Have you been charged with a criminal offense? Are you looking for the best Saluda criminal defense lawyer? Well, Ayers, Smithdeal & Bettis should be your first choice when it comes to criminal defense lawyers in Saluda, South Carolina. We have a lot of experience in handling different types of criminal cases. Therefore, regardless of the type of criminal offense you have been charged with, we are here to help.
If this is your first time being charged with a crime, you might not be aware of your rights under South Carolina law. Well, thanks to our law firm, you can have the representation you need during your criminal case. Even better, we will explain the legal jargon to you to avoid any misunderstanding.
Call us now at 855-213-4405 and our top criminal defense attorneys will start working on your case immediately.
Table of Contents
What Are Your Rights as a Criminal Defendant in South Carolina?
If you have been charged with a criminal offense in South Carolina, here are the rights owed to you.
To Be Informed About the Nature of the Complaint
Any criminal complaint should state in the simplest terms the crimes you have been charged with. The complaint should explain the charges and how many counts of the charges are being alleged. If you have been formally accused of committing a crime, you must be informed of the nature of the crimes you are being charged with.
The Right to Counsel (6th Amendment)
You have the right to an attorney if you have been charged with a crime. If you can’t afford to hire an attorney, the court will appoint an attorney for you. It is a constitutional right that is covered by the 6th Amendment of the constitution.
The Right Against Self-Incrimination (5th Amendment)
If you have been charged with a criminal offense, you have the right to refuse to testify in your own criminal case. You don’t have to make statements or admissions to any member of law enforcement.
The Right of Confrontation
You have the right to defend yourself in a court of law. You have the right to use cross-examination to confront opposing witnesses and your accuser.
The Right to Due Process (14th Amendment)
You have the right to undergo a fair trial if you have been accused of a criminal offense. There is no state in the U.S that can deprive you of your life, liberty or property without due process of law.
The Right to a Speedy Trial
Under this right, you can prevent any prejudicial delays in your case. It is one of the most misunderstood rights.
The Right to Preliminary Examination
During a preliminary examination, you can get some information from the law enforcement officer and determine whether or not the state had enough probable cause to charge you with a crime.
The Right to Unanimous Verdict
For you to be found guilty by the jury, every person in the jury should unanimously find you guilty.
The Right to Compel the Attendance of Witnesses
If you have been charged with a criminal offense, you have the right to call witnesses to testify on your behalf.
What Is a Misdemeanor Vs Felony in South Carolina?
Felonies are more serious crimes while misdemeanors are less serious and have less harsh penalties. In South Carolina, misdemeanors are classified under Class A, B, and C with the first one being the most serious.
Classes of Misdemeanors
If you have been charged with a misdemeanor in South Carolina you can receive the following types of penalties depending on the class.
• Class A – You will be incarcerated for no more than 3 years. Some examples of crimes include vandalism, use of threats of physical violence by a gang member against a minor and communicating of seeing messages to others without consent.
• Class B – You will be incarcerated for no more than 2 years. Some of the crimes under this classification include making false statements about income to get public housing, assault or intimidation on account of political opinions or exercising civil rights and enticing a child from attending school.
• Class C – You will be incarcerated for no more than a year. Some of the crimes under this class include vandalism, falsifying or altering a diploma or transcript and disturbing religious worship.
Also, if you are convicted of a class A misdemeanor, you will have a fine of not more than $2,500. For a class C misdemeanor, you will receive a fine of no more than $1,000.
Classes of Felonies
Felonies, on the other hand, are classified from Class A to Class F. The punishments for the various felonies include the following.
• A maximum of 30 years for a class A felony.
Some of the crimes under this classification include attempted murder, voluntary manslaughter, carjacking resulting in great bodily injury, first-degree criminal sexual conduct, and much more.
• A maximum of 25 years for a class B felony.
• A maximum of 20 years for a class C felony.
• A maximum of 15 years for a class D felony.
• A maximum of 10 years for a Class E felony.
• A maximum of 5 years for a Class F felony.
Some of the crimes under this classification include involuntary manslaughter, neglecting or abusing vulnerable adults, malicious injury to personal property of value $2000 to $10,000 and malicious injury to animals.
Regardless of the type of misdemeanor or felony, you have been charged with, we are here to help. We have experience in handling different types of felonies and misdemeanors in South Carolina. Therefore, we can investigate and manage your case to make sure that you get fair sentencing. We are here to help you with the legal issues regarding your case.
Call Ayers, Smithdeal & Bettis for the best legal advice in Saluda, South Carolina.
Should I Consult a Lawyer Before Speaking to Police?
Yes, if you have been charged with a criminal offense, you have the right to consult a lawyer before speaking to the police. This right is applicable to you whether or not the police inform you about it. Once you mention that you want to talk to a lawyer, police officers should stop questioning you. If they proceed to ask you questions, you have the right to remain silent.
If you can’t hire a Saluda criminal defense lawyer, the officers have a right to find a court-appointed attorney as long as you have expressed your wish to have an attorney present. If any law enforcement personnel stops you or visits you, make sure you get their information and present it to your attorney.
At Ayers, Smithdeal & Bettis, we understand that sometimes law enforcement personnel might ignore this right. However, we are here to represent you fully and make sure you have legal representation any time you need to answer questions from law enforcement.
Call us today if you have been accused of a crime. We can make sure that the police listen to your side of the story with your attorney present.
What Is the Habitual Offender Law?
A habitual offender is also known as a career criminal or a repeat offender. It is someone who has been convicted of a new crime but was previously convicted of a crime. If you are a habitual offender, you are likely going to receive harsher punishments regardless of the classification of your criminal charge. Habitual offender laws are in place to deter further criminal activity.
If you have been charged with a repeat crime, we are ready to help. At Ayers, Smithdeal & Bettis, we understand how to handle habitual offender cases. Call us now and we can give you the legal representation you need in court to avoid very harsh punishment.
How Can a Saluda Criminal Defense Lawyer Help Me?
Are you wondering whether or not a lawyer can help you with your criminal case in Saluda, South Carolina? Well, if you hire our law firm, we can help you in any of the following ways.
We will collect evidence and investigate the matters at hand to have a proper understanding of the case. We have a team of legal investigators and lawyers ready to investigate the facts of the case to get the best information about it.
Negotiate for Plea Deal
We are ready to negotiate with the district attorney in the event that there is a plea deal. That way, we can make sure that you understand the facts of the case and what you are accepting.
Represent You in Court
If your case ends up in court, we have extensive experience and are ready to present the facts of your case to the judge and jury so that you can get fair sentencing.
Get the Best Defense Team for Your Criminal Case
Besides the emotional turmoil you might be going through when charged with a criminal offense, you might assume that you don’t need an attorney. However, we are here to guide you through every step of the way. We are here to help you with any criminal defense you need in Saluda, South Carolina.