The Floyd Law Firm PC is here to help you if you have been accused of a crime. Our team of defense attorneys are experienced in providing aggressive criminal defense. We offer skilled legal representation in magistrate’s court, municipal court, and state courts. We provide defense for clients charged with misdemeanors and felonies.
When you have been charged with a crime, you need to take action to protect yourself from the potentially serious consequences. You may be facing jail time, fines, loss of driving privileges for an extended period, and other penalties.
Securing the representation of an attorney who knows how to build an effective defense, is an essential part towards ensuring that you are able to obtain the best possible outcome to your case.
If you, or a loved one, have been charged with a crime, the first step is to know your right to remain silent and reach out to an experienced criminal defense attorney. No matter what type of criminal charge you may face, we are here to provide your strong defense through every step of the process.
All criminal charges should be treated seriously. The repercussions can have lasting negative effects on one’s future, educational prospects, career growth, and reputation. Our firm will take a proactive approach, gather evidence, investigate the situation, and work within the community on your behalf. Our staff has the resources and knowledge to prepare your defense case. We also understand that the fees of representation are an additional expense while your need for legal representation is immediate. Our firm aims to offer reasonable rates with some flexible payment plans whenever possible.
Being charged with a crime near where you live is hard enough, but being charged with a crime while you are on vacation can be daunting. The requirement to travel for court dates and other events adds to the expense and difficulty of defending oneself against criminal charges.
Our firm has extensive experience with defending people from out of town and out of state, who have run into trouble with the law while they were on vacation. We will do our best to minimize the additional difficulty for you.
If you are arrested, remember that anything you say or do may be used against you in court. Do not resist a law enforcement officer, and do not be disorderly or talk back at them. Try to remain calm and composed. You have a right to refuse to answer any questions or can stop answering questions at any point.
Notify a close family member or friend about your situation so they might be able to seek legal counsel for you if you are unable to. Consult with a lawyer (if you cannot afford a lawyer, one will be appointed for you by the court). A friend or relative may be able to post bail for you after you have found out what your bond amount is at the bond hearing.
If you have been lawfully arrested, an officer has a right to conduct a search of your person and your belongings, including your car if you are arrested in it. However, the officer generally does not have a legal right to then go to your home to search it. A home search can only be completed if a search warrant is granted by a judge – or unless you give your permission for a search.
If an officer has reasonable cause to believe that you are operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, he or she may ask you to take a breathalyzer test. You may request the opportunity to take a blood test instead, but at your own expense. If you cannot give a breath sample because of injuries or unconsciousness, a blood or urine sample may then be taken. You may refuse the breath, blood, or urine test – but if you do, your driver’s license will be suspended for six months even if you are not guilty of a crime. If you submit to the test, the results may be used in evidence. A refusal is also admissible.
After you have been arrested, you are taken to a police station for booking. A record of your arrest and the charge must be entered promptly in an “arrest book”. Your constitutional right to remain silent allows you to refuse to answer any questions, sign any statements, or take any tests concerning the crime without a court order.
You may have the assistance of a lawyer at all times. If you cannot afford a lawyer, one will be appointed for you. You may waive these rights and make statements, sign papers, and take any tests – but remember that any information obtained from you voluntarily, without the use of force or intimidation, may be used against you in court. You may still refuse to answer questions at any time, even if you have already answered questions. A verbal or written admission of guilt is a confession and may be used as evidence during a trial.
A law enforcement officer has no legal authority to induce you to confess or admit guilt either by force, threats, promises of leniency, or promises of no prosecution. The promise of an officer to help you, or to intervene with the court in exchange for a confession, is not binding – but may be considered on the basis of voluntarism.
After you have been arrested, you have the right to a prompt bail hearing. Bail is the posting of money, property, or other security to ensure your appearance in court. Some cases require this security, and some require only a personal guarantee. In South Carolina, you may be released by signing your own personal recognizance bond – unless a judge finds that your release is unreasonably dangerous to the community, or that you may not return to court voluntarily for your trial. In most cases, you are entitled to bail in an amount and under conditions set by the judge.
Once the bail terms are set, any person with security acceptable to the court may post bail. If a family member or friend cannot post your bail, a professional bondsman may do so for a fee. Make sure you know and understand the cost of this bond and that it is non-refundable. A list of bondsmen is often kept at police stations.
Under certain circumstances, the judge may allow you to post ten percent of the bail with the court. This is refundable. It is illegal for a bondsman to refer you to a lawyer. You may be able to be released on bail, and remain out on bail, until your case is scheduled for a plea or trial.
A warrant is a court order issued by a magistrate or municipal judge based on sworn information showing probable cause that you have committed a crime. The information may be supplied by a law enforcement officer or any citizen. The warrant requires that an individual be arrested and brought before a judge.
If an officer has a warrant for your arrest, the officer must tell you this, provide you with a copy of the warrant, and tell you why you are being arrested. Do not resist arrest. If you do, the officer may use any necessary force in order to arrest you, such as breaking open a door or window. However, after you have been restrained, the officer cannot continue to use force.
Even if you are not guilty, it is a crime to resist arrest. In the end, if you have been falsely arrested, you may have some remedy.
During your bail hearing, the court must inform you of the charge and your right to have a lawyer and a preliminary hearing in cases in general sessions court. You must be allowed reasonable time to obtain a lawyer. If you cannot afford to hire a lawyer, the court must appoint one for you if you are facing the possibility of a jail sentence.
You may request a preliminary hearing, and if you do not, you have waived your right to one. At the hearing, if the judge finds that there is probable cause that you committed the crime, he or she will hold you for grand jury action and a trial in general sessions court. If not, your case will be dismissed.
When you are required to appear in municipal or magistrate’s court, you must enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. If you plead guilty, you will be sentenced. If you plead not guilty, you may be tried either by a judge or a jury. You, or your lawyer, must request a jury trial at this time.
If you are required to appear in general sessions court, you can plead guilty or not guilty. If you plead guilty, your plea will be taken, and you will be sentenced at a designated time. If you plead not guilty, your case will be scheduled for a jury trial at a future date. You must notify the court and your lawyer of any changes in your address so that they can let you know when your case is scheduled.
Everyone is entitled to the right to plead guilty or not guilty. The burden is on the state to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt and every person is to be presumed innocent unless proven guilty.
At The Floyd Law Firm PC, we understand how important it is that we work towards positive results for our clients who are facing criminal charges. We know our local courts and what strategies work best in them. Our firm has more than 100 years of combined experience that allows us to provide the highly effective criminal defense you deserve.