Beaufort Criminal Lawyer
Every person has a right to legal representation if they are accused of a criminal offense, but not all defense counsels provide high-quality representation. While public defenders play a vital and commendable role in the state’s justice system, they also generally have multiple cases assigned to them at once, meaning they rarely have time to devote significant time or effort to a single defendant.
If you want to protect your rights and interests in the best way possible, you could benefit from seeking private representation from an experienced Beaufort criminal lawyer. A dedicated Schiller & Hamilton defense attorney could lend their legal knowledge to strengthen your defense—from initial investigations to final sentencings, in the event of a conviction.
Types of Criminal Classifications
Under state law, most criminal offenses are classified as misdemeanors or felonies. South Carolina Code of Laws § 16-1-10 establishes six subclasses of felonies and three subclasses of misdemeanors, with Class A felonies being more severe than Class B felonies, Class F felonies being more severe than Class A misdemeanors, and so on following that pattern. This statute also lists several offenses that are expressly exempted from this classification system.
S.C. Code § 16-1-20 defines the basic range of prison terms that a court may impose upon a defendant convicted of various classes of offenses. The differing imprisonment terms for each offense are as follows:
- Class C misdemeanor—no more than one year
- Class B misdemeanor—no more than two years
- Class A misdemeanor—no more than three years
- Class F felony—no more than five years
- Class E felony—no more than ten years
- Class D felony—no more than 15 years
- Class C felony—no more than 20 years
- Class B felony—no more than 25 years
- Class A felony—no more than 30 years
Any unclassified offense punishable by a maximum of one year or less of imprisonment is considered a misdemeanor. It is important that a defendant is represented fairly by a knowledgeable defense attorney who could navigate the different offenses and reduce imprisonment time.
The Importance of Seeking Skilled Legal Counsel
Courts overseeing criminal cases have a significant amount of leeway when it comes to deciding what portion of the maximum possible sanctions a convicted person may face. S.C. Code §16-1-120 permits increased sentences for individuals who reoffend after their release from imprisonment for a prior offense.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to effectively contesting allegations, which is why representation from a seasoned defense lawyer in Beaufort can be so important. In addition to fighting to minimize penalties that a conviction could produce, diligent legal counsel could also negotiate for plea deals, collect and present exculpatory evidence, and ensure that prosecutors and law enforcement authorities do not violate a defendant’s rights in pursuit of a conviction.
Speak with a Beaufort Criminal Attorney About Defense Options Today
Even if you have no previous experience being inside a criminal courtroom, a single conviction for any degree of offense could change your life in fundamental ways. Retaining a qualified representative to help with your defense could dramatically impact how your case proceeds—and ultimately resolves.
Scheduling a conversation with a Beaufort criminal lawyer should be a priority for anyone facing accusations like this. Call today to set up your consultation with a goal-oriented Schiller & Hamilton attorney.