Greenville Criminal Defense Lawyer

The right to defense counsel after being charged with a crime is one of the fundamental Constitutional rights guaranteed to every American, but that does not mean you have to settle for the attorney the court provides you. While public defenders work hard and fill a crucial role in the court system, they are almost always burdened with multiple cases at once, and they have little time to dedicate to any one defendant.

If you want to effectively resolve your criminal charges in a way that serves your best interests, retaining a Greenville criminal defense lawyer of your own is a virtual necessity. Once hired, an independent defense attorney could dedicate themselves to defending your rights and work tirelessly on your behalf to pursue a beneficial case outcome.

Criminal Classifications Under State Law

For the most part, criminal offenses in South Carolina are classified into one of six classes of felonies or three classes of misdemeanors, with misdemeanors being considered less severe than felonies. As noted in South Carolina Code of Laws §16-1-10(D), though, a number of unique offenses are specifically exempted from this classification system, meaning they have unique potential punishments upon conviction that are defined in their respective state statutes.

If a criminal offense does fit into the normal classification system, the length of the term of imprisonment a conviction could result in corresponds with its misdemeanor or felony class. As per South Carolina Code of Laws §16-1-20, the maximum prison sentences upon conviction for the various classes of criminal offenses are as follows: 

  • One year for a Class C misdemeanor conviction
  • Two years for a Class B misdemeanor conviction
  • Three years for a Class A misdemeanor conviction
  • Five years for a Class F felony
  • 10 years for a Class E felony
  • 15 years for a Class D felony
  • 20 years for a Class C felony
  • 25 years for a Class B felony
  • 30 years for a Class A felony

Additional penalties—such as fines, community service requirements, probationary periods, and license suspension—may be applicable on a case-by-case basis. A Greenville criminal defense attorney could go into detail during an initial consultation about what kinds of sanctions a particular charge or set of charges could result in upon conviction, as well as what circumstances might allow for enhanced criminal penalties.

Is There a Statute of Limitations for Greenville Criminal Charges?

In many states, a legal concept known as a statute of limitations limits how long prosecutors have to bring charges against someone they believe committed a crime. If applicable, a statute of limitations prevents any court case from proceeding if the deadline for beginning the filing process has passed, ensuring that cases do not start after key evidence has disappeared or been destroyed.

However, unlike most other states, South Carolina has no statute of limitations for criminal cases. Accordingly, anyone who believes they may be accused of a criminal act should get in touch with a criminal defense lawyer in Greenville as soon as possible, as there is no limitation on how long a state prosecutor could wait before bringing charges forward.

Talk to a Greenville Criminal Defense Attorney About Legal Options

Every criminal case has unique properties and potential outcomes, and any kind of criminal conviction—whether for a misdemeanor, felony, or unclassified offense—could have devastating implications for your future. Accordingly, it is rarely a good idea to go into any kind of legal battle without guidance from a professional who has handled similar cases successfully before.

A Greenville criminal defense lawyer could be your most knowledgeable, most tenacious, and most essential ally in the fight to contest the accusations made against you. To schedule a meeting with a legal representative, call today.