Criminal Defense

Crackdown: New Synthetic Marijuana

syntheticThere has been a lot of talk lately about the crackdown on synthetic drugs. WMBF News released this news article that discusses a new synthetic drug, which has been dubbed “OMG, Kush, Magnolia Max, and/or Joker.” For more information on this new synthetic alternative, check out: here.

Buyers beware, just because you can find it on shelves in your local stores does not mean it is legal! About this time last year, the South Carolina governor signed a law making it illegal to sell and/or purchase synthetic marijuana. The punishment for possession of synthetic marijuana is equal to the punishment for marijuana. Many have changed the compounds in the synthetic marijuana in order to avoid the new law banning synthetic marijuana but the South Carolina lawmakers are working on ways to close the loopholes in the law. For more information on South Carolina’s plan on action regarding synthetic marijuana, take a look at: http://www.wmbfnews.com/story/22213747/solicitors-office-aims-to-crack-down-on-synthetic-marijuana.

The following penalties show the differentiation the law makes between possessing a small amount versus a large amount of marijuana. For simple possession of marijuana, (no more than 28 grams), or hashish, (no more than 10 grams), the penalty carries jail time of up to 30 days or a fine ranging between $100 and $200. A second or subsequent offense carries up to 1 year in jail and a fine of up to $1000. If you are charged with carrying more than 28 grams of marijuana or more than 10 grams of hasish the penalties can reach up to 15 years of jail and/or up to $25,000.  If you are facing a subsequent charge for possession of more than 28 grams or more than 10 grams of hasish the penalties can include jail time of up to 30 years and up to $50,000.

If you are unsure if a product is synthetic marijuana, don’t buy it! Stores may be labeling it differently in order to avoid police suspicion. Not only can the store be criminally punished for selling it but also you can be punished as well for purchasing it. If you have any questions regarding the new laws concerning synthetic marijuana contact your local criminal attorney Daniel Selwa. If you are facing criminal charges for distribution or purchase of synthetic marijuana or natural marijuana, Daniel Selwa can help.  Call Daniel Selwa for a free consultation.

Categories: Criminal Defense, Drug Offense | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Prescription Drug Fraud

ImagePrescription drug misuse is a significant and prevalent problem across the nation. In 2010, about one in four illicit-drug users reported that their initiation into illegal drug use began with prescription drugs. Prescription drug overdoses in 2008 exceeded those for heroin and cocaine combined. While licensed physicians prescribe some people medications, others may obtain prescription medications through illegal means. While certain crimes tend to fit a certain group of people, prescription drug fraud and misuse offenders spans a wide range of ethnic, social, educational and economic backgrounds.

Prescription drug fraud can take many forms; the most common forms are altering or forging a prescription, phoning in a fraudulent prescription posing as a doctor or office’s employee and theft of prescription pads. Some people like doctors and nurses, have easy access to prescription pads and thus, prescription drug fraud is often seen among hospital employees. But, as mentioned, there are other ways to obtain prescription drugs without stealing prescription pads.

Possession or distribution of blank prescription documents can be classified as a misdemeanor or a felony charge. There are three definitions of this crime: first, knowing and intentional issuance by a registered practitioner or possession by someone other than the one who signed it of a prescription document signed in blank, second, knowing and intentional possession of a prescription not completed and signed by the practitioner whose named printed thereon by a person other than the registered practitioner and lastly, knowing and intentional withholding from a practitioner information that the defendant already obtaining controlled substances of like therapeutic use from another practitioner. Basically, if you are in the unlawful possession of a prescription drug, you can be charged with this crime

The penalty for this crime, as a first time offender, may include up to 2 years of prison time and/or up to a fine of $2,000. The second offense, is classified as a felony, and can carry a prison sentence of up to 5 years.

If you are facing criminal charges for your involvement with prescription fraud, contact local defense attorney Daniel Selwa. The penalties can be severe for your involvement with prescription fraud, and Daniel Selwa can provide the experienced criminal defense you need.

Categories: Attorneys, Criminal Defense, Drug Offense | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How NOT to behave in Court

TJ Lane was facing life imprisonment for his felonious crimes. He killed three young teenagers and wounded others, leaving one paralyzed from the waist down. Perhaps the most shocking part of his crimes was his behavior in the courtroom. He showed no remorse as the families spoke of their loss and in fact, he was smiling the entire time. His defense attorney speaks out about his client’s behavior and notes just how appalling it was.

Skilled defense attorneys do everything they can to prepare a case for trial. But, it is hard to prepare for a situation like this. This young man not only bore a tee-shirt that said “killer” but he gave the middle finger to everyone in the courtroom during his sentencing.

There’s one particular thing to be said here and that is, if you are facing serious punishment for your crimes like the defendant in this case was, do not make it easier for the judge to rule against you. TJ Lane showed disrespect not only to the victims’ families but also to the Judge and Court. The legal system does not take this behavior lightly. As the presiding judge in this case remarked, “remorse was lacking.” It is against human nature for someone to feel sorry for you when you grin about committing such violent crimes. So, next time you go in front of a judge, be on your best behavior or be prepared to suffer the harshest punishment.

While a skilled defense attorney like Daniel Selwa can take you far in your case, you must also cooperate in a respectful manner. Hiring legal counsel is the best way to ensure your legal rights are protected but it is also up to you to ensure you act properly in front of the Court. For more information regarding this case, http://www.wmbfnews.com/story/21678477/life-in-prison-tj-lane-wears-killer-shirt-flips-middle-finger-to-courtroom-during-sentencing

Categories: Attorneys, Criminal Defense | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Arrested on St. Patrick’s Day?

ImageWMBF as well as other news sources broadcasted information on the Internet, television and radio regarding this past weekend’s festivities. Amongst the weekend’s events, the Grand Strand celebrated St. Patrick’s Day, a car show and a cheerleading competition. Since there was so much to look forward to over the weekend, local law enforcement wanted their presence to be known so that the fun did not get out of control. This WMBF news article issued a statement from local law enforcement that read, “If you are caught drinking and driving, you are going to jail.”

http://www.wmbfnewus.com/story/21660018/myrtle-beach-police-are-cracking-down-this-weekend. Were you arrested for a DUI this weekend? Perhaps you were instead arrested on public intoxication charges? Possibly, you were arrested for possession of marijuana? These are all events that can occur when you are out celebrating holidays like St. Patrick’s Day.

It is almost certain that local law enforcement dealt mostly with DUI related offenses this past weekend. DUI laws make it unlawful for a person to drive a motor vehicle if the driver’s ability to safely drive has been impaired by the effects of drugs or alcohol or the driver is intoxicated at a level above the established BAC (blood alcohol concentration). In South Carolina, if you have a BAC of .08 or higher, you are legally considered too drunk to drive and can be punished by law. The nature of the DUI charges against you depends on many factors including your prior convictions, the severity of the offense, and the level of intoxication and whether the offense caused injury or death.

Most of us have made the mistake of getting behind the wheel and driving after a few too many cocktails, unfortunately, it’s a common mistake. But, fortunately, the law offers ways to mitigate this mistake. Additionally, the law offers ways to mitigate the mistake of public intoxication and possession of marijuana. For example, in the case of a DUI related offense, your punishment for the crime could be mitigated because the law enforcement officer did not arrest you on probable cause, which is a required element of an arrest. Your punishment for a DUI related offense could also be mitigated because the law enforcement officer improperly conducted field sobriety tests on the scene.

If you have found yourself in a similar situation as one listed above, like being arrested for a DUI, contact your criminal defense attorney Daniel Selwa. If you choose not to contact an attorney, your punishment under the law will likely reach the maximum penalties which could include: imprisonment, excessive fines, suspension of driver’s license and court ordered alcohol/drug treatment or counseling.  Daniel Selwa is an experienced attorney who can help mitigate the punishment for your crime.

Categories: Attorneys, Criminal Defense, DUI, Open Container | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Stricter DUI Laws in SC?

South Carolina ranks among the top of states for DUI related accidents. The number of DUIs in Myrtle Beach is particularly high which can be attributed to the tourist industry locally.

Emma Longstreet was killed last year on New Years Day in a drunk driving accident. Her parents are fighting today to get Emma’s law passed. The law would require a sobriety ignition test, if you blow above a .02, you won’t be able to start your car. The law also would include stricter penalties for repeat offenders. For more information on the tragic death of Emma Longstreet and Emma’s law, check out: http://www.wmbfnews.com/story/21290061/emmas-law-would-install-ignition-interlock-device-in-dui-offenders-cars.

Most people I have met admit that they have driven drunk at one point in their lives. It doesn’t make you a bad person, it just means, you made a bad mistake. Fortunately, the law recognizes this and your punishment for a DUI can be mitigated with counsel. If you go up against the law by yourself, you may face the worst case scenario penalties. However, if you contact Daniel Selwa, the opposite may result. Contact Daniel Selwa today for a free consultation regarding your case.

Categories: Criminal Defense, DUI | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Reckless Driving

The winter weather swept the coast recently, snow accumulations ranged from 1.5 inches to 2 inches of snow in the Grand Strand and the Pee Dee areas. I am not at all familiar with snow and I realized last night just how difficult it is to drive while it is snowing.  The forecast shows the cold temperatures are to continue this week and there is a chance of snowfall as well. The conditions on the road will be wet and visibility may be impaired due to the weather as well. Along with the chilly conditions, the tourist season is quickly approaching and law enforcement is letting their presence be known along the Grand Strand and surrounding areas.

Your cautious driving may alert law enforcement and you could be pulled over. The police might mistakenly charge you with reckless driving. Most states carry reckless driving charges that prohibit a driver from operating a vehicle in a manner that shows a reckless disregard for the safety of others. The South Carolina statute specifically provides, that “any person who drives a vehicle in such a manner as to indicate a willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property is guilty of reckless driving.” Examples of reckless driving may include: swerving on the roadways, traveling over the posted speed limit, and crossing a double yellow line to pass another vehicle.

The offense of reckless driving requires the conscious failure to exercise due care. The burden is on the state to prove you possessed the requisite intent to be convicted of this traffic offense. Consider, where a motorist passes a school bus without stopping but he does so ignorantly or unthinkingly. The motorist does in fact drive slowly while looking out for school children. In this example, the motorist could not be charged with reckless driving. Consider, instead, a motorist who continues to drive consciously disregarding the fact that is sleepy and cannot keep his eyes open while driving. This motorist has shown a reckless disregard for the safety of others and therefore, can be guilty of reckless driving.

If you find yourself facing reckless driving charges, contact your local attorney Daniel Selwa today. You could be innocent of the charges if the police officer was mistaken or there may be another legal defense that justifies your conduct.

Categories: Criminal Defense, Driver License, SC DMV, Traffic Tickets | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Burglary in Myrtle Beach

Burglary is not an uncommon occurrence in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Check out this recent WMBF news article involving two men in the local area facing multiple counts of burglary charges: http://www.wmbfnews.com/story/21087009/2-men-charged-for-several-burglaries-in-murrells-inlet. Are you facing burglary charges? Burglary is a felony charge and could carry a life imprisonment sentence. It is critical that you don’t sleep on your rights, and you contact Daniel Selwa right away to discuss your case if you have been charged with any degree of Burglary.

At common law, burglary is defined as the breaking and entering of the dwelling of another at nighttime with the intent to commit a felony therein. However, many states have modified the common law definition so that the breaking and entering includes businesses as well as dwellings and most states have eliminated the nighttime requirement. South Carolina in particular does not require that the crime of burglary be committed in the nighttime. In order to be convicted of the crime of burglary, the prosecution must prove every element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt.  If your defense attorney can raise the slightest bit of doubt, then the jury is likely to acquit.

Burglary is a specific intent crime, which means you must have intended to commit a crime upon the breaking and entering of the premises. Therefore, the burden will be on the prosecution to prove you possessed the requisite mental state when you committed the crime. Specific intent crimes carry additional defenses that general intent crimes do not and one of particular importance is voluntary intoxication. Voluntary intoxication is a defense because your intoxicated state may have affected your decision and thus, it may negate the element of crime for the crime of burglary. Another defense specific to this crime involves consent, if the defense can show you had consent to enter a dwelling or business, then that can negate the element of a breaking. Other potential defenses include insanity, and entrapment.

Your best course of action when facing burglary charges is to consult with attorney Daniel Selwa. A defense attorney will be able to anticipate what the prosecution will argue and from there, the defense attorney will be able to discuss with you, your best defenses to beat the prosecution’s argument. Remember that this offense is a felony and can carry a life imprisonment sentence. Don’t wait another minute and call Daniel Selwa today.

Categories: Burglary, Criminal Defense | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

The Legal Process of DUIs

superbowlThis NFL season was full of surprises ranging from the referee lockout to rookie talents like Andrew Luck, and Robert Griffin III, to quarterback changes like Alex Smith to Colin Kaepernick. What did you do celebrate the end of this NFL season along with Superbowl XLVII? In the Myrtle Beach Area, a lot of local bars advertised their Superbowl specials like Louie’s at Broadway at the Beach. Did you go out and partake in the Superbowl activities at a hot local spot? Hopefully, if you did, you made to it to the bar and home safely without any negative encounters with law enforcement. But if you didn’t, your local attorney Daniel Selwa is here to help you.

As you may know, a traffic stops begins with law enforcement’s reasonable suspicion that a law has been or is being violated. If the police officer stops based on reasonable suspicion that a person is driving under the influence, he will likely conduct a field sobriety test. For more information about the basics of a DUI, visit my earlier blog entry: https://sclawyersnet.wordpress.com/2012/10/24/arresting-officer-how-much-have-you-had-to-drink-tonight/.

But what happens after you are arrested on DUI charges? After the arrest, you are usually taken to the police station and booked. Booking includes the process where law enforcement takes your personal information, your photograph, your fingerprints, information relating to the arrest and other pertinent information.  After the booking, you will likely be placed in a holding cell or jail. Then, you will be given a pre-arraignment release through a bail proceeding. The bail proceeding allows the DUI suspect to post money in exchange for his release on the condition that you will attend all upcoming court proceedings regarding your case.

After the arrest, the booking, and the bail proceedings, arraignment takes place.  During arraignment (only applicable to 2nd offenses and above), you will be placed in front of a criminal court judge and you will be confronted with the charges against you and advised of your right to an attorney. During this stage, you may choose to plead guilty to the charges and at that point the proceedings will cease. But, you might choose to plead not guilty if the evidence against you is weak and you have a viable defense. It is also possible at this stage that a plea bargain may be available that would be favorable. Attorney Daniel Selwa can help you determine whether it is in your best interests to plead guilty or not guilty at this stage and whether you should pursue defending against the charges further.

As you can see, the legal process can be a lengthy process, but with an attorney, the legal process may end rather quickly with a positive result for you. Imagine only having to serve probation time when you were facing prison time or imagine the DUI charges being dropped against you completely.  You might wonder what if you don’t take advantage of your constitutional right to counsel, don’t wonder what if, and speak to Daniel Selwa today.

Categories: Criminal Defense, DUI, Traffic Tickets | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Assault and Battery

Were you involved in a fight and subsequently charged with assault or battery? Perhaps you were fighting in self-defense or fighting in order to protect another from harm.  For example, perhaps a stranger approached you, started shouting obscenities at you and threatening to use force against you while shaking his fists. You were cornered and in your escape, you hit the stranger in order to get by him. In this example, you were acting in self-defense. On the other hand, perhaps you were walking out of a bar and saw your friend in a struggle with a stranger. The fight was quickly escalating and when you saw the stranger pull out a knife, you lunged at the stranger and made physical contact in order to pull the knife away from the stranger. In this example, you were acting in the defense of another.

Assault and battery are perhaps two of the most recognized criminal offenses and often the two are linked together. Assaults and batteries frequently take place in bars or nightclubs. But, there is a key difference between assault and battery: assault involves the apprehension of an immediate physical contact while battery involves the actual physical contact. Generally, assault is defined as the creation of an immediate apprehension in the mind of another by a wrongdoer.  Battery is generally defined as the unlawful application of force to another.

Punishment for the criminal offenses of assault and battery can carry fines and/or imprisonment. You may also have to pay damages to the other party if you are found guilty of assault or battery. The penalties for such crimes depend upon the severity of the act, the person injured, the criminal record of the offender, and whether a weapon was involved.

In a crowded nightclub, one could easily become involved in a bar fight. But the criminal offenses of assault and battery can occur anywhere. You could find yourself in a situation involving assault or battery while you are walking home from work or even where you are sitting on a park bench waiting for a ride. No matter where you are, just remember Daniel Selwa. Daniel Selwa is a local criminal defense attorney who has a lot of experience fighting assault and battery charges and successfully winning those cases.  Contact him today for a consultation.

Categories: Criminal Defense | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Be careful what you write! How a Facebook Post could lead to Charges against you.

Recently, an Oregon teen by the name of Jacob Cox-Brown posted an incriminating statement on Facebook. His Facebook post read: “Drivin drunk…classic 😉 but to whoever’s vehicle I hit I am sorry :P.” There is an important lesson to be learned here, and that is, to think twice before you write something down, whether it be on paper or on the internet via a social media website like Facebook.

This young man is facing two counts of failing to perform the duties of a driver due to his comments on Facebook. He might have escaped punishment had he not admitted to his actions online. Perhaps instead, he said nothing at all. Imagine, he had just told someone he was involved in a hit and run instead of writing his confession down. It is much harder to prove that someone is guilty of a crime based on what they said to another person. The case would have been much harder to follow up on based upon the statement of another person. But, in this case, the Facebook post gave the police a legitimate lead because it came directly from the teen himself and it wasn’t long before they discovered the damage on the suspect’s car matched the damage to the victim’s car. Although there may still be evidence against him without his confession on Facebook, there would be less, which could mean the difference between a guilty and not guilty verdict.

The details about the case against Jacob Cox-Brown can be found here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/04/jacob-cox-brown-facebook-post-drunk-driving_n_2410163.html?icid=maing-grid7%7Cmaing6%7Cdl1%7Csec1_lnk1%26pLid%3D253245

Likewise, many are communicating via web services such as Facebook and Twitter; more so than they are communicating in person. This has made it so much easier to have an action filed against you for something you said that was defamatory about another person. If you watch court TV shows at all, like Judge Mathis or Judge Judy, you have probably heard a defamation action. In order to be successful in a defamation suit, one must show that the communication is a defamatory statement which is typically an untrue, derogatory statement and essentially damaged to your reputation  In most defamation case, you must prove actual damage. This tort cause of action is a heavily litigated cause of action in the civil litigation arena. Now, much of this is due to popular social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.

So, as you can see, your written comments whether it is regarding a crime you were involved in or whether it is about someone you don’t like, can be used against you in a court of law. If you are facing a criminal or civil lawsuit due to your comments that were posted on Facebook or Twitter, you will want to contact an attorney immediately to discuss your defenses. Contact Myrtle Beach attorney Daniel Selwa today.

Categories: Civil Litigation, Criminal Defense, Defamation | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.