Greenville Violent Crimes Lawyer
Life in South Carolina in general and Greenville in particular is not as safe and easy as one may think. The crime rate here is higher than the national average. In 2015 alone, there were close to 25,000 violent crimes in South Carolina. Close to 500 of them occurred in Greenville. It is no wonder the need for an experienced Greenville violent crimes lawyer is on the rise.
Contrary to the general opinion, violent crimes do not happen like they do in the movies. They do not necessarily involve brutal killing and those charged with them are not always guilty or cold blood killers. In fact, many violent crimes in Greenville are the result of unfavorable circumstances, and not intentional, carefully planned acts of violence. The best way to understand this is to review the violent crimes’ definition according to South Carolina criminal law.
Understanding South Carolina Law: What a Greenville Violent Crimes Lawyer Can Do For You
The best way to fully understand what actions qualify as violent crimes and under what circumstances is to read the South Carolina Code § 16-1-60. According to this code, the term “violent” has two different connotations.
On one hand, it involves the use of violence or threats of violence against another person and covers cases of murder, homicide, armed robbery, manslaughter, assault, and more. On the other hand, it refers to the severity of the crime and does not necessarily involve the use of violence, but rather the extent of the law violations. This explains the different types of violent crimes.
Common Types of Violent Crimes in Greenville SC
1. Greenville Murder / Homicide
Greenville murder charges usually refer to the intentional killing of a person. The intent can be expressed or implied, and is, in fact, the detail that makes murder the most serious crime in the state. Punishments for murder cases range from minimum 30 years to life in prison, and even death in cases with aggravating circumstances.
In order to obtain a murder conviction, the prosecution must prove malicious intent. They must show that the defendant intended to severely harm or kill the victim and does not value human life. If they fail, or if the defense manages to prove that the victim provoked the defendant, the charges could turn into manslaughter.
2. Greenville Manslaughter
Manslaughter involves unlawfully but unintentionally killing another person. It can be voluntary, in a sudden heat of passion, or involuntary, as a response to the victim’s provocation. Provocation may mean a victim’s (unprovoked) attack on the defendant, but not defense efforts.
For example, a victim’s use of excessive force during a citizen's arrest represents legal provocation. The penalties for voluntary manslaughter range from minimum 2 years to maximum 30 years, depending on the circumstances the crime took place in and on the author’s criminal records.
Involuntary manslaughter involves unintentionally killing another person while engaged in unlawful activities that do not normally cause bodily harm or death. The author may also be engaged in lawful activities, but recklessly disregard other person's’ safety.
In order to obtain a conviction, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that the defendant was criminally negligent and disregarded the other person's safety. In South Carolina, involuntary manslaughter is punishable by up to 5 years in jail. That is why many Greenville violent crime attorneys whose clients face murder charges do their best to reduce those charges to manslaughter.
3. Greenville Assault and Battery
In the past, assault and battery charges were of high and aggravated nature and with intent to kill. Nowadays, however, they are of first, second, and third degree.
- Third-degree assault charges are the equivalent of the simple assault and battery charges formulated in the past and define cases when one person injures or attempts to injure someone else. Punishments go as far as 30 days in prison.
- Second-degree assault and battery qualifies as misdemeanor and brings about prison sentences of up to 3 years. It refers to cases where the assault leads to or could have lead to moderate injuries to one’s organ system, except for one’s skin, muscle, or connective tissue, or involves nonconsensual touching of one’s private parts.
- First-degree assault and battery charges replace those of high and aggravated nature assault and battery. This type of crime qualifies as "high" misdemeanor and is subject to prison punishments of up to 10 years. It can take 2 forms: 1 - assault and battery resulting in injuries and occurring during robbery, kidnapping, burglary, or theft, or involving nonconsensual touching of an adult’s private parts with lewd intent in prison; 2 – assault without battery by means likely to cause death or serious bodily injuries or occurring during robbery, kidnapping, burglary, or theft.
4. Greenville Assault and Battery by Mob
This is the new label for lynching, and, just like the preceding crime, covers three degrees. First-degree assaults and batteries involve the existence of two or more assailants resulting in the victim’s death, and risk punishments between 30 years and lifetime prison. Second-degree crimes result in serious injuries and bring about punishments of 3 to 25 years in jail. Third-degree assaults result in bodily injuries and involve punishments of up to 1 year in prison.
5. Greenville Attempted Murder
Attempted murder charges aim to replace those of assault and battery and assault with killing intention, and come with punishments of up to 30 years of jail time. They usually target people who intentionally attempt to kill another person.
When attorneys cannot prove their client's innocence, they do everything in their power to see the charges turn into assault and battery, as these are lesser. In order to obtain a conviction, the prosecution must prove each element of the murder beyond reasonable doubt.
6. Greenville Armed Robbery
Armed robbery refers to cases when someone uses or pretends to use a deadly weapon during a robbery. The punishment for these types of violent crimes in South Carolina ranges between 10 and 30 years in jail. Convicts may be eligible for parole after serving at least 7 years in prison. The punishments for attempted armed robbery go up to 20 years of jail time.
When the author only pretends to be armed, the crime qualifies as strong-armed robbery or common law robbery. Such charges usually step in when there is no evidence that the defendant used a deadly weapon during the robbery. The punishments for strong armed robbery go up to 15 years in prison and there is no minimum sentence.
7. Criminal Sexual Conduct
Also known as rape, criminal sexual conduct can have 3 degrees:
- First-degree rape brings about punishments of up to 30 years in jail and lifetime registration of the author as a sex offender. It involves the use of physical force, drugging of the victim, or continuance with forcible confinement, kidnapping, robbery, extortion, or housebreaking.
- Second-degree rape involves aggravated coercion, or the use of threats and violence, and can lead to punishments of up to 20 years in jail.
- Third-degree rape involves the use of force or coercion and the absence of aggravating circumstances. The author is usually aware or has reason to believe that the alleged victim is physically or mentally incapacitated. The punishment risked is of up to 10 years in jail.
Defendants who assaulted the victim with the intent to rape them will most likely receive the same sentence as if the rape had occurred.
8. Domestic Violence
This covers instances of sexual and physical violence and psychological and emotional abuse. This crime alone is enough to classify South Carolina in the top 5 American states from the point of view of the number of women killed by men. It includes physical violence, sexual violence, psychological and emotional abuse. It can vary in severity and frequency, but always involves one partner’s efforts to control the other.
Possible Defense Strategies in Greenville Violent Crimes
As discussed above, violent crimes bring about punishments of up to a lifetime in jail. Under these circumstances, there is no wonder so many defense strategies have emerged. The odds of each strategy being successful usually depend on the particularities of the case and the experience of the violent crimes lawyer. An experienced Greenville violent crimes lawyer will always find a way to help a client. When they cannot prove their client is innocent and they cannot have the charges dismissed due to insufficient evidence, they focus on proving the lack of intent and obtaining lesser charges.
At Brumback & Langley, we have rarely had to settle for so little, as we usually find other strategies that enable us to protect our clients’ interests. Here are a few examples:
- Focusing on the victim – Many violent crimes lawyers make the mistake of blaming the victim and end up by harming their client’s cases. However, the victims can be a good starting point to dismantle accusations. They may have been under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and, therefore, out of control. They may have suffered from various conditions that could have worsened their suffering and brought about the negative outcome. They may have had enemies who can cast a shadow of doubt regarding the defendant's guilt. Anything is possible when investigating the case details carefully and asking the right questions.
- Using co-defendants – Many Greenville violent crimes involve several assailants. It can be easy for attorneys to argue that their clients acted in the spur of the moment, forced by their fellow assailants, and actually tried to stop them and refused to participate in violent acts. When the defendants have valuable information about co-defendants, it is possible to negotiate lesser charges or even an acquittal in exchange for their testimony.
- Mitigating factors – Sometimes, people act the way they do in response to certain circumstances. Although the circumstances do not wipe away the crime, they can explain it and make it seem less violent. It is up to the violent crimes lawyer to identify, interpret, and present those circumstances, in order to put their clients in a good light. Throughout time, we’ve often managed to prove that our clients were intoxicated or mentally incapacitated when the crime took place, and, after realizing the consequences of their vices, they decided to seek treatment and support. The jury loves to see defendants repenting and trying to change their lives.
- Challenging evidence – As surprising as it may be, police officers make mistakes on the field when collecting evidence and testimonies. We have learned to identify their mistakes and use them to dismiss evidence and charges. With this information, we try to prove that our clients were victims as well and may even be innocent.
- Bringing witnesses – It always helps to show the jury that the person in front of them helps others and would be incapable of hurting someone under normal circumstances. Grieving relatives and elders or children depending on the defendant often impress the jury and help secure a favorable verdict.
Other Benefits of Hiring a Greenville Violent Crimes Lawyer
Besides doing everything in our power to protect our clients and help them avoid conviction or at least obtain lesser sentences, we also make the trial period easier for them. We take over the paperwork and other legal proceedings. We prepare our clients for questioning and court appearances. We explain to them and their families the purpose and risks of every step we take. We conduct our own investigations and find evidence to support our defense strategies.
It is easy to despair or become depressed when one risks spending the rest of their life in prison, watching their friends and family move on without them. We make the legal process more bearable by keeping our clients engaged and focused on their goals. With our help, they make the best of the situations they are in and even succeed to impress the jury and convince them that they deserve another chance.
You owe it to yourself and your loved ones to fight for your freedom until your last breath. Share the details of your Greenville violent crimes with us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at (864) 414-9097, and we’ll fight together. Everything you share with us is confidential, and our only goal is to help you get through this, so act fast!