Stirling & O'Connell

Mount Pleasant Criminal Law Blog

What to do after getting a DUI on vacation

The beaches and coastal towns of South Carolina experience a wave of tourism in the springtime, comprised of tourists on spring break or those just looking for a break from cooler weather. However, the vacation can come to a screeching halt after an arrest for driving under the influence.

Getting a DUI under any circumstances can be stressful and devastating. However, getting a DUI while out of state can add an additional layer of complications into the mix. Will you have to stay in South Carolina? How will this affect your driver’s license?

How could current S.C. state legislation affect first-time DUIs?

Five years ago, the South Carolina state legislature passed a law named after a six-year-old girl who died in a drunk driving accident in 2012. Under the law, if authorities arrest you on drunk driving charges for the first time, and your blood alcohol level is greater than 0.15 according to a breathalyzer test, you must have an ignition interlock device installed on your vehicle at your own expense. The device analyzes your blood alcohol content when you blow into it and prevents you from starting your car if it tests over a certain limit. 

According to the News and Observer, some lawmakers in the state legislature do not feel that the current law does enough to reduce the risk of dying in a drunk driving accident in South Carolina, which is the second-highest such risk in the nation, and have introduced legislation that would require installation of an ignition interlock device on the vehicle of everyone charged with drunk driving, whether a first-time or repeat DUI, even if later exonerated by the court or while a trial date is still pending.

Concurrent 10-year sentences on drug charges for S.C. man

Despite the best intentions of government and law enforcement, the criminal justice system often falls far short of the goal of rehabilitating those convicted of crimes. While recidivism rates in South Carolina reflect a downward trend over the past 10 years, some people continue to shuffle back and forth among prison, probation and jail. A 24-year-old man from South Carolina provides a sobering illustration of this pattern. Already with a long history of criminal charges dating back to at least 2012, the young man recently pleaded guilty to charges of trafficking cocaine and resisting law enforcement. A judge sentenced him to serve two concurrent 10-year sentences, one for each count. 

The charges stem from an incident that reportedly took place in December 2016, at a time when the young man was on probation. He was driving his vehicle in the parking lot of an outlet mall in Bluffton, South Carolina, when a law enforcement officer pulled him over. It is unclear what initially prompted the traffic stop, but while the officer was standing next to the open driver's side door, the man allegedly trapped him by putting the car in reverse, dragging the officer through the parking lot and, according to the prosecutor on the case, putting both the officer and bystanders in the area in danger. The extent of the officer's injuries is unclear, but he reportedly fired several shots at the driver after pulling his gun. EMS personnel allegedly found 48 grams of cocaine on the driver's person while treating him for his gunshot wounds.

Verifying fraudulent intent

Popular media often portrays white collar crime as being the sophisticated (almost glamorous) actions of intellectual masterminds aimed as stealing millions from large corporations. In actuality, however, white collar crime can involve activities that most would classify as mundane. In fact, many come to us here at the Stirling & O'Connell law office completely shocked that others viewed their actions as being fraudulent. If you find yourself in the same situation, then you no doubt will want to know whether a financial loss or injury is all that is needed as proof of fraudulent activity. 

If you transact a professional or personal deal that results in a loss on the part of your partner, it may be reasonable to assume that they will upset. Yet their perception of your actions alone is not enough to prove you acted fraudulently. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, it must be proven that your intent was to indeed cause harm to others with a designed fraudulent scheme in order to be guilty of fraud. If there is no element of intent present, then the only assumptions may then be that you were obviously acting in good faith. 

How does your breath determine your BAC?

The near-universal symbol of drunk driving enforcement is a motorist standing on the side of the road blowing into a handheld breath measurement device. Yet at the same time, you have likely also heard that breath tests are typically not reliable as evidence when it comes to supporting drunk driving charges. How is it, then, that a law enforcement officer can use such a measurement to justify your arrest for drunk driving? 

A more apt question may be why is your breath considered to be a good indicator of what the alcohol content of your blood is? When you ingest ethanol alcohol (the type of alcohol used in drinks), the compound is able to enter into the bloodstream by passing through the walls of the stomach and intestines through a process known as passive diffusion. According to the Alcohol Pharmacology Education Partnership, it is then carried throughout the body in the blood via the capillaries. Passive diffusion continues to occur throughout this journey, with some traces of ethanol eventually ending up in the thin mucous layer of the alveolar sacs of your lungs. These contain the oxygen that you inhale. This oxygen disrupts the hydrogen bonds within ethanol causing it to vaporize into a gaseous form. That vaporized ethanol then leaves the body as you exhale carbon dioxide. 

What happens after a DUI?

Not only is drinking and driving in South Carolina unsafe, it can also land in quite a bit of legal trouble. Punishments often include suspension of license, fines, and even jail time in serious cases. Very Well Mind explains what usually happens after a person is arrested for drunk driving. 

Initial arrest

Why an investigation is critical to your criminal defense case

If you have been charged with a crime, you may worry that the government has all the power. After all, they have an entire police force to gather evidence against you. How can you compete? The truth is, a police report often ends with the arrest, leaving an open path for a defense counter-investigation.

USC offers students prescription drug overdose reversing product

College students are among the most vulnerable to the trap of addiction and the likelihood of an overdose. The negative effects caused by prescription drug abuse doesn’t show up until the consequences begin to manifest in negative ways. This could mean losing a scholarship, losing friendships, losing health and risking a bright, young future to a reckless addiction.

The National Institute for Drug Abuse states that young people between the ages of 18 and 25 are the most likely to consume prescription drugs illegally while distributing them to their peers. Thankfully, the University of South Carolina is making it easy for students to get help for opioid addictions. A “lifesaving” overdose-reversal treatment is being made available to students without the need for a prescription.

What is embezzlement?

Of all the threats that face your business, employee theft is one of the most challenging to contend with. Often referred to as embezzlement, internal theft may go on for years and have a lasting financial impact on a small business and its owner. To ensure you can protect your enterprise from unscrupulous employees, The Balance offers the following information.

While embezzlement can take on many different forms of, the crime typically has four elements. First, both parties must be connected by an asset which both are expected to exercise some level of care towards. Next, the person being charged must access this asset via this connection, usually as an employee. Third, the person accused of embezzlement must take ownership of the asset, and fourth, intent to take ownership must be established.

Drug charges as a parent

It can always be stressful for someone when they are charged with a drug offense. From losing one's job to spending time behind bars, there are many different ways in which drug charges can shatter someone's life. However, there are some people who are in a position which makes it especially difficult for them to be charged with some type of drug-related offense, such as a parent. Drug charges can shatter a parent's life in many different ways, whether they create friction within the family, impact a parent's ability to win a custody case or even affect their ability to raise a child.

When parents are charged with drug offenses, their ability to parent in the future may be impacted by the allegations and their reputation may be shattered in a way which they can never recover from. Parents who have to face these hurdles should take steps to protect their ability to raise their child and defend themselves in the courtroom. There could be all sorts of different factors that may affect a person's case when they are charged with a drug offense. Likewise, people can view drug cases involving parents from an especially harsh point of view.

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Stirling & O'Connell Law Office

749 Johnnie Dodds Blvd
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Mount Pleasant, SC 29464-3070

Phone: 843-779-9443
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