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Rock Hill, South Carolina Criminal Defense Blog

Definitions of reckless homicide

If a person in South Carolina is facing charges of reckless homicide, that means the person may have caused another person's death through behaving recklessly. Reckless homicide falls under the larger umbrella of involuntary manslaughter charges.

Specific parameters around reckless homicide differentiate it from negligent homicide, murder or genuine accidents. First, it is necessary to prove that a person's death was caused by the defendant as a direct result of the defendant's reckless actions. Next, it is necessary to establish the defendant's actions as reckless. This means the defendant must have known at the time that the action could contribute to someone's injury or death but went ahead with the action anyway. Examples might include dropping a heavy object from a building to the sidewalk below or drinking and driving.

Making animal cruelty a federal crime

Cruelty against animals is currently a misdemeanor crime in many parts of the country. Those convicted of animal cruelty often face minor penalties, including small fines. However, some lawmakers hope to make this type of crime a felony across South Carolina and the rest of the U.S.

Two members of the House of Representatives, a Democrat and Republican, are pushing the effort to update animal cruelty laws. They proposed legislation called Preventing Animal Cruel and Torture (PACT) Act. Put forth near the end of January in 2019, the law proposes that different acts of cruelty would fall under the banner of federal crimes. Those acts include any type of sexual exploitation as well as suffocating and otherwise maiming or killing the animals.

Understanding identity theft

South Carolina residents can be charged with a number of white collar crimes. One of the most common is identity theft. This occurs when someone illegally obtains an individual's personal data and uses it to commit fraud, usually for financial gain or to get credit.

For example, an identity thief often steals Social Security numbers, bank account and credit card numbers, PIN numbers, mailing addresses or other types of personal data and uses the information to buy merchandise or open credit lines. Thieves can obtain the personal data by stealing mail, wallets and purses or by sifting through unshredded documents in someone's trash. Increasingly, they also obtain personal data by using the internet, credit card skimmers and other high-tech gadgets.

What teens should know about drug laws

Teenagers in South Carolina who share pills or other controlled substances with their friends could be labeled as drug dealers. If a person overdoses on a substance that a teen provides, that teenager could be charged with homicide. This is true whether the substances were given away freely or sold. In many cases, teenagers get drugs from friends who have access to them or by taking medication belonging to a parent or grandparent.

When a teen wants to buy a controlled substance, they will often pool money together with their friends to do so. According to a poll of high school students, 24 percent of respondents admitted to taking marijuana in the past year. Overall, the United States is the world's second-biggest consumer of cannabis.

What to know about drug offenses

Drug trafficking can occur in South Carolina and anywhere else in the world. It is considered a serious crime, and secondary crimes such as kidnapping or murder can occur during a drug trafficking operation. A variety of controlled substances from LSD to marijuana are produced, distributed and sold on a large scale. Many different agencies in the United States are tasked with investigating drug crimes such as trafficking.

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is the primary agency that looks to investigate and prevent drug crimes in America. It coordinates with a variety of sources such as local and state police and private citizens to carry out its investigations. Other agencies that help with drug crime investigations include the FBI and the ATF. In some cases, these agencies will work with Interpol to investigate and put a stop to drug crimes involving groups operating in multiple countries.

5 police mistakes that may help your criminal defense

If a prosecutor has charged you with a crime, your very existence may be in jeopardy. After all, depending on the offense, you could lose your job, freedom, civic rights or even your life. Whether you are guilty or innocent of the charges, you must fight aggressively to defend yourself. 

Defense attorneys use a variety of techniques to clear their clients’ names. Sometimes, though, lawyers receive a gift from law enforcement personnel. That is, if officers do not follow procedures, you may be able to use their mistakes to your advantage. Here are five common police errors that may help your criminal defense. 

Reckless homicide defined by ignoring obvious risks to others

The exact circumstances of a crime determine the selection of criminal charges in South Carolina. The intent and behavior of an individual accused of killing another person influence how a prosecutor applies a homicide charge. The term reckless homicide has been developed to describe deaths that arise from people who knowingly acted in an unsafe manner.

The law establishes recklessness by estimating whether an ordinary person would view the actions preceding the death as dangerous. A reckless act represents a conscious choice to deviate from the standards of care that individuals normally exercise toward each other.

Domestic violence charges are difficult to disprove

Violent crimes of any sort are vigorously investigated and prosecuted in South Carolina, and domestic violence charges are no exception. In fact, some contend an allegation of domestic violence garners more attention from law enforcement than other crimes because standard procedure typically involves an on the spot arrest. While the investigating officers look to the totality of the circumstances observed at the scene, often they primarily rely on an allegation made by the alleged victim as to what transpired. The allegation may not be entirely true.

Initially, domestic violence is a broad term used to include a wide range of specific acts and behavior. Domestic violence experts report it includes acts that are physical, verbal, emotional, and/or economic. Typically, physical abuse is alleged, which again can include various degrees of severity from simple assault to far more serious allegations that may involve serious injury to the alleged victim or the use of a weapon by the alleged abuser. Because mandatory jail time, loss of employment, loss of reputation and removal from the family home are potential consequences, defending against such charges is essential.

Could participating in drug court help you avoid jail?

Nowadays, many of South Carolina’s jails and prisons are full of inmates who might otherwise not be there were it not for their drug addictions. Because of this overcrowding issue, and because so many state residents grapple with serious drug addictions, some offenders enroll in drug court programs, as opposed to serving time in jail or prison.

Drug courts are closely supervised programs that strike a careful balance between holding criminal offenders accountable for their criminal acts and giving them the support they need to break their addictions and change their lifestyles. Though not available in all areas and typically reserved for non-violent drug offenders, drug courts can benefit both offenders and their community in numerous ways. Just how are today’s drug courts helping addicts and their communities?

South Carolina drug sting leads to arrest of 24 people

Local, state and federal authorities in South Carolina recently conducted a large drug sting that led to the arrest of over 20 people. The operation, which was one of the largest in Horry County in the last 10 years, was announced on Dec. 13.

According to federal prosecutors, 125 agents arrested 24 people believed to be associated with the "G-Shine" gang, formerly known as the "Gangster Killer Bloods." Three other alleged gang members are still at large. Based in Long, the gang is part of the Bloods network that emerged two decades ago when members of the United Blood Nation migrated to the East Coast and set up affiliate gangs. In early 2017, law enforcement agents began looking into the gang after learning of an alleged large-scale drug trafficking ring operating out of Horry County and Myrtle Beach. They reportedly discovered that gang members were involved in trafficking heroin, cocaine and fentanyl. The gang also allegedly participated in a series of shootings in and around Myrtle Beach.

 York County Bar Association South Caroline Bar NACDL South carolina association of criminal defense lawyers United states court of appeals | For the Fourth Circuit
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Christopher A. Wellborn, P.A.
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Rock Hill, SC 29730

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