Chapin Criminal Lawyer

Lake Murray and the surrounding area make Chapin seem like an idyllic place far from the crime and stress associated with cities. But law enforcement officials always seem to be on the lookout for criminal activity in Chapin, and sometimes they file charges when they are not warranted.

If you are facing charges involving property offenses, DUI, drug offenses, crimes of violence, or even something considered minor such as disorderly conduct, it is a good idea to consult a Chapin criminal lawyer to learn about your options for fighting the charges. Any type of criminal conviction on your record can cause difficulties with employment, housing, and even personal relationships.

When you work with an experienced criminal defense attorney, your attorney can help protect your legal rights and fight to achieve a positive outcome in your case.

Categories of Criminal Offenses

State laws classify most crimes as either misdemeanors or felonies.

Misdemeanors

Misdemeanors are considered less serious offenses. However, the penalties for many offenses labeled as misdemeanors are as severe as those imposed for felony offenses in other jurisdictions.

The misdemeanor category is further divided into sub-categories. State statutes label misdemeanors as Class A, Class B, or Class C, with Class A being the most serious. Misdemeanors punishable by less than a year of imprisonment are not part of the classification system and constitute a separate sub-category.

Felonies

The more serious crimes are characterized as felony offenses. The state criminal code divides felonies into six categories labeled Class A through Class F. As with misdemeanors, Class A felonies are the most serious.

Crossing the Line

The line dividing misdemeanors from felonies is not as clear as it may seem in criminal code definitions. Many offenses may be treated as misdemeanors in some circumstances and felonies in others. A knowledgeable Chapin criminal lawyer could explain the classifications applicable in particular cases and whether those classifications could change as new evidence comes to light.

Penalties for Crimes

In most cases, when the judge or jury convicts an individual of a criminal offense, the judge has discretion to impose a range of penalties. The South Carolina Code of Laws often specifies a maximum penalty for different categories of crimes. These maximum penalties are set forth in S.C. Code §16-1-20 as:

  • Up to 30 years for a Class A felony
  • Up to 25 years for a Class B felony
  • Up to 20 years for a Class C felony
  • Up to 15 years for a Class D felony
  • Up to ten years for a Class E felony
  • Up to five years for a Class F felony
  • Up to three years for a Class A misdemeanor
  • Up to two years for a Class B misdemeanor

At the opposite end of the spectrum, some extremely serious felonies are considered as “exempt” from the classification scheme. Statutes defining the elements of these offenses describe the maximum penalties as well. For instance, first-degree burglary and murder are an exempt felony that may be penalized with a life sentence in prison. It is best to speak to a skilled lawyer to learn about the penalties an individual could face for their specific situation.

How an Experienced Chapin Criminal Attorney Can Help

The consequences of criminal charges may have a negative impact on your life for many years. So, it is wise to take all allegations of criminal wrongdoing seriously, even if charges have not yet been filed. South Carolina has no statute of limitations for criminal prosecutions, so the police can charge you with committing an offense that allegedly occurred decades ago.

If you have been charged with a crime or may be charged in the future, a dedicated Chapin criminal lawyer could investigate to locate and preserve the best available evidence to support your defense. Evidence becomes more difficult to locate as time passes, so quick action is ideal.

When you work with an experienced criminal defense lawyer, they can serve as your advocate working to protect your interests at all stages of the proceedings. To learn how a Chapin criminal attorney could help in your case, call for a free consultation.