Legal challenge questions reliability of police dogs

Interesting but not shocking….Legal challenge questions reliability of police dogs.

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Traffic Citations in Myrtle Beach

Make no mistake about it; police presence is still rampant along the Grand Strand area. The media along with police forces made their presence known during the recent bike week events. But, police vehicles can still be found every single day patrolling Myrtle Beach and the surrounding areas.

Most traffic citations are infraction level offenses, which means they are less severe than misdemeanor or felony crimes. Traffic citations include: speeding, failing to use a blinker, following too closely, and driving without a valid license among others. But even though the penalties are often not as great, many people become distressed by receiving one of these traffic citations because it can affect their car insurance rates as well as their driving privileges.

Typically, a traffic citation requires that you pay a fine. But, some traffic citations can carry more severe penalties. For example, if you receive a traffic citation for driving on a suspended license, you can lose your license on a permanent basis. If your traffic citation involves injury to person or property, the penalties can become more severe as well.

Upon receiving your traffic citation, the officer will inform you about the specifics of the citation itself. You will be given the amount of the fee to be paid as well as a court date. You can choose to either send in a payment to the address indicated on the citation or you can choose to go to traffic court. If you choose to appear in traffic court, the judge will ask you whether you plead guilty or not guilty to the charges. An experienced attorney can help you determine whether it is worth fighting the charges given your particular circumstances. Often times, by just appearing before the judge, he will reduce the fine. However, it is harder to get the points reduced or removed completely from your record without an attorney.

Surely, the best advice Daniel Selwa can give you to avoid traffic citations is to drive safely and follow all traffic laws. But, sometimes it happens, after a long day at work or when you’re in a rush to make it to work, so the next best advice Daniel Selwa can give you is to consult an attorney regarding your traffic offense. Attorney Daniel Selwa has been to traffic court many times on behalf of his clients. He knows how to fight your traffic offense charges and will do everything in his power to help you with your traffic ticket.

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Automobile Accidents: How you can be compensated for your losses

ImageEvery ten seconds someone in the United States is involved in a car accident. Today, cars are made to crumble upon impact. Cars are designed this way so that the driver and passengers are better protected from personal injury. While cars have come a long way in safety, unfortunately, many car accidents still result in death and serious injury. In fact, automobile accidents give rise to the majority of personal injury claims in the United States.

The law of negligence typically governs the legal claims arising from automobile accidents. Negligence consists of: duty, causation (legal and proximate), breach and damages. In the automobile context, automobile drivers owe a duty to exercise reasonable care in operating their vehicle. The failure to exercise reasonable care results in a breach and thus, raises an inference of negligence. The Plaintiff bears the burden of proof in a negligence action which means he must prove the Defendant breached his duty of care and that his breach was the proximate cause of the accident and the actual cause of the Plaintiff’s injuries.

Courts look at several factors to determine whether a driver was acting negligently in the operation of their vehicle. Failure to exercise reasonable care may be found where the driver: disobeyed traffic laws or signals, failed to signal while turning, drove above the posted speed limit, and drove under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Negligence is not the only legal theory of recovery for your personal injuries resulting from an automobile accident but it is the typical avenue to pursue when trying to recover for your personal injury damages. Call Daniel Selwa today to discuss your case.  Attorney Selwa offers free consultations to determine if the other driver’s negligence will allow you to recover monetary damages. Don’t let your medical bills and property damage bills overwhelm you, instead pursue your case with Daniel Selwa so that the at fault driver has to compensate you for your damages.

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Stricter DUI laws passes Senate

There has been a recent development on the stricter DUI laws I posted about earlier. The proposed stricter DUI laws just passed the SC senate which means the bill is one step closer to becoming a law in SC. The article can be found here: http://www.wbtw.com/story/21418554/sc-senate-passes-tougher-dui-bill. The new bill would significantly impact repeat DUI offenders. But, it would also have an impact on first time DUI offenders. First time offenders with a BAC of 0.12 or higher will have to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle.

If you are facing DUI charges, whether it be your first time offense, second or third time offense, contact your local DUI attorney Daniel Selwa.

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Car thefts in Myrtle Beach land on national car theft list!

I spoke earlier about a recent case involving an attempt to steal a motor vehicle. I recently came across this WMBF News article that lists Myrtle Beach as one of the top places nationwide in car theft reports. As noted in the news article, there are many more vehicles in the Myrtle Beach area during the summer time. In a sea of vehicles, your vehicle could be broken into and stolen without anyone noticing. It is important to keep your valuables stored away out of sight as well as to lock your doors when you exit your vehicle. You may not be able to prevent theft but you can take precautionary measures to protect yourself and your personal property.

Again, South Carolina statute defines breaking into motor vehicles as the breaking or attempting to break into a motor vehicle or its compartment with intent to steal the motor vehicle or anything of value from it, attached to it or used in connection with or in the preparation of any criminal offense. Contact Daniel Selwa if you have fallen victim to an attempted car theft or the completed crime of car theft.



Enjoy your car? MB lands on national car theft list – WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather.

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Two Suspects facing Breaking into Motor Vehicle Charges

Two people are being held on bond after they attempted a car jacking. The attempted car jacking happened on Tuesday afternoon in Myrtle Beach. Their attempt was unsuccessful due to three brave onlookers who held the two suspects at gunpoint until the police arrived.

In South Carolina, car jacking is referred to as attempted breaking into motor vehicles or breaking into motor vehicles. The attempt to break into a motor vehicle or the completed crime of breaking into a motor vehicle carries up to a 5-year sentence in jail and/or up to $1,000 fine.  The elements are as follows: breaking or attempting to break into a motor vehicle or its compartment with intent to steal the motor vehicle or anything of value from it which is attached to it or used in connection with it or in the preparation of any criminal offense.

The suspects in this case are featured in WMBF’s news article that is attached. They are scheduled to appear in court on August 3, 2012.

Woman holds suspected car thieves at gunpoint – WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather.

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Facing Reckless Driving Charges in Myrtle Beach?

Myrtle Beach is a heavily populated area during the summer season. The thousands of people, coupled with the hot weather and the crowded roadways can make for a dangerous combination. Motor vehicle drivers often get distracted or frustrated during this time of year. Have you ever sat in bumper-to-bumper traffic for a substantial amount of time? It may be that as soon as traffic starts to move again, you feel the urge to hit the accelerator, and illegally change lanes in order to pass the vehicles that are still moving slowly in front of you. Perhaps, on the other hand, after waiting for 5 minutes for the light to change green, the light finally turns green but turns red a few seconds later; not intentionally, you run the red light and make the illegal turn. Both scenarios can equal reckless driving although one is intentional and the other is not and both can happen in Myrtle Beach this time of year especially.

Reckless driving is defined as driving a vehicle with willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property. The test of recklessness considers speed but also all other attendant circumstances. Together, the test is met if it is shown there is a reckless disregard of consequences. Driving recklessly essentially means failing to use due care while operating a motor vehicle. A driver’s actions are deemed reckless when they put others in danger. Examples of reckless driving include: illegally changing lanes, running stop signs and/or red lights, street racing, and surpassing the speed limit.  

Reckless driving is often treated as a misdemeanor. The penalties can include jail time of up to 30 days and fines facing the upward amount of $200.00.  For a second or subsequent offense of reckless driving, the defendant’s motor registration and vehicle plates are suspended.

 There are possible defenses for a defendant that is facing misdemeanor charges of reckless driving. For example, a driver is typically not charged when he suddenly loses consciousness due to an unforeseen cause. Emergency situations may also excuse the defendant’s behavior as well. Daniel Selwa is experienced at handling traffic citation cases such as reckless driving. Contact your Myrtle Beach attorney today, Daniel Selwa so that he may assist you with your traffic violation case.

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Hot Pursuit- Failure to Stop

Have you ever found yourself in the situation where you are driving and see a speeding police vehicle approaching yours?  In the moment, you may be overcome by the feeling of panic. But, count to ten and breathe carefully because the last thing you want to do is run from the police. By South Carolina statute, failure to stop a vehicle when signaled by law enforcement is defined as a defendant driving a motor vehicle on a public road, street, or highway signaled to stop by law enforcement vehicle with a siren or flashing light and defendant’s failure to stop.

Any attempt to increase the speed of a vehicle or any method used to evade the police is prima facie evidence of a violation of the South Carolina statute as it pertains to failure to stop a vehicle when signaled by a law enforcement vehicle.  Failure to see the flashing lights or to hear the sirens will not excuse a failure to stop when a reasonable driver would see the flashing lights or hear the sirens under the circumstances. 

 If you fail to stop your vehicle when signaled by law enforcement then you can face jail time ranging from 90 days to 3 years or a fine of $500 with mandatory license suspension for at least 30 days.  If you are facing a second offense of failing to stop when signaled by law enforcement, you can face up to 5 years in jail with a mandatory license suspension of 1 year from date of conviction. If bodily harm is involved, you may face up to 10 years with a mandatory 3-year license suspension beginning after imprisonment. If death is involved, jail time can reach up to 25 years with a mandatory 3-year license suspension beginning after imprisonment.

If a law enforcement vehicle is pursuing you, the best course of action is to signal and pull over onto the side of the road. There are mitigating circumstances that will excuse one’s failure to stop when signaled by a law enforcement vehicle to do so. Attorney Daniel Selwa knows that if you did not stop due to a medical emergency, then you have a defense. There may be other mitigating circumstances as well that excuse your failure to stop when signaled by police enforcement. Let Daniel Selwa investigate your case and present your best defense. 

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Automobile Stops

Generally, police may not stop a car unless they have at least reasonable suspicion to believe that a law has been violated.  Reasonable suspicion is a legal standard that requires specific facts taken together with rational inferences from those facts.  For instance, a police officer may stop a vehicle on reasonable suspicion that the driver is drunk based on his observation that the vehicle is swerving all over the road.  If the police actually witness the driver committing a traffic violation, then there is reasonable suspicion to stop the driver.  Also, if the police believe the driver has violated a traffic law, they may stop the driver even if their motive is to really investigate whether some other law, which the police lacked reasonable suspicion for, has been violated.

On the other hand, the police may set up roadblocks to stop cars without individualized suspicion that the driver violated some law. To be valid, the roadblock must stop cars on the basis of some neutral standard, (every car), and must be designed to serve purposes related to a particular problem pertaining to automobiles and their mobility.  For example, the police could set a roadblock for the purpose of finding drunk drivers since drunk driving is pervasive problem.

If the police stop an automobile on reasonable suspicion, the stop constitutes a seizure of not only the automobile’s driver but also any of the passengers as well.  At this point, after the police have lawfully stopped the vehicle, the police may order the occupants of the vehicle to get out of the vehicle. In addition, if the police reasonably believe any of the occupants of the vehicle may be armed, they may frisk the occupants and search the passenger compartment for weapons. The police are also entitled to take property from the vehicle. However, the police must only do so based on reasonable suspicion.

The police have a limited time to detain the driver and/or occupants of the vehicle. The detention can last no longer than the amount of time needed to verify the suspicion.  If the driver and/or occupants refuse to cooperate with the police, then they may be arrested.

The police must be able to show the traffic stop was based on specific and articuable facts; the facts must support a showing that a traffic law has been violated. If you think the police stopped you or someone you know without reasonable suspicion, then Daniel Selwa may be able to help. Also, if you or someone you know was a passenger in the vehicle and lost personal property in the search, then let Daniel Selwa defend you. Passengers have standing to raise a wrongful stop as a reason to exclude evidence found during the stop.

Police are given the power to protect us but sometimes the police abuse their power. Daniel Selwa will fight to make sure you and your rights are protected.

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The Costs of not Paying a Traffic Citation- Safety Belt Law

Most of us have received a traffic citation once or possibly several times in our lives. But what you may not know is what happens if you don’t pay the fine on the traffic citation. Recently, a friend called and told me that her license had been suspended. She currently lives in Myrtle Beach but she is from Maryland. Her mother had told her she had received a letter in the mail in Maryland with the notification that her license had been suspended. My friend, Lilly had received a traffic citation for failing to wear her seatbelt. She failed to pay the fine by the deadline and thus her license was suspended.

A person’s license can be suspended for simply failing to comply with the traffic citation as in Lily’s case.  South Carolina law provides that within 12 months from the date a citation was issued, a court must notify the Department of Public Safety. The Department of Public Safety will then notify the driver’s home state of her failure to comply with the terms of the citation. In turn, the home state will begin procedures to suspend the driver’s license of the driver. This is exactly what happened in Lily’s case. Lily received a citation for breaking the safety belt law. The fine was small, at only $25.00. But, her failure to pay the small fine ended up costing her a great deal more than $25.00; it cost her, her license.

South Carolina’s safety belt law mandates that every driver and occupant of a motor vehicle wear a fastened safety belt. The driver is responsible for ensuring that every occupant in the vehicle at the age of 17 or younger wears a safety belt.  There are exceptions, for example, the law does not apply to school, church, or day care buses or to United States mail carriers. Law enforcement officers are able to stop a driver if the officer has a clear and unobstructed view of the driver or occupant of the motor vehicle not wearing a safety belt.  Citations for safety belt violations are subject to a fine not more than $25.00.  If there is a single incident including more than one violation, for instance, both the driver and passenger are without seatbelts, the fine may not exceed $50.00. If you fail to pay a traffic citation fine and as a result your license is suspended and you continue to drive on a suspended license, the penalty can reach jail time of up to 30 days and/or a $300 dollar fine for a first offense.

A license to operate a motor vehicle is a privilege, not a right. Therefore, the police have the power to regulate and enforce traffic laws to protect society at large.  But, this police power is subject to restrictions. For example, the police cannot revoke a person’s license arbitrarily or capriciously. If you think the police have exceeded their scope of authority then contact Daniel Selwa. Also, you can contest a traffic violation and if you feel you have wrongly been issued a citation, then Daniel Selwa can assist you as well. 

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