CRIMINAL LAW

Receive strong representation from attorneys with combined legal experience. We also have a group of dedicated paralegals available to answer any questions that may arise during your case.

criminal law attorney

Categories of Criminal Cases That We Can Help You With:

Possessory Crimes (possessing it is illegal)

Drug Crimes:

1. It can be against the law to possess, possess with the intent to distribute, manufacture, distribute or traffic in (trafficking is just possessing a lot of a substance) any substance placed by the United States government on Schedules I-V of the Controlled Substances Act.  Further, it can be against the law to possess some of these substances without a valid prescription.  

2. The punishments for these offenses are in enhanced (are more punitive, are “worse”) if you have previous convictions for controlled substances.

3. Some drug offenses (distribution within a school zone, trafficking cocaine, for example) are “Strike” offenses.  Strike offenses can be used to enhance sentences.  A person who has two previous strike offenses and is charged with a third strike offence may receive a sentence of life without parole upon conviction of the third strike.

4. Additionally, some drug offenses are labeled as “Violent” crimes under our law.  The sentences for these offenses are calculated at a higher rate than for non-violent offenses.

Gun Crimes:

1. Possession of firearms are generally prohibited in South Carolina subject to a few common exceptions.

2. Firearms may not be carried in your pocket, waistband or coat without a concealed weapons permit.

3. Firearms may not be carried in your car unless they are stored in a closed compartment that can be locked (like the trunk or glove compartment).  Guns may not be carried under your seat like in most states.

4. Certain people (some felons) cannot possess firearms.  Certain firearms may not be legally possessed (sawed-off shotguns, stolen firearms).

There are many valid defenses to a drug and gun charges, including an illegal search and seizure, lack of consent, lack of probable cause or reasonable suspicion, mere presence (“I was just standing there”), and lack of actual or constructive possession just to name a few.

Property Crimes:

Burglary: This is entering into the dwelling or place of business of another with the intent to commit a crime therein (usually steal something). Burglary can carry up to five years, ten years, fifteen years or life without parole depending of the facts of a case.

Larceny: This is another word for stealing.  Larceny can be a felony or misdemeanor depending on how much was taken.

Stealing can come in many forms and is covered by many statutes:  Breach of Trust, Embezzlement, Use of a Vehicle Without   Permission, to name just a few.

Persons Crimes: These are crimes committed against individuals and are treated more seriously under our law and many are “Strike” and “Violent” offenses:  Robbery, Assault and Battery, Criminal Sexual Conduct (Rape), and Murder.  Many of these offense have minimum mandatory sentences.  For example, a person convicted of Armed Robbery must receive a sentence of at least 10 years in prison, even if the judge would like to sentence the person to less.

Alcohol Related Crime:

DUI:  Driving a motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol or drugs is a misdemeanor on the first conviction and a felony, given enough convictions.  The punishments increase with subsequent convictions as well.  To prove a DUI the prosecutor and the officer must follow the DUI must follow the statutes very closely.

Felony DUI: It is illegal to operate a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs and violate a traffic statute and cause the death or great bodily injury of another.

Criminal Cases We Can’t Help You With:  We have not found one yet.

 

FAQ:

When should I get an attorney?

Now. Having an experienced attorney can influence all aspects of the criminal process so the sooner the attorney is working on your case the better the outcome is likely to be.  Criminal matters don’t go away by themselves.  Often having an attorney involved from the moment that you are contacted by law enforcement can make the difference between charges being brought or the embarrassment and inconvenience of arrest being avoided.  Also, many important events, such as preliminary hearings, can be waived if you do not exercise your right to the hearing early on in the process. 

 
Should I talk to law enforcement without an attorney?
 
No.  You can’t talk your way out of criminal charges but you can talk yourself into them.  Often the only evidence used to arrest someone for a crime is supplied by them in an interview with police.  Officers will tell you that they “just want to hear your side of the story” or that they will tell the prosecutor “that you cooperated”.  An experienced attorney can help you avoid the pitfalls involved in communicating with police and where warranted, can make any potential cooperation meaningful.
 
Can a lawyer promise me a result in my case?
 
No lawyer can promise a result.  When you hire a lawyer in a criminal matter his or her job is to work diligently to bring their experience and training to bear to solve the problem that you may have and bring about the best possible outcome for you.  Lawyers are not fortune tellers, soothsayers, odds makers or mediums.  A lawyer who promises a result from behind a desk or a telephone is telling you just what you want to hear, not what you need to hear.
 
I need to talk about my criminal case.  What should I bring to the initial consultation?
 
Bring all paperwork that you have:  tickets, bond sheet, booking sheet, any letters from the solicitor or city attorney.  The more information that we have about your charges the easier it will be to explain the process that you have entered and discuss the necessary fee.  You do not have to bring money, the first conversation is on me.  Everything discussed at an initial consultation is confidential.
 
Who makes the decisions in my criminal case if I hire you?
 
The resolution of a criminal matter, either by trial or by plea, may be biggest decision that a person can make in their life.  Ultimately, it is your decision.  We will advise you along the way about legal and practical matters so that your decision is an informed one.
 
I only have enough money for a bondsman or an attorney, not both.  What should I do?
 
Getting out of jail can be very important so that you don’t lose your job, your home, or worse.  One goal of every criminal defense attorney is to reduce or eliminate the incarceration of their client.  The attorney is concerned with more than just short-term goals.  The attorney must work towards that best possible outcome.  In the end, it is the result that matters.  
 
I have a criminal history.  Does that mean that I am going to prison?
 
Every case is different.  Some persons are charged because of their criminal history, not because of what they may have done.  Having a significant criminal history is a disadvantage in the criminal justice system but it is not determinative.  A lot has to happen before anyone goes to prison.

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