Have you been arrested and charged with a misdemeanor or felony crime? A criminal conviction could have consequences lasting for years or even decades after you’ve served. However, being arrested and charged is not the same as being convicted. No matter how strong the prosecutor says their case is, you have the right to a criminal defense lawyer who will stand up for you and fight the charges.
Schiller & Hamilton wants to help. We are a South Carolina law firm with a legal team that will help you most when you need it. Your freedom and reputation are on the line in a criminal case. When the stakes are that high, the quality of your legal representation matters. Our lawyers have over 70 years of combined experience fighting for our clients, and we can put it behind you and your case.
What Can Our Criminal Defense Lawyer Do for You?
Regardless of how serious the charges are, you’re innocent until the prosecutor proves their case to a jury of your peers. We will mount a comprehensive, determined defense against the charges you’re facing and challenge the state’s evidence at every stage of the criminal justice process.
Our criminal defense attorneys will work tirelessly to create reasonable doubt in the mind of the jury or have the charges reduced in your case. Our defense process begins with gathering evidence to build your case. That process may entail:
- Interviewing witnesses
- Researching the background of the arresting officer in your case
- Looking for forensic or video evidence that will counter the prosecution’s claims.
- Examining the police report and the procedures used to gather evidence against you for legal errors, procedural mistakes, or officer misconduct.
It’s not uncommon for police and prosecutors to err when building their cases or for their cases to have weak points, such as unreliable witnesses. If we identify those weaknesses, we might be able to create reasonable doubt or use it as leverage to get the prosecutor to drop or significantly reduce the charges. We will ensure any necessary motions and paperwork affecting your case are properly filed.
Our Criminal Defense Lawyers Will Negotiate for You
Prosecutors can hold you on excessively high bail or no bail until your trial. Then they may use your fear of being locked away from your family as leverage to induce you to plead guilty to the charges against you. Our criminal defense attorneys can negotiate for the lowest bail possible so that you can get out, keep working, and assist us with your defense.
However, we will fight for more than just low or reduced bail. It may seem like prosecutors have unlimited resources, but they don’t. District attorneys and police departments know the costs of going to trial and could be willing to negotiate reduced charges.
Our criminal defense lawyers can represent you in these negotiations. We will explore options for probation or other deferred adjudication programs that will allow you to get on with your life and keep your freedom. If these negotiations don’t yield a deal that is acceptable to you, we’ll prepare a defense and go to trial. If your charges involve administrative penalties like the suspension of your driver’s license, we can help fight that also.
What Kind of Cases do Our Criminal Defense Lawyers Fight?
The criminal defense team at Schiller and Hamilton will defend you against a wide range of criminal charges. Examples of the kind of cases we have fought on behalf of our clients include:
- DUI-related charges (e.g., drugs, alcohol) for first or subsequent offenses
- Moving violations, such as reckless driving, vehicular manslaughter
- Financial or white-collar crimes, such as embezzlement, fraud, or theft
- Drug-related offenses (e.g., simple possession, possession with intent to distribute)
- Violent crimes (e.g., assault, domestic violence)
- Sex offenses
What Are the Potential Consequences of Criminal Convictions?
South Carolina’s criminal code (S.C. Ann. § 16-1-10) breaks criminal offenses down into the following categories:
Felonies are the most serious, and South Carolina has six classes of felonies with penalties that increase with the severity of the crime. South Carolina’s felony conviction classes and the maximum penalties are as follows:
- Class A: Maximum prison term of 30 years
- Class B: Maximum prison term of 25 years
- Class C: Maximum prison term of 20 years
- Class D: Maximum prison term of 15 years
- Class E: Maximum prison term of 10 years
- Class F: Maximum prison term of five years
Although misdemeanors may not be as serious as felonies, a misdemeanor conviction can still result in losing your freedom. South Carolina’s misdemeanor classifications and penalties are below:
- Class A: Maximum prison term of three years
- Class B: Maximum prison term of two years
- Class C: Maximum prison term of one year
It is also important to note that many punishments can increase in severity based on your previous criminal history and whether you have been convicted of the same crime (or other crimes) in the past. There may also be other punishments, such as fines and the loss or suspension of your driver’s license for certain convictions (such as DUI or drug possession).
Other Potential Consequences of Criminal Convictions
The loss of your freedom, fines, or suspension of your driver’s license are possible outcomes of many criminal convictions. However, they are far from the only consequences you may face after conviction. You may also have to report your conviction to the state agency that issues any professional licenses you hold. Depending on the severity of the offense, you may lose your professional license or eligibility to apply for one.
Criminal convictions also reflect negatively on your reputation. A criminal conviction can adversely affect your ability to secure quality employment or even housing. If you’re involved in a child custody dispute or a divorce, it’s very likely the presiding judge will take your conviction into account when awarding custody of the child. These are all reasons why our criminal defense attorneys work so hard to help you avoid conviction.
Talk to Us Today to Learn How Our Criminal Defense Attorneys Can Help You
Looking across a courtroom and seeing the district attorney and the police lined up against you can be a scary thing. It’s easy to feel alone in this situation, but that’s where a criminal defense lawyer from our team can step in and make a difference. You don’t have to plead guilty or accept a one-sided deal that works for the prosecution and not for you.
You have the right to defend yourself against the charges, and a criminal defense lawyer from Schiller & Hamilton can help you do that. If you have been arrested on criminal charges, your next moves will affect your life for years to come. Contact our office for a free consultation and find out how a criminal defense lawyer from our firm can help you.