If you have been accused of committing a felony in South Carolina, you undoubtedly have a number of questions about what happens next and how the charge may affect your future, your finances and your freedom. It may be the first crime you have ever been charged with, and perhaps you never expected to face criminal charges for anything. Or perhaps you have been through the justice system before but do not know what to expect from a felony charge.
You are not alone. Many people have been charged with felonies, and some cases are much stronger than others. Some cases are a complete case of mistaken identity, and in other cases, the charges may be exaggerated or the evidence tainted or insufficient. It is nerve-wracking to be charged with a felony, which can carry such life-changing consequences and public exposure.
The experienced criminal defense attorneys at McKinney, Tucker & Lemel are here to help you through this experience. We can help navigate the criminal process and pursue a just outcome for you. We understand what you are going through and will give you an honest, no-nonsense assessment, as well as a vigorous defense if we represent you.
Contact us today for a consultation. We know where the criminal justice system falls short and will fight to help you avoid an undeserved result.
Experience, compassion and attention to detail are the guiding principles that we base our practice on. You need a lawyer who can be a strong advocate for you, and someone who knows the system well enough to be able to offer a strong defense and help you achieve your goals. Consider these attributes of our Rock Hill legal team at McKinney, Tucker & Lemel:
- Experienced – Our attorneys measure their legal careers in decades.
- Focused – We are a client-focused law firm. Your concerns are our priority.
- Responsive – Open lines of communication and frequent updates keep you informed every step of the way.
- Local – With deep roots in South Carolina, we are proud to call the Rock Hill area home.
- Straightforward – You can count on us to give you honest advice without the sugar coating.
- Cost-effective – We aim to deliver quality legal services at rates you can afford.
- Compassionate – You’re going through a difficult time. We respect that and treat our clients with courtesy and kindness.
Should I Just Accept a Plea So That I Can Put This All Behind Me?
Every case is different, but in general, just pleading guilty without the benefit of an experience attorney is the last thing you want to do. If charges have been filed against you, the police, prosecutors and judge are not on your side and cannot give you legal advice. The sentence you get if you just plead guilty may not reflect an accurate representation of the facts of the case or a just punishment for what happened.
There are a number of defenses that can be presented in a felony case, which include technical defenses such as self-defense or duress, as well as establishing holes or errors in their evidence. Because felony law is complex and changes frequently, it is important to find a lawyer for felony charges who keeps pace with its evolution and is prepared to examine every aspect of the prosecution’s case and challenge the problematic areas.
Just because you have been charged with a crime, does not mean that you will be convicted. The state has the burden of proof, and must prove their case to a jury or judge beyond a reasonable doubt. Our job is to present the best possible defense in order to show the holes or the problems in their case.
In some cases, pleading guilty may actually be the best option, but that does not have to be the default. The most important thing to know is that you have better options than simply pleading guilty without speaking to a lawyer. Contact us now so that our experienced criminal defense lawyers can walk you through the process and what options you may have.
Possible Consequences of a Felony Conviction
The possible consequences you may face if convicted of a felony include probation, a fine, driver’s license suspension, community service, substance abuse classes, or jail time depending on the result of the testing or conviction and whether there are prior convictions on your record.
There are possibly collateral consequences as well. For instance, certain criminal convictions make you ineligible for some types of government assistance, including housing, food and federal loan or grant assistance, disqualify you from voting or serving in some of the armed forces, and make you ineligible for adopting a child.
If you are convicted of a drug-related offense, there may be mandatory substance abuse classes that could cost you between hundreds and thousand of dollars. Having a conviction on your record may affect employment opportunities. If you are not a U.S. citizen, some convictions could prevent you from getting or renewing a visa, becoming a naturalized citizen or could result in deportation, depending on the crime.
Does Every Felony Conviction Involve Jail Time?
A felony conviction does not automatically result in jail time. Although felony convictions usually result in stiffer penalties than misdemeanor convictions, some sentences may not involve jail time.
Are There Different Levels or Classes of Felonies?
Yes. In South Carolina, felonies are mostly divided into different classes based on the severity of the alleged crime and whether it was a repeat offense. Some felonies are exempt from classification and carry their own ranges of maximum sentencing. Those exempt felonies include crimes like murder, sex crimes, and first-degree burglary.
The most serious category of felonies is Class A, and the least serious is Class F. The maximum penalty allowed for conviction of a Class A felony is 30 years incarceration, and the maximum penalty allowed for a Class F felony is 5 years incarceration, but the exempt felonies could carry a range of penalties from no jail time to capital punishment.
Let Our Rock Hill Felony Defense Attorneys Help You
If you are facing a felony charge in Rock Hill, Fort Mill, York County, Lancaster County or surrounding areas of South Carolina, the experienced local criminal attorneys of McKinney, Tucker & Lemel can offer the qualified assistance you need to present your best defense.
The attorneys at McKinney, Tucker & Lemel have deep ties to the communities we serve, and have dedicated our careers to making sure clients like you get a fair result. We have handled all kinds of criminal cases, from the most minor to serious felonies, on both the prosecution and defense side, and we will put our experience and knowledge to work for you.
Contact us now for an evaluation of your felony case and advice about your legal options so we can help you today.