There is no denying that the whole country is going through a difficult period concerning opioids. This epidemic is a serious situation that tears families apart and ruins lives. While it is very easy to believe that it is not happening in your backyard, the reality is that Florence, South Carolina, is not immune to it. Looking at the statistics from Florence County in 2016 show a sad story about how opioids are affecting your community.
Just because a person is arrested and even convicted of a crime in South Carolina does not mean they should not have future opportunities to get their life back on track. After a person has served a jail sentence or completed any other portion of their consequences in connection with a criminal conviction, their ability to get a job can be hindered by the very fact that they have a criminal conviction on their record.
People in South Carolina who are facing criminal charges might feel they are in a tough situation, but it is important that they and others remember that defendants do have rights. These rights are present even before an arrest takes place. For example, it is not legal for police officers to just barge into someone's home and conduct a search of the premises without a search warrant or appropriate legal cause.
It is frustrating for residents of South Carolina to read of others who seemingly have made crime pay. Wall Street brokers who may benefit from insider trading. Business owners who launder drug money, drug traffickers, and any number of additional crimes that occur on a daily basis. One tool law enforcement agencies use to combat the appearance that crime does indeed pay—and pay well in some cases—is asset forfeiture statutes.
People in South Carolina know that despite growing concerns about an opioid epidemic and other drug addition and abuse issues, there can still be a strong contingent of people who seem to revel in stories of officers coming down hard on defendants suspected of being involved in illegal drug activity. This group of people and others, however, should be aware that regardless of a situation, officers are supposed to follow the law when it comes to searching and entering a personal residence.
Over recent years, it has become clear that the nation is undergoing modifications in regard to its drug laws. As the opioid crisis has caused the country to reassess the ways it views certain substances, marijuana has all but quietly stepped into the picture. South Carolina may still be in a state of limbo when it comes to marijuana laws, but many experts see changes on the horizon.
In 2010, reports indicate that only 10 states in the nation had higher incarceration rates than South Carolina. That year criminal justice reform efforts began and today the state's incarceration rate has improved from number 11 to number 19. In addition, seven prisons that were previously in use are no longer and as many as 6,000 fewer people overall are incarcerated in South Carolina compared to 2007.
People in South Carolina who have been arrested may well know that their ultimate arrests might have little or nothing to do with the original reason that law enforcement officers initially approached them. Even though that can happen it is also important for people to know that their rights should always be protected and any investigation or search process should respect those rights and follow the laws associated with those.
Have you or a family member been arrested in South Carolina and charged with a criminal drug offense? If so, you may understandably be upset and one of the concerns on your mind might be how your life will be impacted with a criminal conviction on your record. You will be pleased to know that there may be an opportunity to avoid having a permanent criminal conviction on your record if you are eligible for what is called a drug diversion program.
Across the United States, many individual states have allowed the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes for some time now. A few other states have even legalized the use of marijuana for recreational purposes. Thus far in South Carolina, there are no legally recognized uses for marijuana. However, this is something that may change if one State Senator is able to be successful in getting a bill passed and enacted.