Are You in Need of Rock Hill Criminal Defense Attorneys? Look No Further
If you or someone you know is facing criminal charges in Rock Hill, South Carolina, it is important to understand the criminal defense process and your legal options. The criminal legal system is complicated and can be difficult to navigate. Criminal charges can be serious, having consequences ranging from jail times, fines, and a criminal record that can impact future employment opportunities, housing, and more. The dedicated South Carolina criminal defense attorneys at the David W. Martin Law Group have the experience you need for a successful defense.
What are Common Criminal Charges in South Carolina?
There are many different criminal offenses you could be charged with in South Carolina. There are offenses against people which includes homicide, attempted murder, voluntary manslaughter, felony DUI, assault and battery, child abuse, criminal sexual assault, kidnapping, robbery, and more. These are offenses where one person is harming another person in some way. Often, these are punished more severely because there is a person who is harmed by criminal activity in some way.
Offenses against property, on the other hand, covers crimes committed that involve property rather than people. However, a person can be charged with multiple offenses for the same crime that could involve offenses against both people and property. Offenses against property include larceny, embezzlement, shoplifting, financial transaction card crimes, receiving stolen goods, forgery, fraudulent checks, burglary and related offenses, arson, and more.
There are also anticipatory offenses and parties to criminal activity. Anticipatory offenses include conspiracy, solicitation, and attempt. These offenses are ones in which the crime is not necessarily the actual act of committing a crime. Rather, it is conspiring to commit a crime beforehand or soliciting others to participate in a planned criminal offense. Parties to criminal activity offenses include being an accessory before the fact and an accessory after the fact. These are people who were involved in some aspect of the offense. For example, an accessory after the fact could be an individual who helped the primary offender hide evidence after a homicide.
Driving Under the Influence
South Carolina law prohibits a person from operating a motor vehicle while driving under the influence (DUI). For adults, if you have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or higher, it will be inferred by law enforcement that you are illegally driving under the influence. Whereas an individual under the age of 21 years old will be charged with a DUI for any BAC level. This is because it is illegal for people under the age of 21 years old to drink alcohol.
Potential penalties for a DUI include a fine ranging from $400 to $6,300, imprisonment from 48 hours to five years, and suspension or revocation of a driver’s license. The severity of the penalty depends on the severity of the offense. For example, an individual can be placed in prison for five years upon receiving their fourth DUI conviction.
There are many different crimes that are related to drugs in South Carolina. For some of the offenses, drugs do not even have to be consumed by the offender. Instead, it could include the distribution of drugs or providing drugs to minors. Other offenses are what people likely think of when they think about drug crimes – possession of an illegal substance. The chart below explains some common criminal possession charges:
|Elements of the Offense
|Possession of Methamphetamine or Cocaine Base
|The accused individual possessed less than one gram of the illegal substance.
|Depending on the number of convictions, it can range from $5,000-$12,500 in fines and three to ten years in prison.
|Possession of Small Quantities of Marijuana or Hash
|The accused possessed 28 grams or less of marijuana or ten grams or less of hashish.
|A first offense is a fine of $100-$200 and imprisonment for a maximum of 30 days. A second or subsequent offense is a fine of $200-$1,000 and/or imprisonment for not more than one year.
Other examples of drugs that are illegal to possess include opiates, opium derivatives (heroin), hallucinogenic substances (peyote), synthetic drugs, and more.
On average, 964 people die, and 2,358 are wounded by guns in South Carolina every year. Our state is, unfortunately, the sixth highest in the nation in terms of gun violence. There are many different types of offenses that involve a gun ranging from homicide to unlawful possession of a handgun. Here are some common gun crime offenses.
Carrying a weapon on school property in South Carolina is a Class F Felony. No one can bring a knife, a blackjack, a metal pipe or pole, firearms, or any other type of weapon that can inflict bodily harm onto elementary or secondary school property. This offense can result in a fine of up to $1,000 and a maximum prison sentence of five years.
In South Carolina, it is a criminal offense to point a firearm at another person. This felony offense does not distinguish between a loaded and an unloaded firearm. The penalty for pointing a firearm at a person is a fine, the amount is at the discretion of the court. Also, a prison sentence of no more than five years.
Penalties for Crimes in South Carolina
Most criminal offenses are separated by a felony classification or misdemeanor classification. There are six different levels of felonies with varying degrees of punishment. The punishment for a felony can range from imprisonment for five years to 30 years, fines, and community service. The most serious types of felonies include, for example, detonating an explosive device on capital grounds, first degree murder, human trafficking of children, and arson.
There are three different levels of misdemeanors. Misdemeanors are generally less serious than felony offenses due to varying reasons such as less culpability or a lack of violence. Punishment for a misdemeanor can range from a prison sentence of three years or less. The most serious type of misdemeanors are Class A and include such offenses as harassment, illegal use of stink bombs, burning of personal property, and more.
Any criminal charge is serious, and serving any prison sentence can be detrimental to someone’s life. Having a permanent criminal record can make it more difficult to secure housing, find employment, receive certain governmental benefits, and more. At David W. Martin Law Group, our South Carolina-based law firm will work to understand the facts of your case and provide high-quality legal representation.
What are Common Defenses to Criminal Charges in South Carolina?
Many defenses to criminal charges are the same across criminal offenses. However, their use can vary from case to case. For example, a self-defense argument is not going to work in a robbery case because robbery is not a form of self-defense. Whereas, in an assault case, self-defense could be reasonable to protect against another physical assault. It is crucial to have talented and passionate criminal defense attorneys on your side to determine what the best defense strategy is based on the specific facts of your case.
Self-Defense – If a defendant is claiming self-defense, they must produce enough evidence to cause a jury to have reasonable doubt regarding that defendant’s guilt. Here are the elements of a self defense claim in South Carolina:
- The defendant must be without fault in bringing on the difficulty;
- The defendant must actually believe they are in imminent danger of loss of life or serious bodily injury or actually was in such danger;
- The defendant believed he was in such danger, or a reasonable person in the circumstances could believe they were in danger; and
- The defendant had no other probable means of avoiding the danger of losing their own life or sustaining serious bodily injury than to act as they did in this particular circumstance.
Defense of others is similar to self-defense. To use the defense of others argument, the person you are defending must have also qualified to use self-defense. In other words, Person A was in a situation where they were being attacked and did not provoke the attack. Person B comes along and defends Person A against the attacker. Person B may be qualified to use the defense of others argument.
Insanity – It is an affirmative defense to a crime if a defendant lacked the capacity to distinguish moral or legal right from moral or legal wrong or to recognize the particular act charged as morally or legally wrong at the time of the offense. In other words, if the defendant could not tell right from wrong, and that caused the defendant’s criminal activity, then this defense can work. It is the defendant’s burden to prove that they are ‘insane’ or have a mental disease or defect by a preponderance of the evidence. Some factors that can be considered in making this determination include, but are not limited to:
- Medical records;
- History of psychiatric treatment;
- The defendant is unable to understand or rationally respond to the criminal charges;
- Proof that the defendant could not understand the wrong nature of the offense; or
- Testimony that the defendant cannot cognitively control their impulses.
If found mentally insane, the defendant may be civilly committed for the maximum sentence length for the crime they are charged with.
Our South Carolina Criminal Defense Attorneys Can Help.
Choosing a criminal defense attorney in Rock Hill, South Carolina, is a big decision. The criminal defense attorneys of David W. Martin Law Group are ready to fight for our clients’ rights and interests. We have a deep understanding of South Carolina criminal law and will help you understand it as well. Visit us at 331 Oakland Avenue, Rock Hill, South Carolina, or call us at 803-274-6570 today for a consultation about your criminal case.
Always Prepared for Court
While we do all we can to settle cases in your benefit, we are also fully prepared to take your battle to court and win.
A Personal Touch to Every Case
We know that every case is different, and we treat them all with the same respect and attention. You’ll never be a number in our system, we will get to know you and every detail of your situation to get you the best outcome possible.
David W. Martin grew up right in Fort Mill and created his firm to represent the people who needed him most in the community he loves.
Your Legal Team
At David W. Martin Law Group, our team of attorneys have the experience to help you achieve the best possible result based upon your facts and circumstances in South Carolina.