Getting a criminal conviction can have an adverse effect on your life and how people perceive you. Besides facing jail time or incurring hefty fines, you can see yourself missing out on job prospects, having your driving license revoked, having limited housing options, getting loan denials, and so on. A conviction will completely upend your life which is why you must think and act fast when you get arrested because your freedom and life are on the line.
If criminal charges are brought against you in Greenville, South Carolina, you should think about enlisting the criminal defense lawyers at Hernandez & Cabra to safeguard your rights and offer you the best possible legal counsel. Our skilled Greenville criminal defense lawyers can help charter you through South Carolina’s complex criminal justice system.
Our lawyers are well-informed in South Carolina’s criminal law and know exactly how it works – the procedures, plea bargains, trial, and can gauge what option will most favor you. Following your arrest, it’s integral that you act fast and contact us before charges against you are formalized. Our Greenville criminal defense attorneys will look into every possible option that assures a favorable verdict.
If you’ve gotten arrested for whatsoever reason, don’t allow the crucial moments following the arrest to pass you by, call our Greenville law firm immediately. You can reach us at 864-501-4384 to book a consultation and case evaluation TODAY!
What Are Your Rights as a Criminal Defendant in South Carolina?
When you are arrested and criminal charges are brought before you in South Carolina, the United States Constitution accords you with a range of fundamental protections. Most of the protections outlined in the constitution apply before an arrest is made. If you get detained in South Carolina for any supposed crime, knowing how the constitution defends your rights as a criminal defendant can help you make prudent decisions that put your criminal defense case in a better position.
Here are the Constitutional Amendments linked to criminal defendants’ rights in South Carolina:
The Fourth Amendment
The Fourth Amendment stipulates that law enforcement personnel cannot carry out any unjustified seizures or searches without a warrant. Before an arrest can be made, the police need to have satisfactory evidence/suspicion to stop you and conduct an unwarranted search and they also need probable cause to do so. Before a seizure or search is conducted, the arresting police need to obtain a warrant from a judge. Any evidence acquired through unscrupulous methods will be admissible in court.
The Fifth Amendment
This amendment stipulates that no individual shall be forced to appear as a witness against themselves. Pleading the Fifth shields you against self-incrimination. Although the authorities can need you to identify yourself at first, they cannot compel you to answer questions that may be detrimental to your criminal defense case. The fifth also safeguards you from double jeopardy, meaning that you cannot be prosecuted twice for the same criminal charge.
The Sixth Amendment
As a criminal defendant, you have a right to be made aware of the criminal charges being brought against you and you have legal grounds to confront your accuser and know the said evidence the prosecution will present before a jury of your peers and unbiased judge.
If the prosecution reveals evidence not previously mentioned, this action may be deemed as an infringement on your Sixth Amendment rights. What’s more, this amendment stipulates that you have a right to get professional legal representation, and if you cannot afford one, the court will provide an attorney for you.
The Eighth Amendment
This amendment defends citizens from cruel or unusual punishment. What’s more, the criminal defendant has a right to post bail and pay fair fine amounts. This means the courts are barred from setting unreasonable bail amounts based on personal feelings or prejudices against the defendant.
What Is a Misdemeanor vs. a Felony in South Carolina?
Depending on how serious the offense is in South Carolina, crimes can be grouped as either a felony or misdemeanor. A misdemeanor is a less severe charge compared to a felony and usually has lighter consequences compared to felonies. Some of the penalties include incurring hefty fines, community service, mandatory counseling, restitution, loss of driving license, and jail time.
Misdemeanors in South Carolina can be categorized into:
- Class A Misdemeanors: A person can be imprisoned for up to 3 years and incur a fine of up to $3,000.
- Class B Misdemeanors: A person can face jail time for up to 2 years and incur a $5,000 fine.
- Class C Misdemeanors: Carries jail sentence of up to one year and incur a fine of not more than $5,000.
- Exempt Misdemeanors: Carries a sentence of not more than 12 months. Includes drinking under 21 years or possession of marijuana.
Felonies are regarded as more momentous crimes that have grave consequences compared to misdemeanors. Felonies in South Carolina are categorized into 6 levels. Class A, B, C, D, E & F. The offenses, charges, and penalties vary with Class A carrying the most punishment of up to 30 years and a class F felony carrying a prison sentence of up to 5 years.
Should I Consult a Lawyer Before Speaking to the Police?
When you get detained, it’s within your rights to choose not to speak to the police regarding the alleged crime they have gotten you for. It’s your legal right to seek legal representation before uttering a single word to the. Remember that anything you say, can and will be used against you. So, it’s best to consult with a Greenville criminal defense lawyer first.
What Is the Habitual Offender Law?
At times, the state can modify the punishment of a felony based on inherent convictions. If you are found to be a repeat offender, you may be subject to the habitual offender law that enables the judge to issue more stringent punishments.
How Can an Attorney Help Me?
At Hernandez & Cabra we help people in Greenville and its environs secure their freedom and get back their life. Our criminal defense attorneys have the trial experience and commitment to strategically protect your interests. When facing criminal charges, you can get a hold of us at 864-501-4384 to book a consultation and case evaluation TODAY!
Here is how we can assist you.
An attorney will review the details of your case, conduct an independent investigation and interview the witnesses. All this will help in building an airtight defense case.
Going to court isn’t always the best option for the defendant and court. For this reason, an attorney can enter into a plea bargain with the prosecution. A plea bargain can reduce your punishment, decrease your potential prison sentence, or even keep you from going to jail.
Ability to Gauge Case Outcomes:
An experienced criminal defense attorney can foresee the likely outcomes of the case and can give you actionable advice as to whether going to trial or accepting a plea bargain will be in your best interest.
Knowledge of Law & Court Rules:
The attorneys at Hernandez & Cabra have comprehensive know-how of the criminal justice system in South Carolina. They know how to navigate through the court procedures and can identify inconsistencies and infringements that can have the case dismissed. What’s more, they have probably worked with the judge and prosecution before which will massively help your cause.
If there’s no plea deal, you can depend on the trial experience of the criminal defense attorneys at Hernandez & Cabra. Having won cases this in the past, you can expect us to pull no punches when it comes to fighting for your freedom.
What Is the Cost of Legal Representation?
Every criminal case is different and thus the cost to get legal representation also varies. When seeking legal counsel, the financial status of the defendant plays a significant factor. You can get an attorney that charges a flat fee or on retainer. Other factors that determine the cost of representation include the type of case, the attorney’s experience, the severity of the criminal case, and whether the case will head to court. However, if you can’t afford an attorney out of pocket, then the court will provide one for you.
Is There a Benefit to Having a Private Attorney vs. a Court-Appointed Attorney?
There are several benefits to enlisting a private criminal defense lawyer compared to a court-appointed lawyer. Public defendants usually receive minimum wage, are overworked, and generally don’t have a vested interest to help you. They won’t have the motivation to conduct a comprehensive investigation, collect evidence, and put forth a solid defense.
The Greenville criminal defense lawyers at Hernandez & Cabra have the skills, experience, and devotion to prepare your defense strategy and provide qualified legal representation.
Can You Represent Yourself?
Yes, you can represent yourself in a criminal defense case. However, this isn’t a recommended strategy if you want to be acquitted. Prosecutors can take you down easily using legal jargon and skills you aren’t adept at. Even if representing yourself is an option, enlisting the help of professional attorneys is always advised if you don’t want to be convicted on a technicality.
Should I Accept a Plea Bargain?
Whether or not to accept a plea bargain ultimately comes down to the circumstances surrounding your criminal case. Before you accept any plea, it’s best to consult with your criminal defense attorney first. Our attorneys at Hernandez & Cabra will review the arrangement and determine whether it’s agreeing to the plea is in your interest. We will always aim to reduce your punishment or charge.
Appealing a Conviction in South Carolina
If the court finds you guilty and you are sentenced, it’s within your rights to appeal. In South Carolina, people are allowed to appeal a conviction following sentencing. One is required to file their appeal within days following their sentencing. You should note that during the appeals process, no new evidence is accepted, there are no witnesses, and it generally doesn’t have a jury. The appeals courts generally consist of a three-panel team of judges who assess the trial records and written transcripts – and at times listen to oral arguments from both lawyers – from where they will render a decision.
Call an Experienced Greenville Criminal Defense Lawyer Now!
Given how a criminal conviction can significantly alter the course of your life, it’s integral that you go all out when it comes to your defense. With your reputation and life in jeopardy, you can’t afford to be passive when handling this type of case. For this reason, you need to hire a reliable lawyer to watch your back. A Greenville criminal defense lawyer can aid you through the legal procedures, file the requisite documentation, advocate on your behalf, and ascertain that your rights aren’t being infringed upon.
To build a strong defense case; consult with a criminal law lawyer at Hernandez & Cabra now and have your case evaluated. Reach out to our Greenville law firm at 864-501-4384 or online to find out exactly how we can put forth a solid defense. We only want to help!
Call us right away!