Aiken County Criminal Lawyer

Any criminal conviction, even for a misdemeanor, is a matter of public record visible to potential landlords, employers, lenders, friends, and family. However, an Aiken County criminal lawyer could fight criminal charges by working to uncover and preserve evidence that could make all the difference in your case.

A dedicated defense attorney could make use of every available defense argument to fight on your behalf at each stage of the proceeding to bring about the best possible outcome. You should not fight these charges alone without an experienced attorney to help. Call today to schedule a consultation.

How Crimes are Classified in Aiken County

Like most states, South Carolina divides criminal offenses into two main categories. The most serious crimes are treated as felonies and the less serious offenses are considered misdemeanors.

These broad categories are further divided into different classes. There are six classes of felonies, referred to as class A through class F, with class A being the most serious. Similarly, the most serious misdemeanor is also labeled class A, but there are only three classes of misdemeanors, making most minor misdemeanor classification is class C. In many cases, the classification of a crime determines the severity of the penalties that apply.

For both felonies and misdemeanors, South Carolina statutes also describe crimes that are not given a specific class rank but have their own penalties applicable specifically to that offense. Many of these crimes, referred to as exempt offenses, are listed in §§16-1-10(C) and (D) of the state code. There are other offenses that, while not officially listed as exempt, still do not have a classification. Often courts have the discretion to set the penalties for these offenses.

Penalties for Felony Offenses

With so many types of felonies on the statute books, it is impossible to describe even a small percentage of these offenses. An example of a felony is homicide by child abuse, which is defined in §16-3-85 of the Code. This section describes different penalties that may be imposed depending on the circumstances of the case. The sentences range from 10 to 20 years in prison to 20 years to life. A seasoned Aiken County criminal lawyer could fight to build a defense to help someone facing a felony avoid a conviction.

The penalties for general felony offenses are set forth in §16-1-20 of the South Carolina code as follows:

  • For a class A felony, imprisonment for up to 30 years
  • For a class B felony, imprisonment for up to 25 years
  • For a class C felony, imprisonment for up to 20 years
  • For a class D felony, imprisonment for up to 15 years
  • For a class E felony, imprisonment for up to 10 years
  • For a class F felony, imprisonment for up to five years

Repercussions for Misdemeanors

It is worth noting that the penalties for many misdemeanors are more severe in South Carolina than in other jurisdictions. A class A misdemeanor can result in up to three years in prison and a class B misdemeanor may result in up to two years of imprisonment. In many states, any crime punishable by more than one year in jail is considered a felony.

Therefore, many crimes technically classified as misdemeanors in Aiken County could be considered felony offenses in other jurisdictions by virtue of the applicable penalties. Class C misdemeanors in South Carolina are punishable by up to one year of imprisonment, which is the longest sentence allowable for misdemeanors in many other states.

Benefit an Accomplished Aiken County Criminal Attorney

Every person facing criminal charges is innocent until the prosecution proves otherwise. In each case, there are certain elements that must be proven for an individual to be convicted. All throughout the criminal law procedures, there are opportunities for taking actions that can help or hinder your case.

A capable Aiken County criminal lawyer who knows how the local courts have treated cases like yours could provide advice and advocate on your behalf in the manner calculated to bring about the best possible result. Call now to learn the advantages a seasoned criminal attorney can bring to your case.