Columbia Criminal Lawyer

Being charged with a crime – whether a misdemeanor or felony – should always be taken seriously. This is especially true in South Carolina where prison sentences can be harsh and judges have discretion on what penalties can apply to convictions for felonies and misdemeanors.

If you have been charged with a crime in Columbia, SC, contact an experienced Columbia criminal lawyer to review the charges against you and determine what legal defenses might apply to your situation.

South Carolina Criminal Charges

South Carolina recognizes many types of crimes including murder, kidnapping, manslaughter, rape (criminal sexual conduct), and a host of others. However, some of the most common types of criminal charges that Columbia criminal attorneys deal with include:

  • DUI: Impairment for Driving under the influence (DUI) is inferred when someone’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level is 0.08% or higher, 0.02% or higher for those 21 years or younger, and 0.04% or higher for those who hold a CDL (commercial driver’s license). For DUAC, it is illegal to have a BAC 0.08% and above.  The implied consent laws provide law enforcement with a blood, breath, or urine test to determine BAC levels under South Carolina law.  All persons arrested for DUI have the right to refuse the test.  However, anyone who refuses will lose their license for six months (three months for those under 21).  Driver’s license suspensions must be challenged within 30 days from the Notice of Suspension (generally given during arrest).
  • Theft: According to SC Code Sec. 16-13-10, et. seq., South Carolina classifies theft offenses as larceny and defines them as the unlawful taking of property (or services) belonging to someone else with the intent to permanently deprive the person of that property. There are essentially three categories of larceny:
  • Petit larceny. Known as petty theft, this involves stealing property or services with values $2,000 or less. It is considered a misdemeanor and can result in fines of up to $1,000 and spending up to 30 days in prison.
  • Grand larceny – stealing property or services valued between $2,000 and $10,000. This is a felony and can result in up to five (5) years in prison.
  • Grand larceny – stealing property or services valued at over $10,000. This a felony and can result in up to ten (10) years in prison.
  • Shoplifting – concealment of unpurchased good with the intent to deprive the merchant of the property.
  • Assault & Battery. South Carolina recognizes four assault and battery charges. According to SC Code Sec. 16-3-600, these consist of:
  • Assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature (ABHAN). ABHAN is the most serious of all charges as it involves physical contact (battery), which results in great bodily harm or in a manner which was likely to produce death or great bodily injury. ABHAN is a felony which can result in up to 20 years in prison.
  • First-degree assault and battery. This involves assault and battery where injury results. It includes nonconsensual touching of genitals in a lewd manner, or when the incident happened during theft, robbery, kidnapping, or burglary.It can also be an assault (without battery or physical contact) which was likely to produce death or great bodily harm, or that occurred during the commission of a theft, robbery, kidnapping, or burglary. This is a felony that which can result up to a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.
  • Second-degree assault and battery. This involves moderate bodily injury – or that which could have resulted in moderate bodily injury – that required seeking medical treatment. It also includes nonconsensual touching of the genitals. This is a misdemeanor which can result in up to three (3) years in prison.
  • Third-degree assault and battery. Known as simple assault, this generally involves striking someone which does not result in severe injury. It is a misdemeanor which can result in up to 30 days in jail.

Regardless of the charge, it is critical to remember that there are likely legal defenses to every situation and additional information that might arise from a separate, pre-trial investigation conducted by an experienced Columbia criminal defense attorney.

How a Columbia Criminal Attorney Can Help

Anyone charged with a crime in Richland County should have them investigated by a Columbia criminal lawyer before entering into a plea bargain. Having a criminal record can affect someone for the rest of their life. Find out how a Columbia criminal defense attorney can help you today.