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Columbia South Carolina Criminal Law Blog

Have you been charged with intent to distribute drugs?

The state of South Carolina is cracking down on offenses related to the possession and distribution of prescription drugs. There is now a prescription monitoring program designed to stop the illegal diversion of drugs from both community and hospital outpatient pharmacies. Did the SCRIPTS program lead authorities to you?

The SCRIPTS program

3 common types of federal offenses

Some criminal acts are so serious that they require federal prosecution. Federal crimes are generally worse and come with harsher punishments than state crimes. But what exactly are federal offenses?

There are many types of unlawful acts that are subject to federal prosecution. Here are some of the more common types of federal crimes:

Are you unknowingly committing tax fraud?

Have you ever filed your own taxes and guessed when it came to an answer or two? If so, you are in good company. Taxes are inherently complicated, and even if you have the best intentions and believe you are being as thorough and forthright as possible when filing, you may still make errors out of a lack of knowledge, rather than malice.

Regrettably, however, Uncle Sam does not care whether your tax error came from ignorance or ill intent, and if you make certain mistakes when filing your taxes and reporting your income, it may trigger an audit or otherwise come back to haunt you. Just what types of errors are likely to trigger an audit or raise a red flag with the Internal Revenue Service? Many people who inadvertently commit tax fraud do so in similar ways, so to avoid calling unwanted attention to yourself, make sure to:

What is embezzlement?

When an employee misappropriates or steals money from his or her employer, it is embezzlement. This type of employee theft is different than pure stealing. This is because the employee has permission to handle the assets in a particular way, but not to use it for his or her enrichment. 

Embezzling money may be a crime and a civil violation. Here is a guide to this white color crime. 

Are cryptocurrencies contributing to tax fraud?

The IRS is worried. The meteoric rise of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin has led to something of a techno-money "boom" in recent years. Consequently, the IRS wonders whether or not it's getting its fair share of the profits.

As with other monetary transactions, Bitcoin exchanges are subject to capital gains taxes or income taxes if the currency was held for less than 12 months (short-term gains). This is because under IRS regulations established in 2014, Bitcoin and other so-called "virtual currencies" should be treated as capital assets or property for tax purposes, not as actual currency.

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.

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