Beaufort Criminal Defense Lawyer

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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 in Beaufort, SC

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 knowledgeable criminal defense lawyers in Beaufort who could navigate the different offenses and reduce imprisonment time.

The Importance of Seeking a Criminal Defense Lawyer in Beaufort

Courts overseeing criminal cases have a significant amount of leeway when 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 re-offend 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 Beaufort criminal defense lawyer 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.

A Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Fight to Get Your Record Expunged

A criminal conviction not only jeopardizes your freedom but can negatively impact your future for years to come. A Beaufort expungement lawyer at Schiller & Hamilton can work to clear your record and ensure a better path ahead for you and your family.

Certain offenses may be expunged per South Carolina Code of Laws § 17-22-910. These include but are not limited to:

  • A first offense for simple possession or possession with intent to distribute
  • Certain alcohol-related offenses
  • First offense misdemeanor check fraud
  • A first offense for failure to stop for police
  • A conviction that carries a penalty of less than 30-days in jail, a $500 fine, or both

Our Beaufort criminal defense lawyers can protect your rights and fight for your criminal record to be expunged. Our goal is to get your life back on track as soon as possible.

Speak With a Beaufort Criminal Law 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.

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