Whether you are already facing criminal charges or suspect you may be soon, the actions you take in the immediate future could have a consequential impact on your freedom and future prospects. Contesting any kind of criminal allegation—misdemeanor or felony—requires a significant amount of legal knowledge and technical experience, neither of which is easy to come by without representation from a seasoned legal professional.
Anyone who has been accused of a criminal act should know their legal rights, especially their constitutionally guaranteed right to retain a defense attorney. Once hired, a seasoned Georgetown criminal lawyer could work tirelessly on your behalf to advocate for your best interests and pursue a positive resolution to your case.
Misdemeanor Versus Felony Offenses
South Carolina Code of Laws §16-1-10 categorizes criminal offenses into one of two broad categories. Misdemeanors are less severe offenses that do not usually result in significant jail time, whereas felony convictions are almost always punished by at least one year of imprisonment.
A significant number of misdemeanors in South Carolina are unclassified, meaning the maximum prison sentence that could result from a conviction is less than one year in length. These offenses are exempt from classification under the aforementioned state statute, so punishments associated with these convictions are determined by the individual statute defining the nature of each offense. More severe misdemeanors may be categorized as Class C, Class B, or Class A offenses, with respective maximum prison sentences of one, two, and three years under S.C. Code §16-1-20.
Felonies, on the other hand, have six classes named in S.C. Code §16-1-10, with Class F being the least severe. Maximum prison sentences associated with felony convictions may range from five years for a Class F to 30 years for a Class A offense, and particularly egregious felonies may result in a life sentence or even the death penalty. No matter what level of offense a defendant is charged with, a criminal defense legal advisor in Georgetown could help them understand their rights and work to effectively defend them in court.
Contesting Criminal Charges Effectively in Georgetown
The most important thing that someone charged with a criminal offense in South Carolina can do to help their case is to retain skilled legal counsel. Anything a defendant says during a conversation with law enforcement, a statement to court officials, and even innocuously in a text message or social media post could be used as evidence against them in court, so keeping silent is often crucial when contesting a criminal case.
In addition to speaking on behalf of a defendant and advising them what to say, a local qualified criminal lawyer could also take the lead in finding and preserving exculpatory evidence, such as video surveillance footage, call recordings, electronic communication records, and eyewitness testimony. Sometimes, it may even be pertinent for a legal representative to challenge the prosecution’s unlawfully collected evidence so that it cannot be used against a defendant in court.
Retain a Georgetown Criminal Defense Attorney Today
Just as criminal cases vary in the ways they play out and ultimately conclude, a dedicated defense attorney could help you in a number of ways. It is essential that you seek private legal counsel as soon as possible since public defenders are often overworked and would likely not be able to give your case their full attention.
A Georgetown criminal lawyer could answer any questions you have and provide critical guidance on how best to approach your case during an initial consultation. Call today to schedule yours.