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If you have been charged recently with a criminal offence as the state level such as DUI or domestic violence, you probably have a lot of questions and concerns about what will happen next, who you can find to listen to your side of the events, what your legal rights are, and - most importantly - how this unfortunate incident will affect your personal life, your job and your family.
All of these things will be answered when you hire an attorney. The sooner you speak with a qualified lawyer, the sooner you will be able to reduce the effects of the charges against you and take action to help avoid legal mistakes. You need to quickly consult with a South Carolina criminal lawyer who has a proven history of defending cases that are similar to yours. You do of course have the right to remain silent until you have sought counsel and the sooner you meet with a potential attorney, the better off you will be. Bear in mind that not everyone who has been charged with a state offense has been found guilty. When you partner with a criminal lawyer, they will be able to protect you and your family throughout this time and give you information on what your various options and legal rights are. Many attorneys will offer a free consultation the first time you meet, so you will be able to get some of this advice up front.
Are You In Need of Trusted Defense for Criminal Charges?
Our criminal attorneys have expertise in a wide variety of criminal offenses from solicitation to kidnapping to DUI. We have lawyers who practice in diverse areas: fraud, weapons charges, theft, probation violations, white collar crimes and many more. You need to act quickly. It doesn't matter if you are already facing charges or you suspect that there may be forthcoming repercussions for a past act, the longer you wait around the more difficult it is to build up a good defense. Our South Carolina criminal attorneys know this and they also understand how the justice system works, especially at the state level. They will be able to offer sound advice when you come in for your initial meeting.
Build a Strong Defense for DUIs
One of the most common charges that people will face at a state level is the charge of DUI. The consequences of this can vary and can include everything from a night in jail and heavy fine to a suspended driver's license, alcohol education and other penalties.
If you are charged with a DUI, you will need a criminal lawyer who is knowledgeable about state laws and who has experience handling cases like yours. Our South Carolina attorneys will help to determine if you qualify as a first offender, how to design your defense, how this can affect parts of your life like your job, and what penalties you may face.
Concentrated on Different Areas of the Law
Our attorneys concentrate in specific areas of the law. They work in these areas as to gain an extensive knowledge and understanding of the exact criminal charges you face. They know the state laws that will come into play for your case and they know the most effective strategies to help with your defense. We will be able to match you up with the most qualified lawyer on the team who has the experience needed for your specific case.
What You Should Expect from Your Lawyer
At your first meeting, you will be able to speak with your criminal attorney about the facts of the case. He or she will be able to share their expertise of the law as it applies to your situation. You should always be honest and candid when speaking with your lawyer. They must keep all of your information confidential and will work with your best interest in mind. You should always take your lawyer's advice and be patient as you explore the steps of your case.
A Strong Reputation Counts
Our professional lawyers belong to numerous associations like the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. Their work history is easy to track and all of them have been fully vetted as we want you to have the most competent and reliable attorney working on your behalf.
Choose Attorneys That You Can Trust
How do you figure out which is the most suitable criminal lawyer for you? The right criminal attorney for you is one who will work to provide you with an informed defense. They will build trust with you, work with the highest ethical standards and bring professional confidence into your case.
Our top South Carolina lawyers know will advise you on how to handle your personal case and will do so with care and diligence. Avoid mistakes in the near future by finding a lawyer as quickly as possible during this time in order to protect your rights and give yourself peace of mind. Call today and be connected with a reputable criminal attorney.
Are You Facing Criminal Charges in South Carolina?
When you face criminal charges, it can be helpful to gain further information and clear insight into those charges, along with a little general information on criminal law. Not only does this help defendants understand their own charges, but it can provide insight into why building a robust defense is so important. Understanding the criminal laws in South Carolina begins with knowing how crimes are classified.
All crimes that can potentially result in a jail or prison sentence are considered either felonies or misdemeanors in South Carolina. Of these, felonies are the more important because the effects of a conviction will have a greater impact on the future life of the defendant. Typically, the division between an act that is considered a misdemeanor and one that qualifies as a felony is based on the fact that incarceration for a misdemeanor conviction is limited to a maximum of one year. However, in South Carolina, this is not the case.
Misdemeanors in South Carolina are further classified as Class A, Class B, or Class C, and each of these classifications has a maximum penalty. For Class A misdemeanors – the most serious – the penalty is three years. For Class B misdemeanors, it is two years, and one year is the maximum for Class C misdemeanors. Complicating the determination of potential punishment even further, certain misdemeanors in South Carolina are exempt from these maximum punishments. Instead, the potential punishment for certain specific crimes are specified in a separate statute.
Felonies in South Carolina follow a similar pattern. The most serious – Class A felonies – can be punished by as many as 30 years in prison. For Class B felonies, the limit is 25 years, and Class C felony convictions can warrant a maximum sentence of 20 years. This same schedule continues for Class D felonies, which have a potential maximum of 15 years; Class E felonies, which can result in a maximum sentence of 10 years; and Class F felonies, which are punishable by up to 5 years in prison. Added to those, certain other felonies – called exempted felonies – are not subject to this schedule.
Most notable among these exempted felonies is murder. Murder that is charged as a Class A felony is not limited to the usual potential sentence of 30 years. In fact, for this crime, a South Carolina prosecutor can still seek capital punishment.
Locate a criminal defense attorney in South Carolina here.
Five Common Crimes Charged in South Carolina
While information about a specific crime can provide clarity regarding the actual criminal charges an individual may be facing, application of these statutes to a specific set of circumstances is still difficult and requires assistance from an experienced attorney. For this reason, if you are facing criminal charges for any of the following common crimes – or for a South Carolina crime not discussed here – contact South Carolina criminal defense lawyers for information on your specific case.
South Carolina law cites two offenses that relate to the operation of motor vehicles when impaired. The first, driving under the influence (DUI) states that it is illegal to operate a vehicle when your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is over 0.08%. The two exceptions to this BAC level are: individuals under the age of 21 whose legal limit must not exceed 0.02%, and commercial drivers whose legal limit is 0.04%. To charge an individual with DUI, evidence of impairment must also be present.
However, South Carolina has another DUI law which is not restricted by the same requirement. Known as driving with an unlawful alcohol content (DUAC), this offense makes simply being over the legal limit while operating a vehicle a crime. Both DUI and DUAC have similar penalties, the severity of which are partially based on whether an individual has prior convictions for DUI or DUAC.
A first-time offense for DUI or DUAC is a misdemeanor. As such, it is punishable by a maximum of 30 days in jail unless the individual’s BAC is over 0.16%. In such case, the maximum punishment rises to 90 days in jail.
A second-time offense for DUI or DUAC is also a misdemeanor; however, it can be punished by a maximum of one year in jail. Likewise, an individual whose BAC was higher receives a more substantial punishment. For a second offense, a driver with a BAC above 0.1% can be sentenced to two years in jail, and a BAC over 0.16% could mean three years in jail.
While a third DUI or DUAC charge is still a misdemeanor, a third conviction is punishable by a maximum of three years in jail. If a driver has a BAC higher than 0.1%, that maximum jail sentence potential will increase to a maximum of four years, and a driver whose BAC was above 0.16% could possibly receive a five-year sentence.
Lastly, four or more convictions for DUI make the offense a felony DUI in South Carolina. This repeat offender can be punished by a maximum term of five years in jail for a BAC under 0.1%; however, a BAC higher than that limit will make the potential sentence jump to six years in jail. If the BAC of a four-time – or higher – offender is greater than 0.16%, conviction could mean up to seven years in jail.
All of these terms of incarceration are imposed in conjunction with substantial criminal penalties that can – and likely will – be assessed for a DUI conviction. Additionally, steep administrative penalties, such as temporary or permanent loss of driving privileges and installation of an ignition interlock device on the vehicle of the offender.
Find the top South Carolina DUI lawyers.
Assault and Battery
Laws governing assault and battery vary from state to state. In some states, assault covers all offenses involving threatening and causing physical harm or offensive touching while, in other states assault charges require the mere threat of physical harm or offensive touching, while battery is charged when an individual actually causes either of these. In South Carolina, the assault and battery statute covers both causing unlawful physical harm to another person and the attempt to do so.
Assault and battery charges can be brought in any of four degrees. The highest degree and most serious offense is assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature. This criminal charge is reserved for assault and battery cases in which the actor causes great bodily injury or those in which the injury is accomplished by means likely to cause death. The maximum punishment for assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature is 20 years in prison.
Assault and battery in the first degree is punishable by a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a person is said to have committed this level of assault and battery when the actor:
Assault and battery in the second degree is a misdemeanor, and it is punishable by a maximum prison sentence of three years and/or a fine not to exceed $2,500. Assault and battery in the second degree involves an actual assault and battery or an attempt that causes moderate bodily injury to the victim or involves non-consensual sexual contact.
Assault and battery in the third degree is a misdemeanor, punishable by a maximum 30 days in prison and/or a fine not to exceed $500. Assault and battery in the third degree is charged for any bodily injury to another person or an attempt to cause contact that would result in bodily injury which does not rise to the level of a first- or second-degree charge.
In South Carolina sexual assault – with the exception of rape and similarly serious crimes – is addressed within the same statute as other types of assaults. While many lawyers who handle assault and battery will also focus their practices on these sexual assault offenses, if you are charged with such a crime, it is definitely in your best interest to be sure that you specifically contact sexual assault lawyers in South Carolina or rape attorneys in South Carolina because these lawyers will have accumulated far more extensive experience with crimes that are substantially similar to the one of which you are accused.
Find a top assault defense attorney in South Carolina.
Robbery is defined as the taking of property, money, or something else of value from the person of a victim by the use of violence, threat of violence, coercion, or a deadly weapon. Typically, being faced with a robbery places the victim in a position of fear due to the reasonable fear of imminent bodily harm or even death. In South Carolina, robbery is classified as a crime against property because the intent of the actor is to steal or take something of value from the victim.
Several crimes against property are addressed in SC criminal laws but, for a victim, robbery is one of the most personal. For this reason, South Carolina imposes a stricter and higher level of punishment for robbery than it does for certain other property crimes, such as theft. Robbery by force or coercion, even without the use or display of a deadly weapon, is still a felony. This offense is punishable by a maximum of 15 years in prison.
Armed robbery is a heightened offense. That means South Carolina law defines armed robbery as robbery that occurs while the actor is armed with a pistol, knife, slingshot, metal knuckles, razor, or other deadly weapon. Armed robbery can also be charged when the actor suggested that he or she has a deadly weapon by representing the shape and size of such weapon to the victim, and the victim reasonably believed the actor had such weapon. This second form of armed robbery is considered just as serious as one in which the robber is actually armed.
Armed robbery mandates a minimum sentence of 10 years, and the maximum sentence is 30 years in prison. In addition to these extensive sentences for armed robbery, South Carolina law does not allow an individual who has been convicted of armed robbery to be considered for parole until after seven years of the sentence has been served.
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Unlawful killing of another human being is referred to as homicide. Homicide, by definition, covers both unintentional and intentional killing. In South Carolina, an unintentional killing is called involuntary manslaughter, while the killing of another human being with intention but not malice is designated as manslaughter. Even more serious than manslaughter is murder, which is defined as killing another person with malice aforethought. The legal term “malice aforethought” simply means the actor had a deliberate intention to do harm to or kill the victim. In South Carolina, this intention makes a big difference in the severity of homicide charges. As the most grave crime in the State of South Carolina, murder is a criminal offense that is taken very seriously under the statutes of the state and by the prosecutors throughout South Carolina, who eventually charge individuals with the crime. In fact, a minimum punishment of 30 years in state prison is mandatory upon a conviction of murder, and the maximum sentence is capital punishment. Therefore, defense against a murder charge should be handled only by the best South Carolina criminal attorneys.
Find the best murder lawyers in South Carolina.
Kidnapping and Abduction
Generally, kidnapping is described as any carrying away or taking of another person, during which such person is held in confinement or otherwise prevented from leaving. These actions are considered crimes in every state, and they are specifically prohibited by state law in South Carolina. The consequences of kidnapping in South Carolina, as in other states, are severe.
Under South Carolina law, kidnapping is broadly defined to include the seizure, confinement, inveigle, decoying, kidnapping, abduction, or carrying away of another person. Each of these actions – except when committed by a parent of his or her own child – will be charged as a felony, punishable by a maximum of 30 years in prison.
In addition to charges for kidnapping, South Carolina contemplates a separate serious offense for conspiracy to commit kidnapping. Conspiracy to kidnap is said to occur when two or more individuals enter into an agreement or take steps in a plan to kidnap. The punishment for all individuals involved in the conspiracy is equal to that for kidnapping, which is a maximum of 30 years in prison. This is true, even if the kidnapping does not come to fruition.
Lastly, South Carolina law includes an additional law which is specifically intended to address the trafficking of human beings for the purpose of labor or working. Whether a defendant is involved in trafficking in humans by providing transportation, arranging timetables, or in actually forcing people to perform labor, the charge for this offense is equally serious. A single count of trafficking in humans is a felony punishable by a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison, and a separate charge can be brought against an individual for each person trafficked.
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Each South Carolina criminal lawyer within Criminal Lawyer is prepared to defend a variety of crimes in South Carolina. Our experience is not limited to the most common crimes in the state, and it extends to the strong defense of federal crimes and appellate level defense. Whether you are seeking a lawyer for defense against such serious charges as murder, or a less severe misdemeanor such as possession of a controlled substance, we can help.
Importance of an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer
Do not leave the outcome of your defense to chance. First and foremost, too much is at risk. While many criminal defendants are focused almost entirely on their freedom, a criminal defense lawyer in South Carolina knows that, while this might be the most important thing, it is not the only thing a defendant stands to lose following a criminal conviction.
In the effort to protect your future, experience can’t be overlooked. The prosecution will be led by lawyers who go to court day in and day out in their efforts to convict individuals of criminal charges. This opens a wide disparity of both knowledge and skill between the defendant, who is typically a layperson with little or no familiarity with the court system, and the thoroughly experienced prosecution, unless you have enlisted the assistance of a criminal defense lawyer.
If you don’t know where to turn for defense against criminal charges in South Carolina, turn to us.
[Disclaimer – this is not legal advice.]
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