Plea Deals in Columbia Gun Cases

Sometimes after being arrested for a gun offense, the best option for the defendant can be accepting a plea deal. A plea deal could allow the accused to avoid harsher penalties from the charge.

If you received a gun charge, it is important to have the representation you deserve concerning plea deals in Columbia gun cases. Contact an accomplished attorney today to ensure you have the proper counsel going forward.

Different Types of Pleas for a Gun Charge

There are different types of pleas, from straight up guilty plea to a recommendation of the prosecutor where the prosecutor is recommending a specific amount of time or range. There is a cap where the prosecutor recommends a maximum. For an example, a kidnapping case carries up to 30 years and the prosecutor could recommend a cap of eight years. The judge could go beyond that. The cap is the limit of maximum exposure.  

Another plea is a negotiated sentence/negotiated guilty plea one where the judge can either accept or deny it, but the judge cannot modify it.  

There is also the Alford plea, in which the defendant maintains their innocence but believes the evidence will likely bring a guilty verdict at trial, so they will plead guilty but still maintain their innocence.  

A plea of nolo contendere allows a person to not admit guilt under oath.

Most Common Gun Charge

In South Carolina, the most common gun offense is unlawful carrying of a pistol. Many drug offenses and violent crimes include the possession of a weapon during the commission of the violent crime. Often times that charge is dismissed pursuant to a plea offer. 

What to Consider Before Pleading Guilty to a Gun Offense

The charged person should discuss with their attorney concerning plea deals in Columbia gun cases and: 

  • Review all the evidence together 
  • Review the law 
  • Understand the facts and circumstances  
  • Understand the consequences
  • Know their rights
  • Understand the sentencing ranges  

Everything a person needs to know as far as their constitutional protections should be in place before they go forward with a guilty plea or waive those rights (a plea colloquially).  

The judge goes through the protections with the defendant so they know they have a right to a pre-trial, they have the right to cross-examine any witnesses against them, and they have a right to an appeal. Many of those rights are waived by a guilty plea. The judge goes through that with the person’s attorney as well, and goes over the discovery/evidence against the defendant’s lawyer, pointing out the strengths and weaknesses of their case so they can make a confident decision.  

Benefits of Having an Attorney

An experienced attorney knows the law, will discuss with the defendant the facts of their case, their legal and constitutional rights, and can provide the best recommendation as to: 

  • Whether any legal defenses are present  
  • If they should go to trial  
  • If it will be a fight because the case is very weak when going through the strengths and weaknesses of the case
  • Whether or not a plea offer looks appropriate  

A person can negotiate for themselves, but that would not be advisable because they do not know all the details of the law, they probably have not dealt with the prosecutors before, and would not be familiar with the various plea deals available. This would not be recommended. Defense attorneys do this for a living, they interact with the prosecutor and the police almost every day, and know their way around the court room. This interaction is essential when negotiating a plea deals in Columbia gun cases.