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SC traffic stops become something more

Often times, a routine traffic stop can leave a South Carolina motorist needing more than simple traffic defense to beat back the legal ramifications that follow. When a police officer pulls an individual over for speeding, or other traffic offenses, they search your criminal history and look at the contents of the car. If the authorities find menacing evidence during this process, a traffic citation can splinter off into additional charges, even though the only thing you initially did wrong was drive too fast in a vehicle.

Some local residents learned this lesson the hard way recently in Bamberg, South Carolina via a number of traffic stops. In one instance, a 20-year-old man from Orangeburg, South Carolina was pulled over after allegedly traveling 45 mph in a 25 mph speed zone. The man had with him a 17-year-old man and 25-year-old woman as passengers.

When police approached the car, they could detect the odor of marijuana, even though the driver claimed there was none present in the vehicle. He eventually fessed up to the presence of a marijuana roach in the car. As a result, all three individuals in the vehicle were charged with possession of marijuana and police did not even bother to investigate whom the drugs belonged to. Under questionable state law, everyone in the car was held responsible.

Similarly, another driver was pulled over for having a broken tail light. A 20-year-old man from Dillon accompanied the driver, and during the stop, police detected remnants of marijuana on the passenger's shirt and seat. They searched him to discover marijuana and marijuana paraphernalia. Police seized additional marijuana from the vehicle, but the passenger took full responsibility for it and was charged with simple possession.

An additional traffic stop turned up a 29-year-old man from Middle Street whom police pulled over for weaving throughout lanes. Police discovered that the man was operating on a suspended license. His license had been suspended due to controlled substance convictions. Police suspected the man of driving while intoxicated, even though he turned in satisfactory results on a field sobriety test. They arrested him under suspicion.

Source: The Times and Democrat, "Speeding, simple possession of marijuana add up to charges," March 11, 2012

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