Lexington, SC Criminal Defense Attorneys
There’s a lot at stake if you are arrested and charged with a crime in Lexington, SC. A conviction can put your life and liberty on the line. In addition to steep fines and jail time, you could also lose your job, access to your children, and face limited opportunities for the future.
Talking to an experienced Lexington criminal defense lawyer is essential to ensure that you achieve the best possible outcome and protect your reputation.
It’s important to take criminal charges seriously, even if you know that you are innocent. The police make arrests when they are convinced they have sufficient proof to substantiate the charges, but they don’t always get the facts straight or follow protocols that protect your rights. A defense lawyer can analyze the circumstances of your case and determine whether it is best to get the charges minimized, fight for dismissal, or arrange for a plea bargain.
Table of Contents
- Criminal Case Process
- What You Need to Know About Bond
- Differences Between Misdemeanors and Felonies
- How a Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help People Facing Criminal Charges in Lexington
- Why Choose The Jeffcoats Firm as Your Criminal Defense Lawyer
- Get a Criminal Attorney Who Believes in You. The Right Defense Can Make All the Difference
- Courts and Law Enforcement in Lexington, South Carolina
- How We Can Help
Criminal Case Process in Lexington, South Carolina
Without a doubt, being charged with a crime is a stressful experience. Knowing the Lexington, South Carolina criminal case process can help you gain a general sense of what will happen, and in what order.
- Pre-investigation. Sometimes people know that they are being investigated by law enforcement before an arrest happens. They may have been called in for an interview or asked to provide a statement. If you have been informed that you are under investigation, contact a criminal defense attorney right away. By getting started on your case during the pre-investigation phase, an attorney can be prepared if charges are filed in the future.
- Arrest. The basics of an arrest include being handcuffed, read your Miranda rights and being escorted to the police station for booking. You will give fingerprints, take a mug shot, be inspected by medical personnel and wait for transfer to bond court. That typically takes 24 hours.
- Bond court. You will appear before a magistrate judge, who will decide whether you can be released from jail while the criminal charges are pending. Having an attorney by your side is important at this stage because the prosecutor will present initial evidence against you. A defense lawyer can provide counter-arguments for why you should be released from jail or have a lower bond set by the judge. Another term you might have heard for getting released on bond is “making bail.”
- Preliminary hearing. Your criminal defense attorney should recommend a preliminary hearing within 10 days of the bond hearing. At this stage, the prosecution must present evidence to prove that there was probable cause that led to your arrest and the current charges. A defense lawyer is key because a judge could dismiss the case, modify the charges or order that the case proceed further.
- Negotiations. In many cases, it’s to the advantage of the prosecution and the defense to resolve your case outside the courtroom. That could involve a plea bargain, where you plead guilty to lesser charges and get a reduced sentence. It’s much less risky than going to trial.
- Trial. Sometimes negotiations fail. The next step is to move to trial, which can last several months and up to years if appeals are included. A trial is a complex process with many stages involving hearings, pre-trial conferences, investigations and discovery exchanges. Depending on the circumstances, it could be a bench trial (with only a judge present) or a trial by jury.
- Sentencing. If you are found guilty, there will be a sentencing hearing to determine your penalty.
- Appeal. You have the right to appeal your conviction in South Carolina. A criminal defense lawyer can build a strong appeal on your behalf, although you are likely remain in jail for the duration of the process.
What You Need to Know About Bond in Lexington
Bond is a deposit that must be made to get you out of jail. You may be able to pay it directly or have it put up by a bail bondsman. In South Carolina, there are several different types of bond, including:
- PR bond. A PR bond requires no cash payment. Instead, individuals are released on their own recognizance. That means they promise to appear at all future court proceedings. Judges usually reserve PR bonds for first-time or minor offenders or those who are unlikely to flee the state to avoid charges.
- Cash bond. The total sum of the bond is paid to the court. The money can be refunded to whoever paid it at the end of the case, provided that the individual did not violate any conditions of the bond.
- Cash percentage of bond. Ten percent of the bond is paid to the clerk of court. If the individual shows up for court and follows all conditions, the money will be returned at the conclusion of the case. Failure to appear or violations can result in paying the full amount of the bond to the court.
- Surety bond. A surety is someone who guarantees that a person will show up to court and comply with all conditions of release. Typically, this is the bail bondsman. Bail bondsmen are licensed in South Carolina and charge fees of 10 to 15 percent of the overall bond amount. Family members can also act as sureties for the defendant.
Differences Between Misdemeanors and Felonies in Lexington
Most people know that crimes are generally categorized as misdemeanors or felonies. A misdemeanor is the less serious violation and involves lesser penalties, whereas a felony is a serious crime with harsh consequences.
South Carolina divides misdemeanors into three classes, which carry different penalties that can include fines and/or jail time of up to:
- Class A misdemeanor: 3 years
- Class B misdemeanor: 2 years
- Class C misdemeanor: 1 year
Examples of South Carolina misdemeanors include:
- Drunk driving
- Simple assault
- Disorderly conduct
- Public intoxication
- Marijuana possession
Felonies include crimes such as:
- Armed robbery
- Drug trafficking
- Abuse or neglect of a vulnerable person resulting in bodily injury or death
They are placed in six categories, and the length of prison time is limited to no more than:
- Class A felony: 30 years
- Class B felony: 25 years
- Class C felony: 20 years
- Class D felony: 15 years
- Class E felony: 10 years
- Class F felony: 5 years
There are some cases in which a crime is not classified as a misdemeanor or felony in Lexington, South Carolina. These are typically small infractions, such as a traffic ticket, that can be resolved by paying a fine.
Regardless, any criminal charges need to be given full and immediate attention by a criminal defense lawyer. A misdemeanor may be a lesser charge, but it will still show up on a background check unless it can be expunged from your record ― and depending on the crime, that’s not always possible.
A criminal conviction could have lifelong consequences. It could:
- Jeopardize child custody arrangements.
- Affect your job prospects.
- Limit your ability to get a car loan or home mortgage.
- Prevent you from getting federal financial aid/college scholarships.
- Prohibit you from owning a gun.
- Strip you of your right to vote for a period of time.
- Limit access to government benefits, such as public housing.
Criminal Defense Cases We Handle in Lexington
The Jeffcoat Firm helps clients start and finish many different types of cases. We focus on helping our clients find the compensation they need.
- Probation, Pardon, and Parole
- Civil Litigation
- DUI Defense in Lexington, SC
- Professional License Defense
- Criminal Defense
How a Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help People Facing Criminal Charges in Lexington
The criminal defense lawyers at The Jeffcoat Firm have extensive experience and have successfully defended with many different types of criminal charges. Among the criminal charges we can help you with are:
- DUI Lawyer in Lexington, SC
- Criminal Domestic Violence
- Domestic Violence
- Drug Crimes
- Internet Crimes
- Sex Crimes
- Property Crimes
- Violent Crimes
- Federal Criminal Charges
Whatever charges you may be facing in Lexington, we can help. Contact us to find out more about how we can fight for your rights.
Criminal Defense Lawyers in Lexington, South Carolina
In the most difficult moment in your life, when you are facing serious criminal charges, you need an aggressive defense to protect your freedom, your finances, and your livelihood.
The Jeffcoat Firm provides people in Lexington with the quality defense they need. We know how to negotiate with and challenge the most experienced prosecutors, convince a jury, work with even the most difficult judges, and work to secure the best possible outcome for you.
With more than 20 years of experience fighting for our clients in the Lexington courts, we can tackle even the toughest cases.
Don’t put your future at risk. Contact the Lexington criminal defense lawyers at The Jeffcoat Firm so we can help you build a tough defense, no matter the circumstances of your case. To get started on your defense, call us or contact us online today.
Get a Criminal Attorney Who Believes in You. The Right Defense Can Make All the Difference.
It is normal to be frightened of the future if you’ve been arrested. You could be facing serious penalties, including jail time and heavy fines. What you need is a lawyer who wants to do more than just get through your trial. You need a lawyer who will use the most aggressive legal strategies and who will put every bit of their energy into your defense.
The Jeffcoat Firm knows exactly what you are up against. We know how you are feeling. And we want to be there with you the whole way, from the moment you call us to the moment we secure the best possible outcome in your case. When you bring in a quality lawyer who cares about their clients, you increase your odds of a greatly reduced sentence or even an outright dismissal of charges.
Whatever charges you are facing, and whatever penalties are on the line, we will be there to defend you. We won’t let the court push you into accepting an unfair deal. If they push you, we’ll push back.
Courts and Law Enforcement in Lexington, South Carolina
South Carolina divides its courts into three categories: circuit court, magistrate court, and family court. If you are facing criminal charges, you will be dealing with the circuit court.
The Jeffcoat Firm has plenty of experience working with the Lexington Circuit Court. The court can be found at:
Lexington County Circuit Court
205 East Main Street
Lexington, SC 29072
During criminal defense proceedings, we will almost certainly be in contact with the local law enforcement who investigated, questioned, and arrested you. In Lexington, we frequently work with:
Lexington County Sheriff’s Department
Lexington County Law Enforcement Complex
521 Gibson Road
Lexington, SC 29072
Lexington Police Department
111 Maiden Lane
Lexington, SC 29072
How Our Lexington, SC Criminal Defense Lawyers Near You Can Help
The Jeffcoat Firm has been providing legal services to clients in Lexington, Columbia and the surrounding areas for nearly 20 years. Our approach to our criminal defense practice encompasses three guiding principles: diligence, dedication and determination.
No matter if you’ve been charged with a misdemeanor, felony, professional license complaint, or DUI, our attorneys will listen to your side of the story and put up a vigorous defense on your behalf.
When you meet with one of our attorneys, the first thing we will want to know is what happened, from your point of view. Make sure to answer all of the questions truthfully, even if it feels awkward or embarrassing. Remember, we are working to protect you. Failure to reveal something could have a significant impact on the strategy we develop to defend you.
Next, we will spend as much time as necessary to analyze the situation and discuss best-case scenarios. In situations where it is not possible to have the charges totally dropped, we won’t sugarcoat things. We will give you a realistic assessment of possible sentences and get your thoughts on next steps.
Expect that the entire criminal case process will be a very emotional time for you. With so many unanswered questions swirling around, it’s common for people to feel angry and depressed. Let Carolina Defense Lawyers support you. We are available to assist you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. For help with your criminal matter, call us or fill out our contact form.
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“I highly recommend The Jeffcoat Firm for their knowledge, expertise, and compassion. Not only do Michael Jeffcoat and Taylor Bell have impeccable reputations, they go above and beyond to support and service their clients. Very appreciative of their work, and would not hesitate to call them for anything.”
– Larry Compton Jr., July 29, 2021 (more reviews here)
Rating: 5/5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐