If you’re suspected of committing a criminal offense, you can be arrested and charged. With a complex legal case ahead and your freedom and future at risk, choose an experienced criminal defense attorney like Lauren Taylor Law to represent you. We work with adults and juveniles to fight for their rights.
Why You Need a Greenville Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you have been arrested and charged with a crime in Greenville, South Carolina, it can be confusing to know where to turn. A common concern involves the cost associated with hiring a criminal defense attorney in Charleston, SC. While cost can certainly be a concern, the reality is that the expense is often far less than many people imagine, with attorneys eager to assist clients for a reasonable fee.
Though cost is one of many factors worth considering when shopping for a criminal defense lawyer, it is important to keep in mind the many benefits of relying on an experienced attorney. For one thing, your lawyer will take on the burden of understanding the law, court procedures, deadlines, etc. Rather than struggle to understand what’s happening around you, an experienced criminal defense attorney is there to serve as your guide, helping and explaining as you move through what can be a confusing and tiring process.
Another benefit of hiring a Greenville criminal defense lawyer is that you can rely on an advocate, someone knowledgeable who can speak on your behalf. After being arrested, many people want to tell their stories, explaining to prosecutors and others why they are innocent. The problem is that by speaking on your own you may inadvertently harm your case rather than help it.
An experienced criminal defense attorney can be relied on to hear all the details and then act on that information in a way that will help, rather than hurt, you.
Timing Is Important in Your Criminal Defense Case
As with many things, timing is crucial when it comes to hiring a Greenville criminal defense lawyer. You may be inclined to wait, sitting on your hands while you consider your options. This is often a big mistake. For one thing, waiting increases the amount of time you will have direct contact with police officers, investigators and judges without a lawyer there to assist and advise. Another problem with waiting is that plea-bargaining is best done early on.
In fact, early intervention after an arrest but before the filing for formal charges might help in avoiding the charges entirely by negotiating a mutually agreeable alternative. Even if you have been charged, acting early to begin the evidence gathering or plea-bargaining with prosecutors is important to get the case started on the right foot. It’s always better to be ahead of the ball than behind it, especially when something as important as your freedom is at stake.
What If You Just Want to Plead Guilty?
In some cases, a defendant may not want to fight his or her criminal charges, instead choosing to plead guilty. Though this may be the best decision in some cases, it is still important to hire and rely on the training of a Greenville criminal defense lawyer before agreeing to plead guilty. An attorney will know how to best handle the plea and can likely engage in negotiation with the prosecutor to either a lesser charge or ensure more lenient punishment. Simply announcing to the prosecutor that you want to plead guilty before running it past an attorney will likely result in a much worse deal than a skilled lawyer could negotiate on your behalf.
A criminal defense lawyer in Greenville, South Carolina, might also uncover evidence to show that while you may think you are guilty, your rights were violated along the way and that evidence of your guilt may be inadmissible. It’s never wise to assume that you are guilty without first consulting an attorney with a background in criminal defense who can better advise you regarding the strength of your case.
Finally, even if you do decide to plead guilty, it’s a good idea to have a seasoned criminal defense attorney there with you every step of the way. The lawyer can and will ensure that your rights are protected and that proper procedure is followed by the prosecutor, judge, police officers, etc., keeping in mind that they work for you and are there to watch out for your best interest.
Common Types of Arrests
Criminal offenses are typically divided between:
Felonies are serious criminal offenses carrying harsh penalties. Some common felonies include:
- Drug charges:Drug-related crimes include possession, possession with the intent to distribute, possession of paraphernalia and manufacture of controlled substances.
- Sex crimes: Sex crimes include child pornography and sexual assault, with a conviction resulting in registering as a sex offender in most cases.
- Theft and fraud charges:Theft crimes cover burglary, armed robbery, fraud and shoplifting. The penalty varies depending on the value of the stolen property.
- Violent crime: Lauren Taylor understands that every violent crime charge, like assault or murder, has unique circumstances. We’ll help you find the best way forward for your specific case.
- Weapons charges: South Carolina has open carry gun laws, but weapons and firearms are still highly regulated. Lauren Taylor Law assists with concealed-carry violations, unlawful possession of a gun or other charges involving a weapon like a robbery.
Misdemeanors carry lesser penalties but must be taken seriously to avoid incarceration, fines or probation. Types of misdemeanors include:
- Domestic violence (DV): A DV or domestic assault case can stem from many allegations and may result in a protective order, fine or jail time. Lauren Taylor Law has experience with various DV cases, from misdemeanors to assault and battery.
- General misdemeanors: Lauren Taylor will represent you for general misdemeanors and criminal charges, including trespassing, disorderly conduct, underage possession of tobacco or alcohol, and more.
- Operating or driving a vehicle under the influence (DUI): A DUI case can lead to a criminal charge and suspension of driving privileges. Lauren Taylor Law will help with a variety of DUI cases, from a first-time offense to reckless driving.
- Petty theft: A petty theft is a crime where less than $1,000 in property or money was allegedly stolen. A conviction could result in restitution or a fine.
- Traffic violations: If you get pulled over for reckless driving, suspected DUI, driving on a suspended license or a related violation, the resulting case is a traffic offense. Before you pay your traffic ticket, call Lauren Taylor Law to discuss your options.
Types of Criminal Defense Cases
There are many different kinds of crimes that a person can be punished for in South Carolina. Generally, crimes fall under several large umbrellas such as drug crime, violent crime, sex crime and theft crime. Drug crimes include things like possession and trafficking as well as distribution. Sex crimes include rape and some assaults. Violent crimes refer to murder, assault, battery and even burglary. Finally, shoplifting, grand theft, forgery, receiving stolen goods and robbery are all examples of theft crimes.
State vs. Federal
Many people think of court as being one place, not realizing that there are many different facets to the justice system. Besides the basic difference between criminal and civil matters, there is another division in the criminal justice world; between state and federal crimes.
At its most basic level, the difference between state and federal crimes is that state crimes break state laws while federal crimes break federal laws. Some crimes obviously fall under both categories and can be prosecuted in either system, depending on the interest of federal or state prosecutors to pursue the case.
The vast majority of crimes committed fall under the “state” umbrella and these include things like rape, domestic violence, assault, theft and robbery. Federal crimes are handled by government agencies like the FBI or IRS and include things such as computer crime, gun crimes, hate crimes, major drug trafficking, money laundering, major thefts, etc.
Felony vs. Misdemeanor
Most people are confused about the differences between felonies and misdemeanors, often muddling the two. Misdemeanors refer to those crimes that are punished with fines and some jail time, usually less than one year. Jail time is served in local or county jails rather than state or federal institutions. Given the lighter punishment, these crimes tend to be less serious and trials/plea deals often move much faster.
Felonies, on the other hand, are the most serious type of crime and are often categorized by degree, with the first degree being the most serious. Punishment for conviction of a felony can be steep, including large fines and prison sentences greater than one year. If you’re convicted of a felony you will generally serve your time in a state or federal institution.
Beyond jail time and possible fines, a felony conviction brings other, longer lasting trouble. Convicted felons are often required to identify themselves on job applications and can face restrictions when it comes to housing, teaching, purchasing firearms and even serving in the military. The long-term penalties associated with a felony conviction illustrate why it is so important to hire experienced Greenville criminal defense lawyers to fight on your behalf.
It’s rarely discussed, but the reality is that the vast majority of criminal cases are resolved before they ever get to a jury. This is because plea-bargaining occurs well before trial and both sides (the prosecutor and the attorney) try to reach a mutually acceptable deal to avoid the uncertainty of moving forward.
The simplest explanation is that in a plea bargain, the defendant agrees to plead guilty to the charges. The reality is that the defendant is almost always pleading guilty to lesser changes or to receive a more lenient sentence — otherwise, there would be no incentive to go ahead and plead guilty.
Plea-bargaining can be incredibly helpful for everyone involved. For judges and courts, plea-bargaining reduces the workload by allowing parties to reach deals without wasting valuable and finite judicial resources. For prosecutors, plea-bargaining takes away the risk of losing in front of a jury and letting a defendant off without punishment. For defendants, plea-bargaining allows you to reduce the severity of your punishment and avoid the gamble that often comes with taking a case all the way to trial.
Importance of a Vigorous Defense
Though plea-bargaining is an essential skill of any good criminal defense lawyer, at its most basic level, a criminal defense attorney must be able to provide a vigorous defense for his or her clients. Such a defense begins with research, talking to people with details of the case and learning everything there is to know about the subject.
A good attorney will know your case inside and out. Beyond details of a case, a vigorous criminal defense also requires knowledge of the law. Finally, the criminal defense lawyer must be familiar with court rules and procedures and understand the details of how the complicated criminal justice system operates.
If you are looking for an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Greenville, South Carolina, then look no further. Lauren Taylor Law serves all of upstate South Carolina in the areas of criminal defense including DUI, thefts, burglary, shoplifting, drug crimes, DV and more.
If you are suspected of a crime, you may be feeling a combination of anger, confusion and fear. It can be intimidating to feel that the vast resources of the government are against you. But an arrest is not a conviction. Those who know the law understand that your arrest is evidence of nothing. But this is also why it’s key to be represented by a defense attorney you can trust.
Reasons to Hire Criminal Defense Lawyer Lauren Taylor
Why choose Lauren Taylor Law? Here’s what sets our team apart:
- Our all-female legal team has extensive experience and is compassionate and understanding.
- Lauren understands potential civil penalties that make stem from any conviction or plea, such as deportation and adverse effects on child custody.
- Lauren regularly advances her knowledge with additional attorney courses to make sure she understands the latest criminal court developments.
- Lauren will understand not just how to fight substantive issues like guilty or not guilty and procedural issues like if the police have the right to search.
- Personal attention and dedication to every client, every time. Pay a flat fee to make sure that you don’t run out of money before the case is over. Lauren offers affordable payment plans.
Schedule a Free Appointment With Lauren Taylor Law
Lauren Taylor Law will fight your criminal charges. Schedule a criminal defense consultation by calling our office at 843-790-9009 or completing our contact form below.