4701 Oleander Drive, Suite A
Myrtle Beach, SC 29577

Pawleys Island Criminal Defense Lawyer

Pawleys Island Criminal Defense Lawyer

Pawleys Island Criminal Defense Attorney

Criminal charges can change your life in an instant. Whereas civil cases only have the risk of monetary penalties, criminal cases can send you to jail and your life into a spiral. If the police are charging you with a crime, you need a Pawleys Island criminal defense lawyer to represent you and advocate for you in court. Without a lawyer, you risk encountering the maximum penalty of the law.

At Axelrod & Associates, we have experience helping clients through all sorts of criminal cases. Whether you are dealing with more minor misdemeanors or find yourself staring down a felony charge, we can provide a legal defense for you and try to limit any penalties you might face.

Pawleys Island Criminal Defense Lawyer

Can Axelrod & Associates Help Me With My Criminal Defense Case?

Our team at Axelrod & Associates has over 100 years of combined experience working in law, and we are especially seasoned when it comes to criminal trials. We can work with you throughout the process, negotiating a potential plea sentence with the prosecutor or working to suppress damning evidence the police illegally obtained. Working together, we can put together a strong legal defense in Pawleys Island, SC and advocate for you in court.

When you’re dealing with a high-stakes crime with the risk of jail time, we believe you need an attorney with empathy who will show you kindness while working on your case. We know this is a stressful time in your life, and we’ll work to remove as much of that stress as possible and handle as much as we can before the trial.

The Basics of Criminal Defense in South Carolina

Speaking about criminal defense is sometimes difficult because of the broad nature of the topic. Criminal defense covers incidents that may lead to probation and crimes with the potential for a life sentence.

In South Carolina law, crimes fall into two major categories: felonies and misdemeanors. Misdemeanors are for smaller crimes and carry less jail time and long-term consequences than felonies. Some misdemeanors may lead to probation for a first-time offense, but this is not always the case. Despite popular belief, a misdemeanor always carries the risk of jail time, especially if the accused is a multiple-time offender.

Felonies are for heinous crimes like murder or rape. These crimes carry the risk of an extended stay in jail, and they can lead to the accused having trouble securing housing or a job after the sentence.

No matter what kind of charge you’re dealing with, you’ll want to be proactive with it. Even a conviction for a misdemeanor will impact your life and cause you trouble down the line. This is why you need to hire an attorney as soon as the police file charges against you. Every second you wait decreases your chances of winning the case, as your attorney needs as much time as possible to understand the nature of the case and what sort of defense they should use.

What Are Some of the Common Criminal Charges in Pawleys Island?

Criminal charges are as numerous as the beaches in South Carolina, but we will look at some of the most common cases we see in our firm.

  • Murder and manslaughter: These are some of the most extreme cases in the legal system and carry the risk of life imprisonment for the former. Murder implies an intent to kill, while manslaughter is when your negligent actions lead to someone’s death. No matter which charge you’re dealing with, they carry serious risks and plenty of jail time. Self-defense is often a popular defense for these charges.
  • Theft: Theft is a crime against property and not a person. You take something from someone that they did not consent for you to have. Theft is generally a misdemeanor if it is for a small amount of money or if the property is worth a small amount. It also carries less serious sentences than robbery or burglary.
  • Assault and battery: Assault is when you intend to harm someone, whether through your actions or a threat. Even if you do not make contact with the person, the police can charge you with assault. Battery is the physical part of the crime, and it covers any unwanted touching of another person with the intent to harm them.
  • DUI: Driving while intoxicated can lead to crashes and generally puts other motorists at risk. Police will need probable cause to pull you over for a DUI, such as observing erratic driving behavior or failure to follow the rules of the road. If the police did not follow proper procedure, you may be able to avoid a DUI conviction.
  • Robbery: Robbery is when you use threats of violence to try to deprive someone of their property. These threats can just be words or can include intimidation with a weapon.
  • Drug possession: South Carolina treats drug possession seriously, and even a first-time offense may land you with a sentence of jail time. From marijuana to heroin, getting caught with drugs will lead to a stressful situation.

What Sort of Penalties Do I Face for Criminal Charges?

The biggest difference between criminal and civil courts is the possible punishments. In civil court, you’ll likely only need to pay money if you lose a case. In a criminal trial, you’ll be facing several potential penalties that can fundamentally change your life.

The most obvious punishment for a guilty verdict in a criminal trial is jail time. Misdemeanors carry the risk of up to three years in jail, while a felony can land you in a state prison for the rest of your life. Judges typically have a range of sentences they can hand down for a crime, and your lawyer can advocate for a lower sentence for you if the jury finds you guilty.

Aside from jail time, the court can order you to serve a probation sentence. The judge can tack this probation sentence onto the end of your jail time or use it instead of jail time. Violating the terms of your probation may bring you back to a correctional facility.

Judges may also impose mandatory counseling to help curb recidivism or impose a fine for the infraction. The sentence is almost entirely at the judge’s discretion, and they may factor in your criminal history and the facts of the case when determining the appropriate sentence.

Prosecutors often look to strike a plea deal with the defendant to avoid a time-consuming trial. In exchange for you pleading guilty to the crime and forging your right to a trial, the prosecutor will charge you with a lesser crime. For instance, if you’re on the hook for robbery, the prosecutor might let you take theft instead.

While you will have to serve time in most plea deals, you will avoid the harshest penalties the state could levy against you. You’ll want to speak with your attorney and see if they believe a plea deal is right for your case.

Criminal Defense Law FAQs

Q: Can the State Reduce a Felony to a Misdemeanor in South Carolina?

A: The most common way to get a felony reduced to a misdemeanor is to strike a plea deal with the prosecutor. You can plead guilty to a lesser crime in exchange for a lesser sentence than you may have gotten if you went to trial. Judges may also show defendants mercy when sentencing them and give them a lesser amount of jail time.

Q: Will I Have to Serve My Entire Sentence in SC?

A: Typically, for more major crimes, a guilty party will have to serve 85 percent of their sentence before they can begin to think about parole. The court may choose to offer parole to a convict who has shown good behavior in court and has shown true contrition for the crime.

Q: Do I Need an Attorney When Facing Criminal Charges?

A: Yes, having an attorney present gives you a better chance of fighting the charges than if you go it alone. Your attorney will know the applicable laws and legal precedents that may give you a chance of getting the case dismissed. You won’t likely have the knowledge or the ability to articulate your arguments in court. Your attorney can also negotiate a plea bargain if you want to go down that path.

Q: Do Criminal Charges Often Have a Statute of Limitations?

A: South Carolina is a unique state in that it has no statute of limitations for criminal charges. This means the prosecutor can file charges against you for a case that happened two weeks ago as they can for one that happened twenty years in the past. Most states use the statute of limitations to avoid filling the court up with old cases and bogging down the legal system.

Contact an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer

No matter the criminal charges you are facing, you need to hire an attorney who will aggressively work to fight for you. Any criminal charge will put you at risk of long-term penalties and will impact your life forever.

At Axelrod & Associates, we have experience helping everyday people get the legal help they need when facing a criminal charge. Contact us today to see how we can help you. Every second is precious in a criminal case, so don’t wait.


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