South Carolina Criminal Law and Motor Vehicle (Book Review)

A traffic collision occurs every 3.7 minutes, injuring a person every 8.5 minutes in South Carolina.[1]  Whether you intend to practice as a plaintiff or defense attorney, criminal or civil—automobile accidents have a high likelihood of affecting your profession and/or personal life. This easy to use handbook, South Carolina Criminal Law and Motor Vehicle (“SCCLMV”), provides a wealth of knowledge at an affordable price.

traffic

What is it?

Intended for the legal and law enforcement community, the SCCLMV compiles Crimes and Offenses, Criminal Procedures, Motor Vehicles, South Carolina Children’s Code and selected related laws of the South Carolina Code and is roughly 1,500 pages (including highlights of the 2017 South Carolina Legislative Session and South Carolina Legal Guidelines).  Beginning with Crimes and Offenses, Criminal Procedure and Law Enforcement (S.C. Code §16-55)[2] before transitioning to Motor Vehicles, Highways, Education, Alcohol and Children’s Code (S.C. Code §56-63)[3], the SCCLMV covers a broad spectrum of information.

 How can it help me?  

As third year law student clerking at a downtown firm with a full print library, I have discovered that the senior partners often harp on the importance of initiating legal research in the books as opposed to online.  It was not until my first research assignment when I found myself frantically typing search terms into Westlaw, LexisNexis, Bloomberg Law and quickly ending down a dead-end rabbit hole – that I even considered beginning legal research with statutes, secondary sources and handbooks.

Statutes are a primary source of law and a great way to begin research projects[4].  In addition, secondary sources and handbooks save researchers time, providing an overview of legal issues and pointing to relevant primary authorities[5].  The SCCLMV  provides short and effective explanations, headers, edge index, table of contents and an index which offers a roadmap to produce quick navigability to an applicable statute.

Need an example?

Picture it, on the way to mediation, a senior partner asked for a copy of the South Carolina statute that states a driver’s duty upon entering an intersection on a green light.  Desperately dumping search term after search term into Google and Westlaw,  I finally found the statute – thirty minutes after another person found it.  Ohhhh, fail!  Despite unsuccessfully completing the task at hand, I also wasted time and resources. The SCCLMV handbook allows a researcher to find the statutes they need quickly and efficiently.

Given that same task today (now three years later), I would first consult the South Carolina Criminal Law and Motor Vehicle Handbook and flip to the Traffic Regulations section of the Index.  Skimming through, I came across traffic regulations, §56-5-10 to §56-5-6565 and I have now narrowed down my search.  Continuing to the next page I noticed Right of Way – Approaching or entering intersection, 56-5-2310 and I have located the South Carolina statute concerning approaching intersections.

To complete my statutory research,  I turned the page and located Traffic-control signals, §56-5-970 (A) Green Indication.  So, in mere minutes (and, in a quick and efficient manner), I have located the necessary statutes using the South Carolina Criminal Law and Motor Vehicle Handbook.  Far easier and faster than recklessly typing random words into Google, Westlaw, LexisNexis or Bloomberg Law and hoping to find something.

Where to find it & how much does it cost?

This resources is published annually by Blue360 Media and Matthew Bender & Company, Inc. in print and electronic formats.  Ebooks charges $42.00 (for an online version) whereas a print version will set you back $49.00.  The 2017-2018 edition is available via Blue360media.com[6] and eCampus.com.  Blue360 Media estimates Sunday, March 31st, 2019 for the 2018-2019 edition.

Bottomline, the SCCLMV  is, in this author’s humble opinion, an affordable and easy-to-use guide and is an essential resource for law students and new lawyers to have on their bookshelf or briefcase.

For additional research tips concerning automobile accidents please see Bret N. Christensen’s January 24, 2019 Blog Post “Nice and Steady” (https://lawlibrarybarrister.wordpress.com/).

[1]2016 SCDPS Traffic Collision Fact Book. https://scdps-test.sc.gov/sites/default/files/Documents/ohsjp/fact%20book/2016%20Fact%20Book.pdf.

[2] https://www.scstatehouse.gov/code/statmast.php.

[3] https://www.scstatehouse.gov/code/statmast.php.

[4] Charleston School of Law, Advanced Legal Research. Professor Deborah Turkewitz PowerPoint Lectures 5 & 7.

[5] When And How to Use Secondary Sources and Persuasive Authority to Research and Write Legal Documents. The Writing Center at GULC. 2004.

[6] https://www.blue360media.com/categories/criminal-traffic-laws/south-carolina-criminal-law-motor-vehicle-handbook-2.html.

 

~by Michael Monastra

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