when the adolescent is the child of officials within the community. Fairly or unfairly, the community holds the child to a higher standard because of who his or her parents are. The same principle holds true in North Carolina, where the 18-year-old son of a school district chairman recently became one of five individuals charged with vandalism of the local high school. 

A statement from a school spokesperson describes vandalism on both the exterior and interior of the 98-year-old building. The former includes a courtyard strewn with toilet paper, while the latter includes spray paint on interior doors, vegetable oil spread on historic hardwood floors and super-glue in door locks. The estimated cost to correct the damage is $7,300. 

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.