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Columbia South Carolina Criminal Law Blog

Federal and state criminal charges in South Carolina

Those who face criminal charges must deal with a tangle of often confusing procedures and rules. At this time, you need a reliable attorney at your side who can keep you informed while working vigorously to defend your case.

One important issue relates to whether the charges in question will proceed in state court, federal court or both. Federal and state criminal statutes often overlap, containing very similar elements. Factors such as the location, type and complexity of the crime determine whether jurisdiction will be state, federal or concurrent.

Could I be convicted of wire fraud?

Wire fraud is a white-collar crime. This means it involves money and finances. It is non-violent, but that does not mean its effects are not serious. This type of fraud can cost individuals and financial institutions a lot of money. In simple terms, wire fraud is when one person gets another person to transfer money to their financial account through devious means. Understanding more clearly what it is requires knowing what must be proven in court to get a conviction.

According to the United States Department of Justice, there are three main points the government must prove to convict someone of wire fraud. It must show that the interaction involved interstate wire communications. It also must show the person accused of the fraudulent activity did so of his or her own free will and understood that he or she would be tricking the other person out of his or her money.

Why are some drug charges a federal offense?

Drug charges are a serious problem that can disrupt your life significantly. This is true if you are facing charges at the state level, but it is especially true if you have been accused of a federal-level crime. You might be wondering what differentiates the two and why a drug charge might be tried at the federal level. There are several criteria that determine whether a crime is a federal offense or not.

The following are a few of the criteria. Whether your charges are at the state or federal level, it is important to understand the implications of the accusation and familiarize yourself with the legal options you have available.

What is wire fraud?

Federal prosecutors may charge you with wire fraud when they allege you used a communications device to transmit information across state lines as part of a scheme to defraud someone of property. Sometimes, prosecutors use wire fraud charges as a fallback when they encounter difficulties proving the elements of more specific fraud crimes.

If convicted, a judge may sentence you up to 20 years in prison for each count; in certain cases, this term can go up to 30 years. The penalties may also include substantial fines. For this reason, if you learn federal authorities are investigating you, you should immediately contact a knowledgeable attorney. Do not talk to investigators before you speak with your lawyer; any information you volunteer can later come back to haunt you.

Drug addicts need treatment, not jail time

After a drug-related conviction, the punishments you may face tend to vary based on factors, such as the severity of the crime itself and where the crime occurred. While you may have to serve jail time for your offense, drug offenders in many areas may have the option of participation in drug court as an alternative to imprisonment. While drug courts hold you accountable for behaviors by making you adhere to strict regulations, such as regular drug tests and appearances in front of program administrators, they also help combat what is often the root of the problem: your addiction.

What constitutes trademark infringement?

If you own your own business, you probably understand that your name means everything. To get people to remember you and what your business brings to the table, you need strong, cohesive branding, and part of the branding process often involves the development of a trademark. A trademark is a symbol, logo or grouping of words that you have legal ownership over and use as a representation of your business, product or service. When someone tries to use a trademark without proper authorization, it can confuse your customers and, quite possibly, damage your business and its earning potential. So, how can you know what constitutes trademark infringement?

Entrapment and white-collar crime

When a person is accused of committing a crime, entrapment is one of the possible defenses available. Asserting this defense means that the accused must prove that he or she would not have committed the crime in question without the pressure from law enforcement agents. This can be a complicated issue to argue, as it involves examining whether the agents' actions constituted extreme pressure as well as whether the defendant would have otherwise pursued this course of action. It is important to note that while this sounds as if invoking the entrapment defense means admitting that you committed the crime, the law permits a defendant to deny committing the crime and to assert, in the alternative, that his or her actions stem from being entrapped.

What is insider trading?

The basic tenets of prohibited insider trading forbid using "inside" knowledge to get an advantage in securities trading. With continuously increasing levels of enforcement along with strict court rulings that give prosecutors more scope, anyone involved in trading and investment should be aware of the many complex laws and regulations governing the various aspects of this activity.

What constitutes embezzlement, and how serious is it?

Embezzlement occurs when someone in charge of another's money and/or property, usually a company's, takes or uses those assets for their own personal gain. In definition, it may sound the same as any other type of theft, but there a few key differences that set embezzlement apart.

If you are in charge of some of your employer's assets, such as managing your company's accounts or finances, you should know what embezzlement is so that you can avoid it, and what the penalties are if you are found guilty of embezzling.