Being charged with a crime is a scary and sobering experience. Sitting in handcuffs and not being free to do and go as you please causes you to suddenly realize just how much we take our freedom for granted. So, what do you do when you find yourself under arrest? First, keep in mind you have been afforded Constitutional protections. Most have likely heard of having "Miranda" rights, which stem from a case in 1966. Miranda v. Arizona requires the police make you aware of certain warnings or rights.
The first right is the right to remain silent. This is extremely important, as the more you speak the more potential evidence you are providing the government. Remember, words can be misinterpreted and taken out of context. Generally, the less you say the better. In scenarios involving alcohol, this is often more difficult due to lowered inhibitions and emotions running high.
The second right is the right to an attorney. This is an absolutely essential right as the criminal process and the procedures involved are extremely complicated. On top of that, the State has an abundance of resources at their disposal. As you have likely heard on television when Miranda warnings are given, you can be appointed an attorney if you can not afford one. The fact the government will provide you an attorney at its' own cost demonstrates just how important having an attorney is to someone accused of a crime. Now, if you can afford a private attorney, it is to your advantage as public defenders often have extremely high case loads. As a Criminal Law attorney for over 11 years, I am here when you need me. Call Will Parker Law at (843) 357-4111 or feel free to call me on my cell at (843) 999-2907 to speak to me directly.Criminal Prosecutions
The first stage is, of course, the arrest. Once arrested, you will be facing, in most cases, a bond hearing. The purpose of the bond hearing is for a judge to assign a monetary amount to be posted by the Defendant to assure they show up for court appearances. The judge overseeing the bond hearing takes into account the nature of the charge, the Defendant's criminal history, the Defendant's ties to the community and their potential flight risk. An attorney can be present to represent a Defendant at a bond hearing. Having an attorney at the bond hearing lets the judge know the Defendant and his or her family is taking the charge seriously from the beginning. I regularly represent Defendants at bond hearings all across the Grand Strand and Pee Dee. I have represented Defendants at bond hearings for charges ranging from a misdemeanor DUI to more serious charges like Robbery and Attempted Murder.
The best case outcome is a "PR" bond, which stands for Personal Recognizance. This essentially means the judge believes the Defendant is reliable and will show up for court. Often times a PR bond is granted to someone charged with a less serious crime who has immediate family in the community, is employed and has been a resident for an extended period of time. After bond is set, a bail bondsman may be needed if the Defendant and his or her family is unable to afford the bond. The purpose of a bondsman is to assure the court the defendant will be at his or her court hearings.Court Appearances
The severity and nature of the charges will dictate the number of required court appearances. If you hire an attorney, it is possible to be excused from some court appearances. There are some cases, with an attorney, that you may never be required to see a courtroom. Particularly, in misdemeanor cases, I have often been able to keep a Defendant from ever stepping foot in a courtroom.Discovery
From a Defendant's point of view, a discovery request is a request to the government to turn over evidence obtained during the investigation of a case. The government is required to turn over all evidence, even if it is exculpatory (in the favor of the Defendant). This was decided in a landmark case, Brady v. Maryland in 1963. Often times, after a review of the discovery, I am able to find evidence in favor of my client and convince the Solicitor (in South Carolina the Prosecutor is referred to a Solicitor) to drop the charges or offer a reduced plea.Misdemeanors and Felonies
Crimes are classified into two groups - misdemeanors and felonies. Generally, more serious crimes are classified as felonies. Felonies carry longer sentences, which are usually a year of more, but also carry other consequences including forfeiting an individual's right to vote (during probation and parole) and ability to possess a firearm. It is also more difficult to have felonies removed from your record, so they can have significant life-long consequences.
Misdemeanors, however, can also have severe consequences as they may have to be reported on job applications and for licensing privileges, as an example. Therefore, it is important to take all charges seriously. The one-time cost of an attorney can prevent problems that can last a lifetime. As a Criminal Law attorney since 2006, I am here to help you in your time of need. Call Will Parker Law at (843) 357-4111 or on my cell after hours at (843) 999-2907.