Being charged with a crime is an emotional event. But regardless of the circumstances, it’s not something you should attempt to handle on your own. During a stressful time like this, you should be working with an experienced criminal lawyer on your case. South Carolina criminal defense attorney Michael L. Brown, Jr. wants you to know the following about what a criminal lawyer does and how they can help you.
The Discovery Process. The first thing your defense attorney should do is file a motion for discovery in your case. In South Carolina, this is often referred to as a Rule 5 motion or a Brady Motion. A properly filed motion will trigger a duty for law enforcement to provide a copy of the material evidence in the case against you. South Carolina Court Rule 5 requires that law enforcement provide this information within 30 days of filing the discovery motion.
- Warning. Beware of any attorney that guarantees a resolution in your case during your first meeting or consultation. No attorney can give you their professional opinion about the case without seeing the evidence against you after filing for discovery.
The Negotiation Process. After the discovery process, your attorney should begin negotiations with the prosecuting agency in the case. Typically, the prosecutor will provide the defense with a plea offer after discovery has been exchanged. A plea offer is an offer by the prosecution to plead to a certain charge for a specific result in the sentencing. Once your attorney has negotiated the best plea offer available in your case, your attorney should schedule a meeting with you to review the benefits of such an offer.
- Diversion Programs. Sometimes the plea offer will include an offer to enter in a diversion program. There are several diversion programs in South Carolina. These programs require the defendant to accomplish specific tasks (e.g., counseling, drug treatment, community service) in exchange for a dismissal. The most frequently used diversion programs in South Carolina are Pre-Trial Intervention, Conditional Discharge, and Alcohol Diversion Program.
Litigation. If you and your defense team are unable to agree on a plea deal, the result is often to litigate the case. When hiring an attorney, you want to decide on an attorney who has significant litigation skills. A criminal trial is a complex proceeding where your attorney will present both legal and factual defenses in your case. You want an attorney who is both academic in their study of the law and persuasive in their ability to convince a jury as to why you are innocent. This is the most important skill a good defense attorney must have to be competitive in the criminal defense industry.
Most importantly, a good criminal defense attorney should act in your best interests at all stages of representation.
If you are charged with any of the following crimes, you should call a criminal defense attorney for help:
- Driving Under the Influence/Driving at an Unlawful Alcohol Content (DUI/DUAC).
- Criminal Domestic Violence
- Drug Offenses for Narcotic Drugs or Prescription Medication
- Crimes of Violence, such as Assault and Battery, Murder, and Kidnapping.
- Crimes Involving Theft, such as Petit Larceny, Breach of Trust, Shoplifting, and Property Enhancements.
- Traffic Offenses such as Driving Under Suspension, Reckless Driving, and Hit and Run.
Of course, there are many other types of criminal charges. If you’re facing any type of charge, call a South Carolina criminal lawyer to see if your case qualifies. Michael L. Brown, Jr., and Zach Merritt are criminal lawyers based in Rock Hill, SC. Our experience and passion for criminal law means we’ll fight for the justice you deserve. Trust us to stand up for your rights in court.