Saluda Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you are the subject of a criminal investigation or are detained by law enforcement, it is essential to seek an experienced Saluda criminal defense lawyer. A Saluda criminal defense lawyer can advise you of the risk involved with the charges and the best defense strategy. 

Unless a person has previously been a criminal defendant, works in the criminal justice system or in another profession that works with the legal system, they are likely not going to be familiar with the ins-and-outs of how crimes are investigated and prosecuted. For individuals who have been accused of a crime or have been formally charged in South Carolina, you can benefit from understanding how the criminal justice system works. 

The following information provides an explanation of the criminal process in South Carolina up to the point whereby a defendant enters a plea with the court (arraignment).

 

The Pre-Trial Criminal Process

A person enters the criminal justice system in two ways: 

  1. Contact with a law enforcement officer whereby the person is arrested based on the officer’s reasonable impression that there was a fair probability a crime was committed. The information collected by the officer is forwarded to a prosecutor to file charges or decline to file charges.   
  2. After an investigation by law enforcement, a prosecutor presents the State’s case to a Grand Jury who determines if the information submitted to them constitutes a violation(s) of the criminal law. 

 

Arrests in the Field

Not all crimes will result in an individual being arrested. For minor infractions, generally, a ticket is issued that contains a notice to appear in court or the option to plead guilty and pay fines by mail. However, for more serious offenses, an individual may be taken into custody. 

If law enforcement has probable cause to make an arrest, an individual will be taken into custody. While in custody law enforcement will review your background information such as outstanding arrest warrants, take fingerprints, and inventory all belongings in your possession. While in custody, an individual may request that they speak to an attorney before being interviewed by law enforcement. 

 

The Charging Process 

An individual is charged with a crime when probable cause is present that the defendant committed a crime. Probable Cause is defined as the “fair probability” that the facts and circumstances surrounding an incident would lead a reasonable person to conclude that the individual in question has committed a crime. 

When there is probable cause a person committed a crime, information regarding a suspected crime may be forwarded to the prosecutor. At this time, the prosecutor will decide if criminal charges should be filed. 

 

Grand Jury Indictment

In other circumstances, the information collected through an investigation of criminal activity is forwarded to a Grand Jury to determine whether the suspect should be indicted for the crime. If the Grand Jury finds probable cause that a crime has committed an indictment will be issued. An arrest warrant will be issued for the indicated individual, and attempts will be made to the person into custody. 

 

Securing Bond

Within 24 hours of arrest, the individual in custody will appear before a judge for a bond hearing. At this time, the judge will determine whether the individual in charge can be released on bond. The purpose of a bond is to ensure that an individual will return to court if issued. In addition to the determination of whether a person is a flight risk, the judge will also consider whether the defendant is a danger to the community. A person may be held with a high bond or no bond at all if the person is a flight risk or a threat to the community. 

South Carolina law provides for several different types of bond: 

Cash Percentage Bond 

The court sets a bond amount, and the defendant pays a cash percentage in lieu of bond (no more than 10%). A person who violates the terms of the bond may be liable for the entire amount. 

Cash in Lieu of Bond 

Under money in lieu of bond arrangement, the defendant must pay the entire amount of the bond to be released. A person who violates the terms of the bond may be liable for the whole amount.    

Surety Bond 

A surety, usually a bail bondsman guarantees the court that a defendant will comply with his or her bond conditions. Typically, the defendant will pay the bail bondsmen an initial payment totaling 10-15% of the overall bond amount. 

Property Bond 

A property bond relies on the defendant posting real estate as surety. A person who violates the terms of his or her bond may forfeit the real estate displayed as surety.

Arraignment

At the formal arraignment, if you have decided to be represented by legal counsel, your lawyer will be present. If you are unable to afford your own lawyer, the court will appoint an attorney to serve you. During the arraignment, you will be informed of formal charges against you. 

 

Call a Saluda Criminal Defense Lawyer Today

If you are the subject of a criminal investigation or are detained by law enforcement, it is essential to seek an experienced Saluda criminal defense lawyer. A Saluda criminal defense lawyer can advise you of the risk involved with the charges and the best defense strategy.

If you have been arrested or are being investigated for a crime, contact McCutchen McLean & VanSyckel, LLC at (803) 271-0909. 

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James McCutchen was an excellent attorney in helping my wife and me in our son’s name change. He helped guide us through the whole legal process and very professional throughout. I will definitely use him and his firm in the future for other legal matters.
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