South Carolina Criminal Defense LawyerSouth Carolina is known for its music and arts scene as well as for having some of the best colleges and universities in the country. Legendary band Hootie and the Blowfish got its start in Columbia while the University of South Carolina is a member of the Southeastern Conference (SEC). The Carolina Panthers have a training facility in the state and have played home games within its borders as well. Although the people tend to be welcoming to natives and tourists alike, you could face a number of consequences for breaking the state’s laws.
The Potential Penalties for Violating State LawThe penalties that you may face if convicted of a criminal offense vary depending on the severity of the crime and your criminal history. For instance, if you are charged with a first-offense DUI, you may spend time in jail, spend time on probation, or pay a fine. You may also lose your license for a period of several weeks or months. However, if you are convicted of murder or another felony charge, you could spend the rest of your life in prison. It’s possible that you will spend at least a few hours in jail after being taken into custody. This may be especially true if you are found to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The time spent in custody is designed to allow you to sober up before going back home or back to work. There is also a chance that your car will be impounded or that other penalties will be imposed prior to a trial.
What to Do After You’re Charged With a CrimeIf you have been charged with any type of crime, the best thing to do is to remain silent. Saying as little as possible may prevent an officer or a prosecutor from obtaining evidence needed to bring the case to trial. It may also prevent authorities from getting leads that might strengthen the case against you or lead to additional charges. It’s also in your best interest to hire a South Carolina criminal defense attorney as soon as possible after being taken into custody. The same is true if you have been charged with a crime but were given an appearance ticket as opposed to being taken to jail. An attorney can appear with you during an interrogation or at any other time when authorities want to ask questions or want information from you. Your attorney may also take steps to help you bail out of jail or reduce the amount that you have to pay to secure your release. It’s also possible that your advocate will have some or all of the conditions attached to your bail removed. In the event that you violate those conditions, legal counsel may convince the judge in your case to allow you to remain free. Finally, your attorney may help to control the narrative in your case, which may be important if it receives local, state, or national media coverage. It’s worth noting that the attorneys at The Criminal Defense Law Firm are mostly former federal prosecutors and former members of federal agencies. Therefore, they have a thorough understanding of what it means to take control of a case and how to leverage it to your advantage.
The Types of Cases Our Firm Typically HandlesOur firm will handle most types of criminal cases such as traffic offenses, larceny, or arson. We will also handle cases related to murder, assault and battery, as well as offenses involving children or offenses involving assaulting or evading police officers. Other cases that we might be able to help you with include domestic violence, fraud, and crimes involving computers. However, it is worth noting that fraud or offenses committed using a computer may be dealt with at the federal level as opposed to by state authorities.
Drunk Driving Is a Serious OffenseTypically, offenses that occur while operating a motor vehicle are treated as infractions. However, drunk driving is treated as a criminal offense because it could put both lives and property at risk. You may be taken into custody for drunk or impaired driving if your blood alcohol content (BAC) is .08% or higher. The same may be true if you show other signs of impairment such as slurred speech or difficulty standing.
Drug Crimes May Result in Significant PenaltiesIf you are charged with being in possession of a controlled substance, you may face several months in jail or several years in prison. The extent of your sentence depends on how much of a given substance is found on your person or otherwise in your control. It’s possible that first-time offenders will be given the opportunity to attend rehab or take other steps to avoid going to jail or having a drug possession charge on their records. However, if you have previously been convicted of a drug crime, your best bet to avoid jail time may be to have the case dropped or to earn an acquittal.
Theft Crimes May Be Misdemeanors or FeloniesTheft occurs when you intentionally take something that doesn’t belong to you and intend to permanently deprive the owner of it. The severity of the charge generally depends on how much the items you took are worth as well as who you took those items from. Typically, the threshold for felony theft or larceny is higher when you steal from a retail establishment as opposed to from a person.
Defenses We Might Use in Your CaseThere are a number of defenses that we might use in your case such as asserting that there was no intent to commit a crime or that you were the victim of mistaken identity. It may also be possible to argue that your Fourth Amendment, Fifth Amendment, or other rights were violated during the course of an investigation. That may be enough to have evidence suppressed, which could lead to a case being dropped entirely.
Frequently Asked Questions
What does it mean to evade police or resist arrest?
Failing to comply with a lawful order issued by a police officer may result in an obstruction of justice charge. You may also be cited or charged with resisting arrest, attempting to elude authorities or similar charges. Your South Carolina criminal defense attorney may provide more insight into how your actions prior to going to court may impact your ability to obtain a favorable outcome in your case.
How can I prove that I'm the victim of mistaken identity?
There is a chance that another person might use your identity to commit crimes in your name. If you are initially held responsible for another person’s actions, there are several steps that you or your attorney might take to clear your name.
For example, you may be able to point to the fact that you put a fraud alert on your credit report or recently canceled a credit card that you didn’t open as proof that someone was using your identity. Even if this isn’t enough to get a charge dropped before trial, it may create enough doubt to convince a jury to find you not guilty.
It’s also possible that a thief will use your name to order products but send items to their own address. That may enable you to actually catch the person who is responsible for offenses that were committed in your name.
What should I bring to an initial consultation?
The only thing that you’ll need for the initial consultation is yourself and a willingness to tell your story. Typically, this conversation takes place by phone or virtually, and we generally don’t ask to see any documents or anything else that might be relevant to your case.
If you agree to hire us to represent your interests, a second meeting will be scheduled where you can go into more detail about the case. It’s worth noting that whatever you say during this first conversation is generally covered by attorney-client confidentiality rules. Of course, you are allowed to say as little or as much as you’d like, and we won’t even ask for your name if you aren’t comfortable divulging it.
Do I have to hire the firm after the consultation?
After your conversation has ended, we will likely send a proposal outlining our fee structure and other important information. However, there is no obligation to hire us just because you went through the consultation process. In most cases, conversations last about 15 to 30 minutes and there is no fee to speak with us. Therefore, a few minutes of your time is all that you’ll put at risk to learn more about how we can help you.