Criminal Defense FAQ

Criminal Defense FAQ

If you or your loved one has been arrested and charged with a crime you need an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Columbia, South Carolina, who will fight to protect your rights. Your rights, including your professional and personal future, are important reasons why the hire of experienced attorneys like those of Strom Law Firm.

Since 1996, the experienced lawyers of the Strom Law Firm have defended the rights of people through the criminal justice system. Our attorneys have experience defending various types of criminal charges and will begin to utilize our professional resources as soon as we begin working on your case.
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South Carolina has many jails and detention centers, many of which are frequented by the attorneys of the Strom Law Firm. Immediately following an arrest, a law enforcement officer may take a detainee to any one of numerous detention centers. Some of these venues include the Greenville County Detention Center, the Charleston County Detention Center, the Lexington County Detention Center, and the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center. Our attorneys have experience with nearly every venue in SC and are willing to travel to defend your rights.

An arresting officer may work for any of several law enforcement agencies. In Richland County, arrests can be made by any law enforcement agency. There are numerous courts which may hear your case.

It is imperative that any person charged with a crime contact the Strom Law Firm immediately or as soon as possible after arrest. The attorneys at the Strom Law Firm may be an essential part of your defense, even before a trial takes place.

Frequently Asked South Carolina Criminal Defense Questions

I didn’t do anything wrong, so why should I worry about talking with an investigator?

Despite what you may think, and even if you do not think that you have done anything illegal, it is never a good idea to speak with law enforcement without an attorney. If you are contacted by law enforcement or even think that you may be under investigation, anything you do or say may be used against you in future criminal charges and/or proceedings. Contacting an attorney prior to any questioning is the safest route to protect your rights.

The information included on your ticket or warrant will usually contain:

  • your charge
  • your first court date
  • your bond (if any)

You should bring this documentation with you when you meet with the attorney.

Why do I need to show up at my first and second appearances if I won’t see a judge?

Any failure to appear could result in a bench warrant for your arrest.  While your first and second appearances may be somewhat procedural, you are required to attend. If you fail to appear, the judge can issue a bench warrant for your arrest.

What is a bench warrant?

A bench warrant can be executed by a judge for your failure to appear in court, failure to pay a fine, or comply with a court’s payment plan. This bench warrant is a stand alone charge and is in addition to your original charges. In other words, if a bench warrant is issued, and you are pulled over for a simple traffic violation in that county, the officer may arrest you.  If you are in jail on a bench warrant, or think a bench warrant has been issued against you, you need an experienced South Carolina Criminal Defense attorney to guide you through the complicated process of dealing with your original charges and any bench warrants.

Can’t I wait to hire an attorney until after my second appearance?

In order to provide your attorney a sufficient amount of time to build your defense, you should hire a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible following your arrest. If you are arrested and taken to jail, a bond hearing should be held within 24 hours of your arrest and having representation begin, as early as the bond hearing, becomes very important.  If you or your loved one has been placed under arrest, it is important that you contact an experienced criminal defense attorney as early in the process as possible.  Additionally, if you are given a ticket with a date to appear in court, it is also extremely important that you contact an attorney as early as possible in order to give them time to prepare for your upcoming court date.

It’s not worth fighting. I’ll just plead guilty, right?

If you are arrested in South Carolina and your criminal charge is pending in General Sessions Court or Magistrate’s Court, you have the option to plead guilty or not guilty.

The decision to enter a guilty plea should not be made with haste, it is always best to consult the advice of a criminal defense attorney because when pleading guilty you give up any right to refute the charges against you.  A guilty plea can have lasting consequences beyond a fine or prison sentence.  Conviction of some misdemeanors and felonies result in potentially losing your right to public housing, suspension of your driver’s license,  potential loss of qualifying for education scholarships like the HOPE and LIFE scholarships, the loss of your right to carry a firearm or vote, and could mean a  lifetime registration on the sex offender registry.  Custody or visitation with your children can also be impacted by certain convictions, as well as professional consequences that can ruin your livelihood and end your career.

What Happens if I decide to plead guilty?

If you decide to plead guilty after receiving the advice of an attorney, you will attend a guilty plea hearing before a judge who is assigned to your case.  After your plea is entered the judge will then make a determination on your punishment.

State Sentencing

In South Carolina State Court, Judges have discretion to sentence within statutory range set by legislatures.

Possible punishments include:

  • a time-served sentence,
  • a monetary fine,
  • probation,
  • completion of rehabilitation/education programs in lieu of sentence,
  • home-detention or house arrest, and
  • active incarceration

Given the possible range of sentences it is extremely important that you consult a criminal defense attorney so that you are aware of all of the possible consequences of a crime before you decide how to plead in your case.

If you are not satisfied with the sentence imposed in your case, you may appeal the decision within 10 days after the completion of your case. Failure to file within ten days, except in very limited circumstances, will cause you to lose your appellate rights.

Winnsboro, South Carolina

The county seat of Fairfield County, SC is the town of Winnsboro. Located in the midlands but near the upstate, Winnsboro calls itself “A Town for All Time.” Fairfield County offers access to Lake Wateree and Lake Monticello and is located directly between Columbia and Charlotte, NC. Over 11,000 acres of the Sumter National Forest is also located in Fairfield.

Thanks to its central location, Winnsboro is often utilized by travelers. Running directly through Winnsboro, Interstate 77 is one of the busiest highways in SC. GA Downtown

There are several famous landmarks in Winnsboro. Laura’s Tea Room, located in the same building as the historic Thomas Company, hosts visitors and residents alike for high tea and is a popular tourist attraction. Serving as the Chamber of Commerce and polling location, the Winnsboro Town Clock has been in continuous operation for over a century. Originally a railroad town, Winnsboro is home to the South Carolina Railroad Museum.

Because of abundant lake access in Fairfield County, Boating Under the Influence charges may be applicable. Boating Under the Influence is similar to a DUI charge and needs to be handled by an experienced attorney. Frequently utilized for its recreational wherewithal, the Lake Wateree State Park Area is home to many outdoor activities and is a frequently visited site.

The Fairfield County Courthouse, located in downtown Winnsboro, is an iconic landmark designed in Greek Revival Style. The courthouse is still operational even though it was initially constructed in 1823.

The Fairfield County Detention Center is located at 10 Faith Lane, Winnsboro, SC 29180. The area is patrolled by various law enforcement agencies, including local police and the Fairfield County Sheriff’s Office. Depending on the agency making the arrest, detained individuals may be taken to any of a variety of detention centers before a bond hearing.

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