Pickens Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you have been accused of a crime in Pickens, South Carolina, you are in need of a criminal defense lawyer. Selecting the correct Pickens, SC criminal defense lawyer for yourself or for a loved one can be one of the most difficult things to do after a run-in with the law. However, as difficult as it may be, it is also an important step. If you have been charged with a crime, it is critical that you consult with a criminal defense attorney in Pickens, SC as soon as possible to ensure that your rights are protected and that all the evidence and circumstances of your case are properly analyzed and interpreted. Your criminal defense lawyer will examine your situation and advise you as to the best route forward for your case.
Selecting a Criminal Defense Lawyer in Pickens, SC: Determining Your Needs
The first question to answer is whether you need a criminal defense attorney after being accused of a crime or investigated for a crime in Pickens, SC. If you are being investigated or are facing a criminal charge, even a minor one, you need to seek legal advice. Even in the event that you decide not to hire a criminal defense lawyer, this consultation can help you to better understand the charges you are facing, the potential routes of defense, and the possibility of plea bargain to reduce your sentence.
For those facing a serious criminal charge, it is highly recommended to have a criminal defense lawyer in Pickens, SC representing you at your trial. For minor charges, a consultation may be sufficient, but it is still important to at least speak to an experienced criminal defense lawyer before your trial. If you are not sure whether the charges against you are serious or not, the nature of the charge can be a clue. Felonies include murder and armed robbery and are the most serious charges, with misdemeanors such as shoplifting or simple possession of drugs being less serious, and infractions such as traffic violations are the least serious.
Common Criminal Defense Cases in Pickens, SC
Drug Possession Defense
In 2014, in the state of South Carolina there were nearly 25,000 arrests made for drug possession, which makes South Carolina one of the toughest states on drugs in the country. If you are facing drug charges, these are criminal charges, and you should consult a criminal defense lawyer.
According to Human Rights Watch, South Carolina ranks sixth nationwide in terms of drug related arrests per capita. Nationwide, more than a million people are arrested each year for drug possession, and about half of these arrests are for possession of marijuana. In this state alone, 65 people per day are arrested on charges of drug possession. As criminal defense lawyers in Pickens, SC, we see a lot of drug-related cases. If you are facing criminal charges involving drugs, all is not lost. Working with a Pickens, SC criminal defense attorney you can identify a sound strategy for defense and beat those charges, have them reduced, or receive a plea bargain for a reduced sentence.
Though drinking and driving is illegal, there are a number of drunk driving arrests that occur in Pickens, South Carolina each year. Even if you do not make a regular habit of getting behind the wheel after a few drinks, it is easy to find yourself in that situation when you feel you have no other means of transportation.
Once you are pulled over for DUI, you may feel that all is lost, however this is not the case. There are common defense tactics that criminal defense attorneys can use in order to reduce or completely eliminate any charges or penalties you are facing.
Being Investigated for Criminal Charges in Pickens, SC
Before arrests are made in a criminal case, sometimes you learn that you are a part of a criminal investigation. You may learn of this one day when the police arrive at your door with questions, or you may learn of it via friends or relatives who may have been questioned about you. No matter how you learn that you are under investigation, you can, and should, contact a criminal defense attorney in Pickens, South Carolina to start discussing a defense right away.
If the police arrive at your door requesting information or asking questions, you should know that you are under no obligation whatsoever to speak with them. You do not even need to answer the door. If the police arrive at your door and you do not wish to talk to them, you have the right to ask them to leave, inform them that you are exercising your right to remain silent, and direct them to contact your criminal defense attorney in Pickens, SC.
After their investigation concludes, which you may not even be aware of, you may find yourself arrested and charged with a crime. For your criminal defense lawyer, this is a familiar process: you will be fingerprinted, photographed for a mug shot, and given a routine medical examination at the jail. Within 24 hours, in most cases, you will be taken in for a bond hearing. Note that if you are arrested, you still are under no obligation to submit to an interrogation or answer any questions. You may always assert your right to remain silent and to a criminal defense attorney – and if you have not retained a lawyer before this point, it is a good idea to do so now.
Once you are transferred to bond court, you will appear before a judge who will make a determination as to whether you may be released from jail while your charges are pending. In most cases, this judge will view the evidence against you at this point and will be able to hear arguments against you and from any criminal defense attorneys you have representing you. The judge will render a ruling as to whether you may be released, and will set a bond amount for your release.
At your bond hearing, just as at any other point in the criminal process, you have the right to an attorney. By working with an experienced Pickens, SC criminal defense attorney from the beginning of the process, you can ensure that you appear at your bond hearing with a defense prepared, and can persuade the judge for a reduced bond, or even to be released on your own recognizance without any bond amount. While a bondsman can be of assistance if a bond is set for you, their fees can still be a significant amount of money, so if you can be released without bond, this is ideal.
Your Rights in Criminal Defense in Pickens, South Carolina
During the criminal defense process, it is important to remember that you always have rights, and if your rights are violated in any way during the process of your arrest, investigation, booking, or other procedures, these can and should be used in your defense. Most important among these rights are the rights to remain silent and to a criminal defense attorney. Anyone who has seen a crime drama on television is familiar with the Miranda Rights. They begin with the phrase “You have the right to remain silent…” and nearly everyone will know the rest by heart – but do you understand what they mean? Since these rights are among the most fundamental – and least invoked by defendants – in the criminal defense process, let us discuss them.
Miranda rights are generally read to a suspect in a criminal case before they are questioned or interrogated. These rights inform the subject that you are not, in fact, required to say anything which might incriminate you. In fact, you are not required to say anything at all, beyond the fact that you are invoking your right to remain silent.
It seems a little ironic, but in order to actually invoke your right to remain silent, you have to speak. Simply “clamming up” will result in prolonged questioning as officers and investigators attempt to get an answer – any answer – from you. Obstinate silence often results in aggravating the officers and long, uncomfortable periods of questioning. Instead, criminal defense attorneys in Pickens SC will always advise you to politely and firmly state that you are invoking your right to remain silent, and that you wish to speak to an attorney. Once you make this statement, the law regarding your Miranda rights requires law enforcement to immediately stop the interrogation procedure, and they may not resume questioning you until you have spoken with a criminal defense lawyer.
These rights are an important and valuable tool, when used properly, by which you may minimize the effects of intimidation and sometimes abusive interrogation methods employed by the police. However, your Miranda rights do not exist in such an ironclad way outside the situation of being in custody and under police interrogation. Outside of this circumstance, such as during a traffic stop, you certainly have the right to refuse to answer questions, your Miranda rights will not immediately end any questioning, and any statements you make outside of police questioning (such as off-hand comments which are overheard) may be used against you.
In some cases, it has been found that law enforcement actions violate a suspect’s Miranda rights. There is a popular misconception that having these rights violated, or not having them read to you at the time of your arrest, can result in your case being immediately dismissed. This is, unfortunately, not true – however, it can mean that any statements made under the guise of your rights being violated will not be admissible as evidence at your trial. This can often severely harm the case against you, but if there is sufficient additional evidence, it may not guarantee a “Not Guilty” verdict.
Common Methods of Criminal Defense in Pickens, SC
In order to ensure a conviction against a defendant accused of criminal charges, it is the job of the prosecutor to prove that defendant’s guilt beyond a “reasonable doubt.” If you are charged with a crime, then you and your criminal defense attorney in Pickens, SC will have several avenues by which you may mount a defense. The method you and your lawyers choose will depend upon the circumstances of your case. Since every case is unique, we cannot give legal advice via this web page, but these are some of the more common methods of defense used by criminal defendants in asserting their innocence.
- Presumption of Innocence. In the United States, anyone who is charged with a crime is legally presumed to be innocent until they are determined to be guilty either by trial or by plea. This presumption of innocence places the burden of proof upon the prosecution, rather than on you and your criminal defense lawyer in Pickens, SC. In fact, as the defendant, you may merely remain silent, offer no evidence in your defense, and call no witnesses, opting only to argue that the prosecution failed in their task of proving your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. In a “real world” setting, however, this is ill-advised, and a strong defense will always include evidence and testimony to support your side of the story. However, if you also have the benefit of the prosecution’s case against you being particularly weak, this can be crucial to the success of your case.
- Reasonable Doubt. As mentioned, the burden of proof is on the prosecution not merely to prove the defendant’s guilt but to prove it beyond a reasonable doubt. This goes farther than simply proving that it is “likely” that you are guilty – this burden of proof requires that the jury has a virtually absolute certainty about your guilt before rendering that verdict. Criminal defense attorneys in Pickens, South Carolina will frequently advise juries that merely thinking it is likely that the defendant is guilty, or relying on intuition or gut feelings, is not sufficient to convict the defendant.
- Alibis are a very common defense in criminal cases in South Carolina. In this defense, your criminal defense lawyer in Pickens, SC argues that you were somewhere else at the time that the crime occurred. If this can be backed up with evidence, such as testimony, transactional records, or items like ticket stubs, it can be a strong benefit to your criminal defense.
Schedule a Consultation with a Pickens Criminal Defense Lawyer Today
If you are facing criminal charges in Pickens, South Carolina, reaching out to a criminal defense attorney to represent you at hearings, trials, and during questioning by the police should be your top priority. Your South Carolina criminal defense lawyer will be able to examine your case and navigate the complicated legal landscape of criminal defense, enabling you to enter every negotiation, hearing, interrogation, and trial preparation without taking any undue risks.