If you’ve been charged with a crime in Fort Mill, don’t give up hope. An arrest does not mean that you’ll automatically be convicted. You are innocent until proven guilty. With an experienced Fort Mill criminal defense attorney on your side, you could get the charges against you reduced or dropped entirely. If your case does go to trial, your lawyer will be ready to fight for an acquittal.

The Fort Mill criminal defense lawyers at McKinney, Tucker & Lemel, LLC have decades of experience helping defendants throughout South Carolina. We’re ready to provide you with the knowledgeable, understanding counsel that you need during this stressful time.

No matter what you’ve been accused of, we are equipped and ready to fight to uphold your rights and put forth the strongest defense possible on your behalf. Get a confidential case review today by calling us or visiting our contact page.

Kinds of Criminal Defense Cases We Take

A few examples of the criminal defense cases we take at our firm include:

  • Traffic violations
  • DUI charges
  • Drug offenses
  • Sex offenses
  • Property crimes, such as burglary, theft, arson, and vandalism
  • Crimes against a person, such as assault, armed robbery, kidnapping, and murder
  • Financial crimes, such as embezzlement, fraud, money laundering, and other “white collar” crimes

This is by no means an exhaustive list of the criminal defense cases we handle. If you’ve been criminally charged, we recommend that you contact our attorneys to learn more about your options.

Potential Defenses to South Carolina Criminal Charges

While law enforcement officials do have a lot of power, they’re not all-powerful. After all, police and prosecutors can’t just say you’re guilty of a crime. They have to prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” that you committed the crime in question. That can be a very tall order.

Some of the most common defense strategies for individuals accused of a crime include:

  • Lack of proof – If the prosecution cannot provide enough valid evidence that you committed the crime in question, your case could be dismissed before it comes to trial. Alternatively, this lack of evidence may result in a “not guilty” verdict at trial.
  • Evidence incorrectly obtained – Police have to follow certain rules to obtain evidence in a criminal case. If evidence was obtained illegally or without following proper procedures, it can be thrown out, which may result in your charges being dropped.
  • Alibi – If you’re accused of committing a crime but you have proof that you were somewhere else when the crime occurred, you could have the charges against you dropped.
  • Self-defense – This is often used when someone is accused of a crime against another person. For example, if someone physically attacked you, you’re allowed to respond in kind to defend yourself.
  • Insanity – If you can show that you had no knowledge of your actions and were unable to distinguish right from wrong, you may be able to avoid the worst penalties for a crime while still undergoing rehabilitation or incurring other penalties.
  • Entrapment – To prove entrapment, you will have to show that law enforcement agents coerced you into committing a crime that you wouldn’t have otherwise committed. This is very difficult to prove, but doing so can result in having the case against you dismissed.

All criminal cases vary and each and requires a different strategy. A criminal defense lawyer can help you find the best approach for your particular situation.

Possible Resolutions Without Going to Trial

Sometimes you can have a case resolved before it goes to trial. This can save you time and money, as well as help you avoid the worst possible penalties for a crime.

Some ways your case could resolve without going to trial include:

  • Plea bargain – In exchange for a guilty plea, the prosecution may reduce the charges against you and seek a lower sentence. This is not necessarily the best option in every situation, so be sure you speak to a lawyer before accepting a plea bargain.
  • Conditional discharge – Similar to a plea bargain, a conditional discharge agreement occurs when you admit guilt and the prosecution agrees to dismiss the case once you complete the sentence. This way, you’re punished, but the conviction doesn’t go on your permanent record.
  • Diversion – Sometimes the case against you can be dismissed if you agree to certain terms, such as paying a fine or going through some kind of rehabilitative treatment program. This is fairly common in drug cases.
  • Dismissal – Sometimes a prosecutor will drop a case because they may have their own doubts about your guilt or there is some issue with the evidence in a case. In these instances, you would be allowed to go free without having to go through a trial.

Components of a South Carolina Criminal Trial

The basic steps of a South Carolina criminal trial are:

  • Jury selection
  • Opening statements by the prosecution and defense
  • The prosecution presents their witnesses and the defense gets a chance to cross-examine them
  • The defense presents their witnesses and the prosecution gets a chance to cross-examine them
  • You are not required to testify
  • Closing statements from prosecution and defense
  • The judge issues instructions to the jury
  • The jury deliberates and reaches a verdict

What You Need to Keep in Mind During a Trial

If your case does go to trial, it’s important to watch your behavior and conduct during the trial. Do not react to testimony, even if it’s upsetting or untrue. Do not make any comments toward the judge, jury, or prosecutors. One misstep could jeopardize your defense.

Why You Need a Fort Mill Criminal Defense Lawyer for Your Case

With your freedom and your future at stake, it’s important to hire a skilled, knowledgeable defense attorney when you’re accused of a crime. You need someone who lives and breathes the justice system.

The criminal defense lawyers at McKinney, Tucker & Lemel, LLC are prepared to develop the best defense strategy possible and find ways to poke holes in the prosecution’s case. Without a lawyer’s help, you’re risking severe penalties if you’re found guilty.Our Fort Mill criminal defense attorneys are ready to help you however we can. For your confidential case review, call us or visit our contact page.