Criminal Defense

Greenville SC Criminal Defense Attorney

When you are arrested in the Upstate, South Carolina, the Law Office of Brian P. Johnson, LLC, conveniently located in Greenville, South Carolina, is here to help you protect your rights.

A conviction can lead to jail time, a criminal record, a significant fine, or the loss of your job.  It can be stressful and overwhelming to deal with these charges on your own.  Furthermore, it is important to remember that Police Officers and Prosecutors are well trained in the law and experienced with Court procedures. Consequently, you are at a disadvantage if you try to fight your charges without legal counsel.  it is important that you have the guidance of an experienced attorney working to protect your rights and to advocate for the best possible outcome.

If you’ve been charged with a crime in Greenville or Upstate, South Carolina, it is important that you know your rights even before you’ve spoken with an attorney.  After being arrested, people are often anxious because they do not understand what the law allows them to do or say.

When you are Arrested

First and foremost, when you are arrested it is imperative to not incriminate yourself. This is why, per the Miranda Rights, it is usually advisable not to speak until you have consulted with an attorney.  Essentially, Miranda is the Supreme Court providing you with legal advice.

There are two major components of Miranda.  First, you can (and should) remain silent, or they can use what you say in a case against you.  Second, you have the right to an attorney, and one will be appointed if you cannot afford one.  The latter essentially shows how crucial the Supreme Court believes it is for each person to have the guidance of an attorney.

Legal Process after an Arrest

After being arrested, you will be arraigned and given a bond.  The value of the bond depends on the seriousness of the charge and allegations against you.  Moreover, more serious charges, such as murder and burglary in the first degree, do not allow for a bond at the arraignment.  The bond process is governed by Title 17, Chapter 15, of the South Carolina Code of Laws.

The court can reconsider the initial bond amount at a certain point in time depending on the circuit.  For example, in Greenville County, bonds can be reviewed after discovery is produced, or as agreed upon by the Defendant and Solicitor (i.e. a consent bond).  Bond reductions can be a lengthy process, which makes hiring an attorney more urgent.

Charges which carry a penalty of 30 days or less in jail are tried in the Magistrate Court. These charges generally have court dates within a few weeks of being charged.  The initial court date is a bench trial, which is a trial by the Magistrate Judge.  However, most attorneys prefer to request a jury trial instead. A verdict must be unanimous, so it is statistically easier to prove reasonable doubt to a jury of six people versus one Judge. Furthermore, a jury trial provides more time for an attorney to request, collect, review, and investigate the evidence.

General Sessions hear charges that carry more than a thirty day jail penalty.  It can take many months to get an initial court date, and most circuits have a track system, which is a three step process.  The first court appearance is essentially to confirm that you have an attorney (or will hire one).  If you have secured an attorney prior to this date, he can generally handle the court appearance without you being present. The second appearance generally informs the Court whether there will be a trial, plea, dismissal, etc.  The third appearance is your actual trial or plea date.

Time to Act

Now is the most critical time to hire an attorney with the experience and knowledge necessary to provide aggressive support in court.  Remember, you are at a disadvantage when you are arrested because you are unfamiliar with the laws and court system.  Our office has handled thousands of cases, and we can help you effectively deal with any criminal charge.  We have extensive experience with criminal charges including misdemeanors, DUI, felony violent crimes, and white collar crimes.  Moreover, we have high profile case experience, which ensures that we can professionally manage even the most complex cases.

In order to be flexible and convenient, we have open office hours, easy appointment scheduling, and payment plans available. Call today and schedule your free and confidential consultation.  Our law office focuses on those accused of crimes across Upstate, South Carolina, including: Greenville, Spartanburg, Anderson, Pickens, Laurens, and Oconee counties.

 

Disclaimer:  this information should not be construed to be formal legal advice.