drug possessionThe penalties for South Carolina drug charges are stiff, and you want to be sure you have a good drug possession lawyer who will be aggressive in protecting your rights and defending you.

If you read no further on this post, know that if you’re arrested, you need to retain a drug charge attorney as soon as possible; every moment you go without a lawyer is time wasted in preparing your defense.

Unlike other states, even simple possession of a small amount of marijuana carries a high fine and the possibility of jail time, and that charge can negatively affect your future. Drug charges in South Carolina can be complicated with several possible enhancements, so you’ll want to understand what you may be facing.

You can be charged with actual possession and/or constructive possession.

South Carolina has two types of possession charges. Actual possession occurs when the drugs are found in the actual physical custody of the person. Constructive possession occurs when the person charged has dominion or control over the drugs or the location where the drugs were found, such as under your car seat or in your garage.

Possession of drug paraphernalia is a separate charge.

Paraphernalia is defined by state law as “any instrument, device, article, or contrivance used, designed for use, or intended for use in ingesting, smoking, administering, manufacturing, or preparing a controlled substance…” Beware: police officers and prosecutors can be very creative with this one.

Possession with the intent to distribute drugs can involve any quantity of drugs.

Regardless of how small the quantity may be, a possession with intent to distribute charge hinges upon the state providing that the defendant knowingly possessed a controlled substance with the intent to distribute it. The intent element can be proven by circumstantial evidence such as if the drugs were packaged and how they were packaged.

Where you are at the time of arrest matters.

If you are arrested for distribution of a controlled substance and are within a ½ mile radius of a school or public playground or park, you may face an additional criminal charge. Distribution of a controlled substance within proximity of a school is a felony charge and can potentially carry a ten year prison sentence.

A gun or knife can make things worse. 

If you are in possession of a firearm or knife during the commission of, or attempt to commit, a violent crime you may face an additional criminal charge. Under South Carolina law, many common drug offenses are considered violent crimes. The penalty for this charge is potentially a 5 year mandatory sentence that a judge may order to run after the sentence for the underlying drug charge is served.

We’ve said it once, but it bears repeating: if you’re arrested on drug charges, call a South Carolina drug possession attorney immediately.

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criminal defense attorneyA world without skilled criminal defense attorneys to protect our rights would be a very scary place indeed. When you need a good South Carolina criminal defense attorney, you’re making one of the biggest decisions of your life, and you need to know what to expect from your lawyer.

Experience and expertise

An arrest can haunt you for the rest of your life, so you need an attorney who can successfully challenge criminal accusations. Especially if you are facing severe penalties, high fines, or jail time, you want a Charleston criminal defense attorney who has extensive experience in the type of crime you have been accused of. He or she will be an expert in case law, precedent, and how to best defend you against the charges.

When you meet with a prospective lawyer, ask how many cases like yours he or she has handled and how many were successful. If you sense hesitation, or the attorney has not handled as many cases as you feel comfortable with, look for a different attorney. However, if money is an issue and your prospective attorney is part of a firm with plenty of experience, he or she will have the firm’s expertise backing him or her. Often, less-experienced lawyers are more affordable than their firm’s partners are.

Full spectrum of representation

You want an attorney who is just as skilled at bond reduction as he or she is at a jury trial. Your law firm should be able to successfully handle your case from arrest through expungement.

Excellent investigative skills

Your attorney should have investigators who are highly trained in collecting evidence in your defense. If a prospective attorney doesn’t mention investigation on your behalf, look elsewhere.

Aggressive defense attitude

You want your criminal defense lawyer to fight for you as if he or she were the defendant. If you meet with a prospective attorney and don’t feel a sense of urgency and aggressive protection of your rights, he or she is not for you.

Available 24/7

Not everything in life happens during business hours. Your South Carolina criminal defense attorney should be willing and able to meet with you when you need him or her, and let you know that when you retain him or her.

We know that justice can be elusive for those accused of a crime, guilty or not. We do not tolerate abuses of power, and we will not hesitate to act aggressively defending your rights. Whether you have been accused of criminal domestic violence, criminal sexual conduct, shoplifting, or DUI / DWI, we will aggressively defend you. No matter where you live in the Charleston area, whether it’s Isle of Palms, Summerville, or Folly Beach, we uphold your rights and ensure the law treats you fairly.

Have questions about criminal defense? Contact us today.

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criminal defenseSouth Carolina law allows for expungement, or the destruction of all criminal records related to a single offense, under certain circumstances. As South Carolina criminal defense attorneys, we regularly see records expunged, and we always encourage our clients to apply for it whenever possible.

Dismissal of case or not guilty verdict

Under the law, if a case is dismissed or if a defendant is found not guilty, all the records related to the arrest and booking are destroyed. This includes mug shots, fingerprints, and jail records.

First offense conviction in municipal or magistrate’s court

Three years after conviction of a first offense in a municipal or magistrate’s court, an offender may ask for expungement of arrest and trial records. However, if the offense involved domestic violence, motor vehicle, or fish, game, and watercraft, an expungement is not allowed. The defendant must have no other conviction during the three-year period, and expungement is allowed only once.

First-offense simple marijuana possession

If a first-time marijuana-possession offender is sentenced to a “conditional discharge,” he or she may ask for expungement after completing all court requirements. This is for simple possession offenses only, and after expungement, the offender does not have to admit or acknowledge the offense to anyone, including law enforcement or the judiciary. A good marijuana lawyer can ensure your record is expunged if you’re eligible or minimize the damage of your possession charges if you’re not.

Non-felonious check fraud

If a defendant has no other convictions in the year after a first-offense conviction of check fraud, he or she may apply for expungement. However, this does not apply to felonious check fraud, which is drawing any check or draft valued over $5,000, and only one conviction may be expunged.

Successful pre-trial intervention for first-time offenders

For first-time, non-violent offenders, South Carolina law provides for pre-trial intervention, a diversion and restoration program that may include payment of restitution or performing community service. After the pre-trial intervention has been completed, the offender may petition the court for an expungement order. This will effectively erase the offense, and the person does not have to acknowledge the offense later, even if under oath in court.

When South Carolina criminal records are expunged, no evidence remains of the offense, and often defendants cannot be charged with making a false statement if they do not acknowledge or admit the expunged offense.

To learn more about expungement of criminal records in South Carolina, click here.

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Georgia motorcycle tripMild in the winter and cool in the summer, the Russell-Brasstown Scenic Byway in northeast Georgia is a 40-mile cruise that winds through the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest in the Appalachian Mountains. Magnificent views, cool waterfalls, and majestic forests make this a trip not to be missed, and you’ll cross the Appalachian Trail on your journey.

The byway begins north at Robertstown and runs along SR 17/75, then goes southwest along SR 180, southeast along SR 348, and ends at SR 75 Alternate. Along the byway, you can visit several state parks, the Tray Mountain Wilderness, Raven Cliff and Anna Ruby Falls, and Brasstown Bald. Other areas to explore include High Shoals Creek Falls Scenic Area, Smithgall Woods-Dukes Creek Conservation area, and Yonah Mountain.

With over 1200 acres, Unicoi and Vogel State Parks are two of Georgia’s most popular protected areas, with campsites and cozy cottages. Vogel also has trailer and RV sites. In these parks, you can hike, swim, play tennis, and go fishing while you take in the spectacular scenery. In the autumn, you’re treated to the changing colors in spectacular fashion.

Hiking trails abound in the Tray Mountain Wilderness, making it the perfect spot to watch wildlife. If you love waterfalls, the three Raven Cliff falls—one of which flows through a split in solid rock—will take your breath away. The Curtis and York creeks merge in dramatic fashion at Anna Ruby Falls, and you’ll enjoy picnic areas and a visitor center there.

One of the most spectacular views is on top of the 4,784-foot high Brasstown Bald, Georgia’s highest mountain peak. You can hike the trail up the mountain, or you can take the tour bus. Its large observation deck gives you a 360-degree view of the mountains and timberland year-round. You’ll see the North Georgia Mountains, the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Rich Mountains, and Lake Chatuge in the Enchanted Valley. As you descend Brasstown Bald, you’ll see Track Rock Gap with its 10,000-year-old petroglyphs.

As motorcycle lawyers who also ride, we’ve been on many of America’s byways, and the Russell-Brasstown is one of our favorites.

Click here to read more posts about great scenic routes for motorcycle trips.

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Experience a Spooky Halloween in Charleston

On October 13, 2011, in Biker Events, by admin

Charleston halloween

It’s about that time to start planning what you’ll be doing for Halloween!

Charleston has a reputation for having more ghosts than any other city in America, and ghost stories abound. It is a favorite haunt for ghost hunters, and Charleston’s rich and bloody history seems to have created an amazing number of lost spirits. From the days before Columbus through today, many deaths have taken place in Charleston—but not all of the dead have departed the city.

In particular, Dock Street Theatre and the Battery Carriage House Inn have been the setting for many ghost sightings. The ghost of Junius Brutus Booth, John Wilkes Booth’s father, has been seen wandering around the theater, as has the apparition of an unknown prostitute called Nettie. According to legend, Nettie was struck by lightning and killed in the 1800s when the Theatre was a hotel. The Battery Carriage House Inn has a ghost that tries to get into bed with women guests and put his arm around them.

And of course, as Charleston was a major site of the Civil War, residents and tourists regularly report seeing the ghosts of Civil War soldiers. The ghosts of Blackbeard the Pirate and scores of Civil War soldiers have also been seen on Folly Island.

Charleston’s ghost tours are some of the best in the nation, and Bulldog Tours and Tour Charleston, LLC have the most impressive tours in the city. You can take a ghost tour most months of the year, and tour guides take you through back alleys, jails, churches, and cemeteries with tales of voodoo, haunting, chilling deaths, and local legends and superstitions. Bulldog Tours’ Ghost and Dungeon Walking Tour takes you to the Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon, while Tour Charleston, LLC’s Ghosts of Charleston Tour leads you through the Unitarian Church Graveyard.

Charleston’s residents love Halloween. In addition to ghost tours, you can join in on Boone Hall Fright Nights at Boone Hall Plantation, another haunted Charleston landmark. Fright Night events include Bloodstone Manor, a vampires’ lair; Fright Stalkers Corn Field, haunted land sure to scare anyone who dares enter; the Body Farm Haunted Hayride; and Psycho Clowns Side Show.

Other Halloween parties and events for all ages include:

  • Halloween Howler Bar Crawl starting at Moe’s Downtown Tavern.
  • Premiere of the play Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde at The Footlight Players.
  • Scary’um Aquarium at the South Carolina Aquarium.
  • Car, Bike, and Truck Show at Hooters.
  • Monster Mash at Charleston Ballet Theatre.

As Charleston DUI attorneys, of course we caution you that police will have enhanced enforcement around Halloween, so please don’t drink and drive.

What other Halloween activities can we add to this list?

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kentucky motorcycle trip

Kentucky, the Bluegrass State, is a land of unparalleled beauty and history—perfect for motorcycle trips. Following are a few of the scenic routes you won’t want to miss, and keep in mind that helmets are required for riders under 21 and eye protection is mandatory.

Red River Gorge Scenic Byway

Begin in Stanton, KY, and continue along the Red River through the picturesque gorge, or get off your bike and canoe the river and enjoy the tranquility. A few minutes down the road, you’ll reach the hand-carved Nada Tunnel, which is a fascinating drive. When you reach Raven Rock, be sure to stop and see the natural stone arches of the Red River Gorge Geological Area.

This area offers several natural wonders, sights, and historic sites:

  • Clifty National Wilderness Area
  • Dozens of arches, including Angel Windows and Sky Bridge, the largest arch in Red River Gorge
  • Gladie historic logging site
  • Natural Bridge State Resort Park
  • Sheltowee Trail, used by Native Americans and Daniel Boone

Kentucky Bourbon Trail

Since 1999, the Kentucky Bourbon Trail has educated visitors about the long, proud tradition of Kentucky whiskey making. When Kentucky was settled, farmers found that the mountains posed an obstacle to getting crops to market, so they converted their crops to whiskey and shipped it in oak barrels. Bourbon County was where the barrels shipped from, so the whiskey became known as Bourbon.

The Bourbon Trail includes stops and tastings at the following distilleries:

Other attractions near the Trail include The Bourbon Chase http://www.bourbonchase.com, the Oscar Getz Museum of Whiskey History http://www.whiskeymuseum.com, and the Kentucky Bourbon Festival http://www.kybourbonfestival.com.

**Of course, drink responsibly, and if you run into trouble, find a good DUI lawyer immediately.

Country Music Highway

Located in eastern Kentucky, this route commemorates country music with stops at several sites of interest:

  • Paramount Theater in Ashland, home of Billy Ray Cyrus and Naomi Judd
  • Kentucky Pavilion, with memorabilia from Dwight Yoakam and Ricky Skaggs
  • Butcher Hollow, the childhood home of Loretta Lynn and Crystal Gayle, with tours of the actual cabin they lived in
  • Mountain Arts Center, home of the Kentucky Opry and Kentucky mountain music

Which trip would you prefer, and why?

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For many bikers, their favorite childhood memories revolve around their family and motorcycles or dirt bikes, and they pass this love along to their own children. If you’re new to biking and would like to get your children involved, here are a few tips.

Begin as early as possible.

Young children tend to be fearless, and the motorcycle will fascinate them. If bikes are part of their lives from a tender age, they are less likely to be afraid of them and more likely to enjoy riding them.

However, if something goes wrong, the child may become so fearful of motorcycles that he or she never rides again. If you are new to riding yourself, you may wish to wait a year or so until you’re confident in your riding ability—or ask a biker friend to help you introduce your kids to motorcycles.

Ignore the naysayers.

Well-meaning family members or friends may try to discourage you from teaching your children to ride. Remind them that this is no different from taking them fishing, skiing, hiking, or go-cart racing. As motorcycle and auto accident lawyers who handle all types of accident cases, we know that many outdoor activities can be dangerous to children without appropriate adult supervision and common sense. Biking is no more or less hazardous than other activities.

Start slowly.

If you’re ready to introduce your child to biking, you can try several things:

  • Take your child to a motocross track or other dirt bike gathering to watch—preferably one where children are riding.
  • Introduce your child to other kids who ride.
  • Buy your child some protective gear and allow him or her to get used to it.
  • Ask your child to help you wash or work on the bike.
  • Sit on the bike while it’s off, put the child in front of you, and let him or her grab the handlebars and pretend to ride.
  • Start the bike, safely set the child on it, and let him or her acclimate to the sound and feel.
  • Take the child for a short ride across the street.

Be ready to stop at any time.

Do not push your child to go farther than he or she is willing. This is not to say that you shouldn’t encourage your child to face fears, but if he or she expresses extreme reluctance or has a fearful reaction, back off a little and try again later.

Every child reacts to bikes differently, and each has his or her own timetable for learning to ride. Be aware of your child and adjust accordingly. What tips would you offer for teaching kids to ride?

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north carolinaAs motorcycle accident lawyers who ride, we’ve stayed in many B&Bs along the way and enjoy finding exceptional accommodations. BedandBreakfast.com inspects and reviews luxury inns and invites the best to become part of its Diamond Collection. Each of these inns undergoes an annual inspection and offers high-quality amenities to their guests, including flexible check-in, online reservations, and 24-hour service. The following inns are Diamond Collection properties in North Carolina.

1889 WhiteGate Inn & Cottage in Asheville:

The closest bed and breakfast to downtown Asheville, WhiteGate Inn offers 11 luxurious rooms named after famous poets, such as Robert Frost, Emily Dickinson, and Maya Angelou. Each elegantly decorated room holds books by its poet. For example, the Elizabeth Barrett Browning Suite features an 18-foot ceiling with stone fireplace and a wood and iron canopy bed, while the Carl Sandburg Suite has a king-size sleigh bed, separate sitting room, and European style shower.

Breakfast is three courses and consists of peaches, pears, and pineapple baked in sherry sauce, mushroom tarragon soufflé, and homemade cinnamon maple caramel pecan rolls. WhiteGate Inn’s dining room is an elegant reminder of the 17th and 18th century, with antiques and a pine settle. The parlor and living room are cozy and comfortable, with cozy fireplaces and collectibles. If you prefer plenty of brightness and light, the solarium features an antique jukebox and mountain views. Relax with onsite spa and romance packages designed to make your stay memorable.

The King’s Daughters Inn in Durham:

Located near Duke University, downtown Durham, and Brightleaf Square, the King’s Daughters Inn was formerly a dormitory for single women before its current owners renovated it into a bed and breakfast. During renovation of the inn, the owners focused on maintaining its original architecture and saving natural resources when possible. The King’s Daughters Inn is an excellent example of sustainable lodging with its state-of-the-art energy management system.

From the Howerton Room’s deep, rich colors and textures to the Tyree Room with its silks and velvets, each room has a unique layout and a different style. All rooms offer luxurious amenities such as private baths, plush robes, elegant linens, and locally manufactured, tea-olive scented toiletries. Breakfast is served at your request and at your preferred location—in bed, on the go, or in the parlor. The in-house massage therapist will come to your room if you choose, or if you’d like to see more of Durham, hop on one of the complimentary bicycles.

Graystone Inn in Wilmington:

Known as “Wilmington’s Most Luxurious Inn,” the Graystone Inn was built in the early 1900s as The Bridgers Mansion. The most recent renovation has restored its original luxury and charm, and visitors enjoy an airy parlor and sitting room full of antiques, as well as a music room with a baby grand piano. The library features Honduran mahogany and a game table—the perfect place to enjoy a fire and a glass of wine.

Period architecture and decorations grace the rooms, which are furnished with antiques and fine linens. Most of the rooms have a fireplace, and all have private bathrooms, wireless Internet access, and cable television. The Burgwin Wright Jr. Suite is a spacious 700 square feet and has window seats, a Victorian clawed tub and shower, and two walk-in cedar closets. The Oleander Room has 18-foot ceilings, a writing desk under a beautiful window, and a walk-in shower for two with a tumbled stone and granite floor.

For more information about BedandBreakfast.com and the Diamond Collection, click here.

Which B&B would you like to visit?

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