West Columbia Criminal Lawyer

Most people do not think about getting a lawyer until they are arrested and charged with a serious crime.  When you face criminal charges, you will need aggressive representation to defend your rights.

Even if it seems the odds are stacked against you, a knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer could make a big difference. Having a West Columbia criminal lawyer by your side and working on your behalf means that you are more likely to get the most favorable outcome possible in your circumstances.

Avoid Self-Incrimination in Law Enforcement Contacts

Investigators generally inform people if they are the subject of a criminal inquiry. Anyone who receives such news should immediately seek counsel and refuse to speak with investigators without counsel present.

Similarly, police must inform persons who are arrested of their right to remain silent. It is incredibly wise for a person in custody to exercise this right until they can consult with a lawyer.

Ensure Rights Are Protected

Our Constitution and laws dictate that all individuals, even those suspected of committing crimes, have certain rights. If police or prosecutors violate those rights, whether intentionally or unintentionally, any evidence that resulted from their action is tainted and possibly cannot be used against a defendant.

A defense attorney could conduct an independent investigation and interview the arresting officer to assure that no misconduct occurred. They also might challenge the accuracy of any scientific tests or procedures that produced evidence supporting the charges against the accused.

Prosecutors must behave fairly toward defendants, including charging them appropriately and disclosing all evidence against them. The legal representative of a defendant could ensure that prosecutors are upholding their obligations to respect a defendant’s rights.

Prosecutors Must Establish Guilt Beyond a Reasonable Doubt

South Carolina law tends to assign severe sentences to crimes.  For example, South Carolina Code §44-53-370(d)(4) sets a minimum mandatory sentence of 25 years in prison for possession of 100 marijuana plants. With such high stakes, the accused must have an ally working to defend them.

A savvy defense attorney could ensure that the prosecutor must present adequate evidence to demonstrate every element of the crime. If the prosecutor’s evidence is weak, an aggressive advocate might convince them to reduce a charge or even dismiss a case.

Settlement is Sometimes Possible

Criminal defendants may demand a trial before a jury of their peers. A defense attorney could present a case at trial that helps to illustrate reasonable doubt in the minds of the jury.

Sometimes, however, a defendant prefers to avoid a trial. In that case, their counselor could negotiate with the prosecutor to secure a fair and reasonable outcome for the client. Prosecutors often are eager to negotiate a plea offer because trials are time-consuming and not a guaranteed conviction.

A prosecutor might reduce charges to get a defendant’s guilty plea. In some cases, the parties might enter a plea offer that does not involve jail time for the defendant.

Get Support From an Experienced Attorney

Criminal defendants need someone knowledgeable by their side, someone who knows the ropes and will not be intimidated. A defendant’s future sometimes depends on the quality of the representation they receive from their advocate.

Seek help from a skilled West Columbia criminal defense lawyer. Contact the office as soon as you realize you might face criminal charges.