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April 28, 2024

Your Rights When Facing Criminal Charges in South Carolina

Your Rights When Facing Criminal Charges in South Carolina

The law protects individuals arrested, accused or charged with criminal offenses in South Carolina. Knowing your rights is important because it lets you defend yourself against injustices and abuse of power. This guide will discuss these safeguards and the importance of asserting your rights.

What Are the Rights of the Accused in South Carolina?

Individuals arrested or charged with a criminal offense in South Carolina have many rights, including:

1. The Right to Remain Silent

The Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution and Article 1, Section 12 of the South Carolina Constitution provide the right to remain silent.

The right to remain silent — also known as the right against self-incrimination — protects individuals arrested or charged with criminal offenses in the U.S. This fundamental legal right ensures individuals aren’t compelled to speak in police custody or incriminate themselves during criminal proceedings or interrogations.

The Miranda warning is an essential aspect of the right to remain silent. Police officers are generally required to read it to a detainee during an arrest. The Miranda warning includes:

  1. The right to remain silent and that anything you say can be used against the accused.
  2. The right to a lawyer even if you cannot afford the services of a private attorney.

This warning aims to ensure suspects provide information with full knowledge of their legal rights. If the officer violates this right, the evidence gathered may be inadmissible. If you waive your rights and freely provide information, that information can be used against you during criminal prosecution.

2. The Right to Legal Representation

The Sixth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and Article 1, Section 14 of the South Carolina Constitution provide the right to legal representation. The right to counsel ensures that individuals charged with a criminal offense receive adequate legal representation during investigations and trials.

Getting a defense attorney is crucial, considering the possible implications of criminal convictions. Criminal defense attorneys can help you navigate legal processes like bail applications and build a defense. They can also represent you during the trial and help you understand your rights and the gravamen of your case.

You can enforce your right to legal representation in many ways. For example, you can hire a private attorney to represent you throughout the proceedings. Private attorneys may also offer pro bono services, giving you free legal representation. If you cannot afford a private attorney, you may be appointed a public defender. The state pays for their services on your behalf.

READ  Five Things Your Lawyer Can Do If You Are Charged With a Crime

3. The Right to Due Process

The Fifth and 14th Amendments of the U.S. Constitution and Article 1, Section 3 of the South Carolina Constitution provide the right to due process. The right ensures that a person charged with a criminal offense is not deprived of liberty, life or property without due process of the law. It guarantees fairness, justice and protection of individual rights during arrest, investigation or trial.

Due process refers to fair procedure, which encompasses the following:

  • Fair trial: Due process states that criminal proceedings must be conducted impartially, justly and according to established rules and procedures.
  • Impartial tribunal: Fair trials require an impartial and unbiased judge and jury to hear cases. The trier of facts and law must be free from prejudices, and the case must be adjudicated based on evidence and law.
  • Presumption of innocence: The presumption of innocence states that the defendant is innocent until proven guilty. Until the defendant goes through a fair trial, they cannot be convicted and sentenced for a criminal offense.
  • Burden of proof on the prosecution: The prosecutor in a criminal case must prove beyond reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty of the offense they were charged with. This burden of proof includes presenting evidence and persuading the court of the accused individual’s guilt.

4. The Right to Reasonable Bail

The Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and Article 1, Section 15 of the South Carolina Constitution safeguard the right to reasonable bail. This right ensures that individuals arrested or charged with a crime are released from custody pending trial if they meet specific legal requirements.

For example, the individual may demonstrate that they have no criminal history and are not a flight risk. They could also show ties with the community. Ultimately, it must be apparent that the accused will appear in court when called upon.

The terms of the bail must be fair, reasonable and just. The conditions and amount will vary depending on the facts of each case. Different types of bail exist, including the following:

  • Cash bail: The defendant pays the bail amount with a cashier’s check or cash. Cash bail is usually required for serious offenses.
  • Surety bail: A bail bondsman pays the total bail amount for the defendant in exchange for a fee. The fee is usually 10% of the total bail amount.
  • Personal recognizance: The defendant is released from custody without paying anything. However, they must sign a written promise to attend hearings and trial proceedings. Personal recognizance bail usually applies in nonviolent offenses and crimes involving first-time offers.

5. The Right to a Speedy Trial

The Right to a Speedy Trial

Both the Sixth Amendment and Article 1, Section 14 of the South Carolina Constitution provide the right to a speedy trial. This right ensures that criminal cases are resolved promptly. The court must prevent prolonged pretrial detention and minimize the impact of legal proceedings on the accused. Prosecution must also avoid unreasonable delays.

READ  Your Guide to Fifth Amendment Rights

Several factors can affect the duration of the trial, such as:

  • The nature of the investigation
  • Case preparation
  • The court’s caseload
  • Case complexity

The court balances these factors and the right to a speedy trial to ensure justice and fairness.

The Importance of Asserting Legal Rights in South Carolina

Your legal rights protect you and ensure you are treated fairly. They promote:

  • Justice: Asserting legal rights can prevent miscarriage of justice. It ensures the defendant is only convicted or sentenced when subjected to established procedures. If found innocent, the defendant must be acquitted and discharged.
  • Balance of power: Legal rights balance the power dynamics between individuals and the state. They allow individuals to protect themselves against potential abuses of power, ensuring the legal system operates within the confines of the law.
  • Precedents: Asserting legal rights in criminal cases can set important precedents that benefit others facing similar situations in the future. Challenging unjust laws and practices contributes to legal reform and protecting civil liberties.

Learn More About Criminal Defense Rights in South Carolina

Have you been arrested or charged with a criminal offense in South Carolina? If so, it’s crucial to consult a criminal defense attorney immediately. An experienced lawyer can assess the gravamen of your case and help you develop a solid defense.

Lauren Taylor Law has helped many defendants find practical solutions to their legal challenges. Our team of professionals is ready to guide and provide effective representation from start to finish. We handle criminal cases, civil issues and family law matters like divorce cases.

Call 843-790-9009 or contact us online to learn more!

Learn More About Criminal Defense Rights in South Carolina

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Your Rights When Facing Criminal Charges in South Carolina
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Your Rights When Facing Criminal Charges in South Carolina
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The law protects individuals arrested, accused or charged with criminal offenses in South Carolina. Knowing your rights is important because it lets you defend yourself against injustices and abuse of power. This guide will discuss these safeguards and the importance of asserting your rights.
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Lauren Taylor Law Firm
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