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Can You Be Charged with First Degree Burglary for Entering a Storage Building?

Can you be charged with first-degree burglary for entering a storage building?

Although the distinction between first, second, or third-degree burglary can be confusing, most people (including attorneys) understand that first-degree burglary is when you break into someone's home while third-degree burglary involves breaking into someone's building or business.

In State v. Massey, decided June 10, 2020, the SC Supreme Court clarified that you can be charged with first-degree burglary for breaking into a storage building that is only used for business purposes and that is not attached to a home.

Below, we will discuss the difference between first, second, and third-degree burglary and what State v. Massey means for you if you are charged with a burglary offense in SC.

Star-spangled sparkler safety

With many fireworks shows getting delayed or canceled, more people are looking for ways to celebrate summer with their own fireworks. There is a long list of legal fireworks in South Carolina, but many still enjoy the simplicity of sparklers.

Perhaps because of their small size, sparklers are often underestimated when it comes to safety precautions. Despite their size, sparklers can still be dangerous if you are not careful.

Brown v. Sojourner: SC Supreme Court Denies Elective Share to James Brown's Surviving Spouse

In Brown v. Sojourner, decided June 17, 2020, the SC Supreme Court reversed a lower court's finding that Tommie Rae Brown was James Brown's surviving spouse and therefore entitled to an elective share of his estate.

Although Tommie Rae and James Brown were married in 2001 in SC, the distribution of his estate has been delayed since his death in 2006, in part due to confusion over the validity of Tommie Rae and James Brown's marriage. She apparently was already married when she married James Brown, although there were questions over whether her prior marriage and subsequent attempts to annul the prior marriage were valid.

This decision stresses the importance of ensuring that any prior marriages or divorces have been finalized and are documented in the public record before entering into a new marriage - if the public record does not show that a prior marriage has been terminated, the new marriage will be "void ab initio" as bigamous.

Premises Liability in Myrtle Beach, SC - Invitee or Licensee?

In Lefont v. City of Myrtle Beach, the SC Court of Appeals reversed an Horry County Circuit Court's decision to grant a directed verdict (dismissal after the plaintiff's case has been presented) to the City of Myrtle Beach, allowing Lefont's premises liability claim to go forward.

The Court of Appeals found that there was sufficient evidence that Lefont was an invitee, rather than a licensee, and therefore the City of Myrtle Beach owed a greater duty of care to Lefont to prevent injury from a pothole in the Myrtle Beach Convention Center's parking lot.

What is a "licensee" and how is that different from an "invitee?" How does the victim's status affect a slip and fall or trip and fall premises liability case in SC?

There is No Such Thing as Felony Attempted Murder in SC

In State v. Smith, decided March 18, 2020, the SC Supreme Court reversed a conviction for attempted murder that was based on a non-existent "felony attempted murder rule."

Smith was involved in a gunfight - he fired one shot at a group of men that the defense's witnesses said fired at him first, but the shot missed and struck an innocent bystander, severing her spinal cord and resulting in permanent disability.

The prosecutor did not charge Smith with attempted murder of the person he intended to shoot. They did not argue "transferred intent" - if he intended to kill the intended target and if it was not in self-defense, the intent to kill would then apply to the woman his bullet struck.

Instead, they charged with him with attempted murder of the bystander, arguing that it was "felony attempted murder" because it happened during the commission of a felony, the felony being his possession of a handgun.

Why did the prosecutor seek a conviction for a non-existent crime? Why didn't the prosecutor charge Smith with attempted murder of his intended target?

Beware the pitfalls of do-it-yourself estate planning

In these times of uncertainty, many people are scrambling to get their affairs in order. The ease and convenience of online estate planning documents are tempting. However, your estate plan should be as unique as your family. A one-size-fits-all document is unlikely to cover all contingencies and may result in major headaches further down the road.

Nursing Home Abuse and COVID-19 Deaths

COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities may be the worst tragedy that is resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. But is it nursing home abuse or neglect when your loved one is killed by COVID-19 in a nursing home?

What if it could have been prevented? At what point is a nursing home responsible for a deadly viral infection? Is it an "act of God" or a preventable tragedy caused by nursing home negligence?

Below, we'll discuss when you can sue a nursing home for abuse or negligence, whether it is a COVID-19 related death or one of the more common types of abuse that occurs in nursing homes.

If you have questions about whether your loved one's injuries were caused by nursing home negligence or if you suspect your loved one is being abused or neglected, contact the Myrtle Beach nursing home abuse attorneys at Axelrod and Associates now for a free consultation.

Are Insurers Required to Pay Claims for Business Interruption Due to COVID-19?

Is business interruption due to COVID-19 a valid insurance claim? If it is a valid insurance claim, do you also have an insurance bad faith claim when your insurance company refuses to pay?

Restaurants and small businesses are already starting to file lawsuits over unpaid claims - even when insurance policies do not exclude pandemics, epidemics, or viral outbreaks from their coverage, insurance companies are refusing to pay.

If you believe that your business has insurance coverage for business interruption or "force majeure" and your insurance company is refusing to pay, your Myrtle Beach insurance bad faith attorney on the Axelrod team can review your policy, demand payment from your insurer, and file suit if they are refusing to pay a valid claim.

SC has the Nation's Second-Highest Arrest Rate for Marijuana Possession

The most recent data from the FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting system shows that arrests in SC for marijuana possession are have steadily increased since 2010, with SC having the second-highest arrest rate for marijuana possession in 2018, the latest year for which data is available.

Even worse, Horry and other SC counties arrest black citizens for marijuana possession at a rate that is even higher than the national average. While black people nationwide are 3.64 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than a white person, black citizens in Horry County, SC, are 6.8 times more likely to be arrested.

As many states are legalizing marijuana use and possession and some countries have even declared that the ability to grow and harvest the plant is a human right, why is SC jailing more and more of its citizens for simple possession?

Was Myrtle Beach Bike Week Canceled Due to COVID-19?

Was the 2020 Myrtle Beach Bike Week canceled due to COVID-19?

The Myrtle Beach area has three motorcycle rallies every year - a Harley Davidson rally in the Spring, another one in the Fall, and the Atlantic Beach Bike Fest which usually coincides with Memorial Day weekend.

Due to COVID-19 and the SC governor's "work or home" Order, the Atlantic Beach Bikefest, originally scheduled for May 22-25, has been postponed until Labor Day Weekend in September. Although county officials intended to combine the Spring and Fall Harley Davidson rallies into one event in October 2020, County Council has now approved a second Harley Davidson rally that may take place this July.

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