The criminal law system in the United States gives you the right to present your side of the story in a court of law and be judged by a jury of your peers if you’ve been charged with a crime.
A Greer, South Carolina criminal defense attorney can work with you to explain your charges, the potential consequences of a conviction, and develop a strategy to fight your criminal charges in a South Carolina court.
Greer, South Carolina Criminal Charge Examples
While there is a multitude of crimes that you could be charged within South Carolina, some of the most common ones include but aren’t limited to:
- Traffic Offenses
- Drunk Driving
- Drug Offenses
- Burglary and Robbery
- Weapon Violations
- Violent crimes that include a battery, assault, and domestic violence
- Sex Crimes
- Identity Theft and Fraud
- Financial Crimes such as embezzlement and breach of trust
- Property Crimes such as larceny, shoplifting, and malicious injury to property
Plea Agreements in Greer, South Carolina
A plea agreement is a way to amicably resolve a pending charge or pending charges by virtue of an agreement between the prosecution and the defendant about the charges to which the offender will plead guilty and/or the sentence recommended to the court by the state. In South Carolina, the vast majority of criminal cases end with a plea agreement and a guilty plea.
Plea agreements often serve the interests of both the prosecution and the defendant. The prosecution can guarantee a conviction while the defendant can mitigate his overall risk. Trial courts and judges like plea agreements because they reduce the burden on the court and avoid the judicial backlogs that make more difficult the prompt resolution of other cases.
However, there are many cases to which individuals should not plead guilty. Depending on your individual case and what you’ve been charged with, your Greer, South Carolina criminal defense attorney will be able to help you determine whether a plea agreement is in your best interest and advise you of the options that are available to you.
Greer, South Carolina Bonds
Bond and bail are monies and/or property deposited with the court to ensure that an individual has an incentive to appear when notified by the court. If the person appears, then monies or property deposited with the court is returned. If the person fails to appear, then those monies or property can be estreated or kept by the state. Bondsmen sign paperwork with the court assuring the appearance of a charged person in exchange for some consideration, usually a payment of a percentage of the total bond amount, by the accused or his family. If the accused fails to appear, then it is the bondsman’s money at stake, so the bondsman has an incentive to find the accused and produce him before the bond is estreated.
It does not matter whether one is found guilty or pleads guilty, as long as he returns to court when required, the money and/or property will be returned at the conclusion of the case.
A bond/bail may not be required in some misdemeanor cases and traffic offenses. In those cases accused persons are often released on personal recognizance bonds—bonds that they can sign themselves where the promise to appear when notified.
For felony charges, the judge may use a bond/bail as an incentive for one to return to court as required and not flee. Your knowledgeable Greer, South Carolina criminal defense attorney will know how t negotiate the bond amount that, hopefully, you can afford, while satisfying the judge that you are not a flight risk.
Prior Convictions in Greer, South Carolina
If you were convicted of a prior criminal offense in South Carolina, then that information is sometimes admissible at trial to prove some element of the offense or to impeach you if and when you choose to testify. South Carolina’s rules of evidence provide that witnesses may be impeached with criminal convictions that occurred in the last ten years when any conviction carried a potential period of incarceration greater than one year or constituted a crime of falsity. By way of example, false information to police, while only a thirty-day offense, could be admissible to impeach a witness at trial. Similarly, assault and battery in the second degree is admissible to impeach a witness at trial as it carries a maximum period of incarceration of three years.
In addition, some prior convictions are admissible if they constitute an element that the state has to prove to sustain a conviction. Burglary in the first degree, for instance, can be proved if an individual has twice been convicted of the crime of burglary and is subsequently charged with burglary. Because the state has to prove the prior convictions to sustain a conviction for burglary in the first degree, those convictions would be admissible at trial.
What to do if You’re Arrested in Greer, South Carolina
The first thing you should do is be quiet. However, it’s important to be polite and provide the South Carolina police offer with your name and driver’s license. It’s important to note that in South Carolina you may be videotaped starting the moment you are stopped. In most criminal cases, anything you say or do may be used against you in court, so being courteous but silent can work to your advantage.
As soon as possible after your arrest you should be in touch with a Greer, South Carolina criminal defense attorney who can immediately go to work trying to secure your release from jail and begin gathering evidence to build your defense. Criminal charges are a serious matter in South Carolina and the sooner you can hire a South Carolina criminal defense attorney the better.
Criminal Defense Attorney and Public Defenders in Greer, South Carolina
Being charged with a crime in South Carolina is a serious matter. If you make a wrong move trying to defend yourself you could end up spending years in prison, lose your job, and otherwise ruin your life. Experienced Greer, South Carolina criminal defense attorneys are knowledgeable when it comes to South Carolina criminal laws and understand the rules and procedures of the court system.
You may decide to have a South Carolina public defender represent you in court, and there’s nothing wrong with that. In many cases, they are dedicated and skilled criminal defense lawyers. However, you need to be aware that public defenders normally have a very high case load and may be overextended. They could be handling hundreds of cases and have difficulty focusing on your case.
Why you Need a Greer, South Carolina Criminal Defense Attorney
Being arrested for a crime is a serious matter, and the sooner you retain the services of a skilled Greer criminal defense attorney the better. However, there are several things you should do to find the right South Carolina criminal defense attorney for you.
- Research. Talk to your friends and family, do research on the internet, and review the website or websites of any criminal defense attorney you are interested in hiring.
- Make Calls. Call some of the Greer criminal defense attorneys and set up times to either meet with them face to face, or to have a telephone conversation with them. Many South Carolina criminal defense lawyers offer free consultations.
- Ask Questions. When you have your meeting or telephone call with the criminal defense attorney, ask them any questions you may have. For example, you should ask them how long they’ve been a criminal defense lawyer, how many trials they’ve had, how many cases they’ve handled, and what they charge. It’s important that you feel comfortable with the attorney you decide to hire because you’re going to have to trust them to handle your criminal case in Greer, South Carolina.
Criminal laws in South Carolina can be complex and confusing. Your South Carolina criminal defense attorney should possess the skill, knowledge, and experience to navigate the court system, negotiate with the prosecutor for a plea agreement, or take your case to trial. It’s important that you have a qualified Greer, SC criminal defense lawyer on your side to advocate for you, fight for you, and ensure that your rights are protected in South Carolina. Call David R. Price Jr., P.A. today!