Criminal charges are taken seriously in South Carolina, and punishments can be severe. In addition to facing fines and jail time, a conviction brings a criminal record that can ruin prospects for education and a career, obtaining a student loan, possessing a firearm, getting a professional license, and housing and immigration benefits for the rest of your life.
Once you have been arrested and charged with a crime, the prosecutor is already building a case against you, and anything you say or do can be used as evidence. The sooner you have your own lawyer fighting for your rights and your freedom, the greater your chances of avoiding unjust incarceration or penalties.
The criminal defense lawyers at Whalen Montalvo know how serious it is to be facing criminal charges, and we understand the tactics prosecutors use to get a conviction. We know how to negotiate for a lesser offense or dismissal and our skilled litigators are fully prepared to take your case to court if necessary. The sooner you contact us, the sooner we can build your defense and keep you from making mistakes that come back to haunt you.
We provide a free consultation to evaluate your case and determine the best way to move forward, so give us a call today.
When faced with a serious criminal offense, it is important to hire an attorney you not only trust and feel comfortable with but one who has the experience and resources needed to handle your case correctly. Here are some reasons why we believe you should choose Whalen Montalvo:
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A criminal defense lawyer can be indispensable in reducing the severity of your sentence. When you retain Whalen Montalvo, we start working on your case immediately. We will:
At Whalen Montalvo, we believe every client deserves a chance to defend themselves. We have prosecuted and defended cases from simple assaults, traffic tickets and DUIs to armed robberies, burglary and murder. Whatever you are facing, rest assured that we will fight hard to obtain the best possible outcome for your case.
Knowing your federal and state rights when arrested can help you avoid making mistakes that can give prosecutors a better case.
According to South Carolina law (section 17-23-60), you have the right at trial to be heard by counsel, to produce favorable witnesses and proof, and to meet the witnesses against you. You have the right to a fair trial and to be presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. You must be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation and the right to be present and be defended at every stage of the proceedings, from arraignment to judgment.
In addition, when arrested, you have to be read your Miranda rights informing you that you have the right to remain silent and not answer questions that may incriminate you. These warnings stem from the federal Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination and the Sixth Amendment, which guarantees the rights to a public trial without unnecessary delay, the right to a lawyer, the right to an impartial jury, and the right to know who your accusers are and the nature of the charges and evidence against you.
Our Whalen Montalvo attorneys know your rights and will help ensure they are not violated. Evidence obtained in violation of your rights may not be used against you.
Crimes in South Carolina are categorized as misdemeanors or felonies, with felonies being more serious and having greater punishments.
Felonies – Felonies are serious crimes such as murder, rape, kidnapping and armed robbery. They may be punished with long prison sentences, including life in prison, or by death in the case of capital homicide. Fines can range into the thousands of dollars, and there may be additional punishments that include loss of privileges such as the right to vote.
Misdemeanors — Misdemeanors are a lesser criminal charge, but a conviction can result in up to three years in jail, a fine of up to $3,000 or $5,000, and other restitution and loss of privileges, such as losing a driver’s license for the charge of driving while intoxicated.
When faced with criminal charges, you are bound to have questions and concerns. While these are best addressed at your initial consultation, here are some answers to questions our clients often ask:
Misdemeanor classifications and their punishments are classified at four levels:
Class A – up to 3 years in jail and a fine of up to $3,000. Examples include shoplifting, receiving stolen goods, and assault and battery.
Class B – up to 2 years in jail and a fine of up to $5,000. Examples include first possession of a narcotic controlled substance and use of a firearm while under the influence.
Class C – up to 1 year in jail and a fine of up to $5,000. Examples include voting fraud and unlawful possession of gaming devices.
Felony classifications and their punishments are as follows:
Class A – up to 30 years in prison. Examples include murder, rape, kidnapping, robbery with a deadly weapon.
Class B – up to 25 years in prison. Examples include arson, money laundering, drug trafficking.
Class C– up to 20 years in prison. Examples include aggravated assault and battery, sexual exploitation of a minor.
Class D –up to 15 years in prison. Examples include stalking, abuse or neglect of a vulnerable adult.
Class E – up to 10 years in prison. Examples include first degree assault and battery, blackmail, malicious injury to animals and property.
Class F – up to 5 years in prison. Examples include involuntary manslaughter and perjury.
South Carolina has no statute of limitation laws for any criminal offenses, regardless of whether a felony or misdemeanor. All crimes can be prosecuted at any time, no matter how many years have passed since they occurred.
Technically, you do not need a criminal lawyer, but facing experienced prosecutors with knowledge of the system can have lifelong repercussions. With punishments so severe and your future at stake, you owe it to yourself to get the best defense possible.
When you have Whalen Montalvo defending you, we will be there to answer your questions and concerns all through the legal process.
When you are accused of any crime, don’t go it alone. The Greenville criminal defense lawyers at Whalen Montalvo know the local criminal courts, judges, and prosecutors. We can evaluate your case to determine whether you have grounds for dismissal or lowering of the charges and negotiate a favorable resolution to your case. We will be there for you at every step, from the initial court appearance and hearings to taking your case to trial if necessary.
Call us today for your free no-obligation case evaluation, so we can start fighting for your rights, your freedom, and your future while evidence is fresh and witnesses can be found.
Free Consult, Call Now (864) 770-7710
The South Carolina criminal process is complicated and involves several steps. Our attorneys will be there for you to make sure you are prepared for all procedures. After an arrest, these include:
Initial appearance. This is where the judge states the charges and bond amount. Bond may be paid in full, or a bondsman may post a bail bond, usually charging 10 percent. If you do not post bond, you must stay in jail until the case is resolved.
Preliminary hearing. This is a hearing to determine whether probable cause exists to believe you committed the crime.
Arraignment. This is a proceeding where you are officially informed of the charges against you. You will be asked if you wish to hire an attorney or if you qualify for a public defender. You will be asked to plead guilty or not guilty, and an initial trial date will be set.
Discovery. In this phase, you and your attorney receive and review the prosecution’s evidence against you, such as police reports, witness statements, and videos or photos. You may also have to produce material for the state.
Pre-trial Preparation. Our attorneys will be developing a defense strategy and gathering and securing evidence that may help your case.
Plea Bargaining. This involves negotiations between your attorney and the prosecutor to see if you can come to an agreement without going to trial, or at any other point before a verdict. If the prosecutor has a strong case, sometimes a plea bargain is your best option, as you may have charges reduced or dismissed. You would have to agree to any plea bargain arrangement.
Trial: If no agreement is reached, the case proceeds to trial. In a trial both sides present evidence and call witnesses. You do not have to prove your innocence – it is the prosecutor who has to prove that you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. The judge will instruct the jury on applicable law. After closing arguments, the case goes to the jury.
Verdict. If you are found not guilty, the case is over. If you are found guilty, the case will proceed to the sentencing phase at a separate hearing. There may be a pre-sentence investigation to help determine an appropriate sentence.
Appeal. In some circumstances, such as if there was a technical mistake during trial, your attorney can appeal a verdict to a higher court to overturn a guilty verdict.
When you are accused of any crime, don’t go it alone. The Greenville criminal defense lawyers at Whalen Montalvo know the local criminal courts, judges, and prosecutors, and can evaluate your case to see if you have grounds for dismissal or lowering of the charges. We will be there for you at every step, from the initial court appearance and hearings to taking your case to trial if necessary.
Call us today for your free, no-obligation case evaluation, so we can start fighting for your rights, your freedom, and your future while evidence is fresh and witnesses can be found.
Free Consult, Call Now (864) 770-7710
Get the best legal representation possible. Give the Greenville, SC attorneys at Whalen Montalvo a call today at (864) 770-7710 or use our online form.