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Rock Hill Criminal Defense Law Blog

New law makes sex offenders easier to track

South Carolina residents who have been convicted of sexual abuse of a minor will have their passports revoked. The State Department recently began implementing a new law called International Megan's Law that was passed in 2016. Those with such a conviction on their record will have to apply for a new passport that has a unique identifier on it. The goal of the new law is to cut down on potential child exploitation.

The new marker also makes it easier to keep track of where offenders may go while out of the country. Registered sex offenders will no longer be eligible for a passport card because they cannot be properly marked. According to a government report in 2010, there were thousands who were on the National Sex Offender Registry and were able to get a passport. However, there was no way to stop those on the registry from getting a passport unless they had been specifically convicted for sex tourism.

Man and woman charged with sex crime

Two South Carolina residents have been taken into custody on suspicion of committing a sex crime against a teenage girl. The alleged incident took place in Bennettsville late last year.

According to representatives of the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, a 23-year-old Bennettsville woman and a 21-year-old Clio man committed sexual battery against the victim on Dec. 24, 2016. At the time of the alleged crime, the victim was just 15 years old and the defendants were both legal adults.

4 inmates facing murder charges after 2 workers die

South Carolina residents may be interested to learn about the recent failed prison escape in neighboring North Carolina. Authorities said that four men attempted to breakout from the Pasquotank Correctional Institution, killing a correctional officer and vocational worker in the process. The four prisoners were charged with murder on Oct. 20.

The inmates allegedly set a fire inside the sewing plant with the intention of creating a diversion that would allow them to climb over the fences that lined the prison. In addition to the two employees who were killed, two others also suffered serious injuries in the incident. They were reportedly in critical condition. Authorities said that others had suffered slashing or stabbing wounds. Four inmates and 10 other employees were injured.

Now we have a profile of the common embezzler

In the company you work for, it was just discovered that funds have gone missing. You feel very uncomfortable because you work in the bookkeeping department and are among those who are now under scrutiny by management.

A study of hundreds of major embezzlement cases has provided us with facts about the perpetrators, including common traits that produce an interesting profile. Do you meet the description of the common embezzler?

Man charged with murder after woman's body found in fire

South Carolina officials reported that the body of a woman that was found after a fire that occurred on Oct. 10 showed that she had been shot to death before the fire occurred. The woman was identified as a 39-year-old and a 38-year-old man was charged with murder the same afternoon.

The fire occurred at a residence located in the 100 block of Crestmore Drive. The woman's body was found in the debris after the blaze was extinguished. An autopsy on the woman's body was completed, which showed that she had been beaten and strangled before being shot. It was not clear what actually caused her death, though all three were factors. The autopsy showed that she had died before the fire was set.

FBI crime report reveals a surge in nonviolent drug arrests

Opinion polls reveal that most people in South Carolina and around the country feel that the war on drugs has been largely ineffective and believe that the issue should be treated as a public health rather than a criminal problem. However, figures from the latest FBI Uniform Crime Report shows that arrests for drug violations continue to increase despite public opinion and laws being passed in several states that either legalize or decriminalize marijuana.

According to the FBI data, law enforcement agencies across the country made in excess of 1.57 million drug arrests in 2016. This figure represents a 5.63 percent year-over-year increase and is higher than the number of arrests made for all violent crimes combined. More than four out of 10 of those charged with drug crimes in 2016 were taken into custody on marijuana-related charges, and the overwhelming majority of these arrests were for simple possession.

Controlled substances and penalties

South Carolina residents may know that a controlled substance is a drug designated as illegal by the federal government. The Controlled Substances Act of 1970 breaks drugs down into five categories or schedules. These range from the most dangerous, listed under Schedule I, to the least dangerous. Some prescription drugs are considered controlled substances, but if a person has been prescribed and purchased the drug lawfully, having it is not considered a violation.

Examples of Schedule I drugs are LSD and heroin. These are considered to have no medical uses. Methamphetamine is a type of Schedule II drug. Schedule III drugs are considered to have a high risk for psychological addiction and include Vicodin and ketamine. Xanax and Valium are Schedule IV drugs, and the least serious types of controlled substances, Schedule V, include cough syrups with codeine.

Too soon to tell if rise in violent crime is a trend

Many parts of South Carolina might feel far away from big-city crime, but violent crimes have risen for the last two years across the entire country, according to FBI statistics. The swell in violence, including homicides, does not automatically indicate a crime wave. Crime rates had dropped to historic lows for several years preceding the rise, which means 2015 and 2016 might have only been bad years.

The nation's overall rate of violent crimes rose by 4.1 percent in 2016. According to FBI data, 17,250 homicides took place, an increase of 8.6 percent from 2015. Small towns were the scenes of more homicides than before. Increasing violence in rural areas still only represented 8.4 percent of the rise in crime. Large metropolitan areas accounted for 20.3 percent of the violent crime growth. Homicides in one Midwestern city alone contributed significantly to the rising numbers. Chicago reported 468 homicides in 2015 and 765 homicides in 2016.

Overcoming your conviction to get a good job

Some employers may be leery about hiring applicants with criminal records. However, this does not have to stop those with such convictions from obtaining quality work positions.

Along with organizations willing to assist citizens with past convictions, there are things formerly convicted citizens may do themselves. If you or a loved one has prior convictions, there are a few things to consider when seeking a good job.

Man and teen accused of murder and arson

On Sept. 21, it was reported that two South Carolina residents were taken into custody after they were accused of arson and murder. The two individuals were identified as a 22-year-old Hartsville man and a 17-year-old Hartsville teen.

In early September, the body of a man was found in a mobile home located on Persimmons Drive after the residence had been on fire. Officials accused the two men of shooting the man, putting his body in the mobile home and setting the residence on fire to cover the alleged murder. The 22-year-old man was taken into custody on Sept. 16 after he was found in Columbia. Authorities reportedly found in possession of illegal drugs. The teen was taken into custody on Sept. 19.