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South Carolina men face multiple charges after meth arrest

A South Carolina court set the bond for two alleged methamphetamine, or "meth," manufacturers at $300,000 and $400,000. Police claim that the two men made the meth in an upstairs room at a Ravenel residence using a soda bottle. It is not clear if either of the men have obtained criminal defense representation in the case, however reports have indicated the two have admitted to committing crimes.

In addition to the manufacture of methamphetamine, the suspect subject to the $300,000 bail faces charges of kidnapping and criminal domestic violence. In arriving at the six-figure amount for the other suspect, the judge may have considered the suspect's prior criminal record. The suspect subject to the $400,000 bail also faces charges of possessing a stolen firearm, possession of a firearm with a prior violent felony conviction and possessing a firearm during the commission of a violent crime.

Gun charges often add to the many obstacles criminal defendants already face. Those with prior violent felony convictions or probationary restrictions may find themselves dealing with additional criminal charges for merely possessing a gun. Those who carry a gun while committing a felony face enhanced criminal charges for doing so, in addition to the charge for the underlying crime.

Moreover, prior felons and those on probation cannot simply go into a store and legally buy a gun. If they are in possession of a weapon under these circumstances they more than likely obtained that weapon illegally and could be facing additional penalties for illegal possession of a firearm, as one of the men in this story is. Furthermore, gun violations can be a matter of federal law as well as South Carolina law, and thus expose suspects to even more criminal penalties. Federal sentencing guidelines are often harsher than state or county sentencing guidelines.

Here, the suspect facing the gun charges said he only had the gun for self-defense purposes, yet he will now have to strategize and defend against an array of serious accusations in addition to the charge of manufacture of methamphetamine and possible parole or probation violations. Those accused of gun or drug related crimes should be aware of their rights to legal counsel before moving forward with their defense and talking with the authorities about their case.

Source: ABC News 4, "Bonds set for meth lab suspects," Sept. 20, 2012

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