Mount Pleasant South Carolina Criminal Defense Blog

The legal implications of the dark web

The dark web is an encrypted portion of the internet that can only be reached by those who have access to the Tor browser. Typically, it is used by those in South Carolina and elsewhere who are looking to purchase controlled substances or engage in other illegal activities. Transactions are often conducted using Bitcoin or other types of cryptocurrency. However, is generally not illegal simply to access this portion of the internet.

In some cases, it can be used as a means of skirting media bans in authoritarian countries or as a way for whistleblowers to share information. It is also important to note that making a purchase using Bitcoin is not illegal on its own. Common types of illegal transactions that occur on encrypted web sites include murders for hire, extortion and illicit arms deals. As these transactions occur on encrypted sites, it may be difficult for authorities to prove that a specific person engaged in a criminal activity.

A roadside breath test may be refused

South Carolina has vigorously promoted a zero-tolerance approach to DUI, and while everyone has a shared interest in roadway safety, there are legal issues to consider when police agencies ramp up their law enforcement efforts. Initially, it must be recognized that for most drivers, it is not illegal to drive with any measurable amount of alcohol in their system but only if their blood alcohol content is greater than 0.08. Often, a more salient legal issue is the manner in which the police stop the suspected drunk driver and the justification for it.

In many instances, when the police suspect a driver of DUI, a stop is conducted ostensibly for some other reason, such as a traffic stop for a minor violation or equipment failure such as a broken light. If there is no pretense for the stop and it is based solely on DUI, the police must have some articulable suspicion that the driver was in fact under the influence. DUI experts may explain that this is a lower legal standard than the probable cause that is required for an arrest.

How to spot a catfishing scam

Catfishing can be more than gathering the main course for your dinner. When someone catfishes you, they usually do so by creating a fake online identity, complete with a false alias and pictures. These criminals often target people looking for romance and defraud their victims out of money.

The FBI reported that these scams resulted in losses of over $230 million in 2016. No one likes having someone deceive them, but no one likes becoming a victim of fraud even more. Fortunately, the FBI has also conducted research on catfishing scams and identified ways for you to identify a con before it’s too late.

Men sentenced in cocaine-related charges

A 31-year-old man has been sentenced to 22 years in prison by a federal court in South Carolina on drug-related charges. He will then have five years of supervised release. The federal system does not allow for parole. The man also agreed to forfeiture of several pieces of property, including jewelry, two vehicles and $500,000.

Several months earlier, the man pleaded guilty to conspiring to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute cocaine. According to law enforcement, the man led a cocaine trafficking organization that involved getting cocaine from Atlanta, distributing it and collecting proceeds. Furthermore, law enforcement said the man maintained his status through various means, including intimidation and violence. As part of the investigation, law enforcement seized cocaine, crack cocaine, marijuana, heroin, guns, vehicles, jewelry and cash.

Five most common computer crimes

Computer crime encompasses a wide range of criminal activity that is done through digital technology. Cybercrime is a growing threat to U.S. citizens. Last year, 71% of U.S. citizens reported that they were afraid of falling victim to cybercrime and nearly 30% were affected by data breaches.

In order to help keep your data safe, note the top five most common crimes.

Identity theft and the law

Some South Carolina residents might have experienced identity theft when another person stole their credit card data, Social Security number, or other information. With this kind of information, it is possible to apply for credit cards or take other actions using another person's identity.

In 1998, Congress passed the Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act, which made identity theft a federal crime. One of the cases that influenced Congress in this was a man who ran up more than $100,000 in credit card debt in someone else's name. The man also got a federal home loan and purchased houses, handguns and more. He paid no restitution and was only briefly incarcerated for the crime of making a false statement in order to get a firearm.

What pre-trial motions might accomplish

Before a DUI case goes to trial in South Carolina or anywhere else, a pre-trial motion may be considered by a judge. The motion may ask that certain evidence be suppressed or cover any other concerns that an attorney may have. In some cases, a request will be made to drop the matter altogether. The prosecution in a DUI case can also make motions before a trial to limit the type of evidence that can be introduced at trial.

An attorney could ask that evidence be excluded because a defendant wasn't read his or her rights prior to it being discovered. An exclusion request could also be made on grounds that a test was performed improperly or that a search was performed illegally. If a defendant has had previous DUI convictions, the penalties for a subsequent conviction could be increased.

Reasonable suspicion required for most DUI stops

People in South Carolina may wonder when police have the right to pull people over if they suspect someone is driving while under the influence. In general, police can only stop drivers if they have some kind of reasonable suspicion of a crime. There are exceptions to this rule; while controversial, sobriety checkpoints have been upheld in most states as an exception to the rule so long as all drivers passing by a specific area are checked for drunk driving.

Reasonable suspicion essentially means the police officer must have a belief that some sort of crime has taken place. That suspicion of a crime can include the suspicion of DUI. When reasonable suspicion is present, police can pull someone over and briefly examine the situation; if they still suspect drunk driving, they can perform a breath test or a field sobriety test. There are a number of factors police can consider to be reasonable suspicion that someone might be driving under the influence, including a driver making illegal turns, weaving from one lane to another, almost hitting other cars, driving extremely slowly or stopping for no reason.

South Carolina DUI laws are tough, but you have options

Being pulled over on suspicion of DUI can be embarrassing, stressful, and scary.

The harsh flashing lights, the close watch on your every move, and the invasive-feeling questions can seem like you’re in an interrogation room. You might be asked to blow into a device to test your breath.

Beware of credit letter scams

Have you checked your email’s spam folder? Chances are high that it is ripe with emails about a Saudi prince wishing to gift you a chunk of their fortune or an investment opportunity from someone you’ve never heard of that misspelled your name. It seems that new scams are popping up every day.

One type of scam that has gained steam in recent years are standby letters of credit (SBLC) fraud. An SBLC works similarly to a loan but you provide the collateral to the lender upfront to minimize the risk to the lender if you don’t pay back the SBLC.

    1. Charleston County | Bar Association
    2. South Carolina Association of criminal Defense Lawyers
    3. Rated By Super Lawyers | Rising Stars | Cameron J.Blazer | Superlawyers.com
    4. South Carolina Bar
    5. Liberty Fellowship
    1. Aspen Global Leadership Network | The Aspen Institute
    2. Justice 360 | Advancing Equality in the justice System
    3. Jefferson Awards Foundation
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