Sumter Felony Lawyer

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Sumter Felony Attorney

In Sumter, South Carolina, felonies are the most serious type of criminal offense that one can face, and they carry more penalties than being charged with misdemeanors. A felony includes a wide range of illegal activities, from violent offenses, like assault and battery, to non-violent crimes, like theft or fraud. Fortunately, hiring a Sumter felony lawyer can help educate you on your rights and what potential defenses may work.

At Deas Law Firm, we have represented those facing felony charges in the Sumter area for many years. We understand how distressing these charges can be to face alone. It’s why we take the time to understand who our clients are and what defense strategy can be the most advantageous to have their charges reduced or dismissed. Whether this is your first time facing a criminal charge or you have prior convictions on your record, we would like to meet and see how we can help defend your interests in court.

Difference Between Felonies and Misdemeanors

Being able to understand the nature of felonies and their legal implications is important for anyone who faces these charges in the state, whether you committed them on purpose or if it was an accident. These details significantly impact the legal process and potential penalties that one could face.

Severity of the Crime

Misdemeanors are considered to be the less severe offense in the eyes of the criminal justice system. Examples of misdemeanors include petty theft, minor assaults, traffic violations, and even public intoxication as long as there are no other aggravating circumstances.

Felonies are more serious crimes. They include some of the most heinous behaviors that an individual could be found guilty of, including murder, rape, armed robbery, and aggravated assault. One of the most defining characteristics of a felony is an individual’s intent to cause harm to another individual or society in general.

Legal Penalties

When someone is found guilty of a misdemeanor, their punishment typically could include a short-term jail sentence, often anywhere from a couple of months to under a year. They could also be offered alternative punishments, such as paying fines, participating in community service, or probation.

The punishment for felonies is aligned with the more severe nature of these crimes. The prison sentence alone could range anywhere from a single year to life behind bars. In extreme circumstances, such as murder, the state of South Carolina also allows for the death penalty as a form of punishment.

Trial Procedures

The length of a trial for misdemeanors is generally much faster than a felony. In some cases, a trial may not even be required, as the issue could be resolved through a plea agreement or in lower courts.

Felonies, however, will require a more formal legal process. This will often include preliminary hearings, arrangements, and a trial in front of a judge and jury.

Record Expungement

Anyone who is convicted of a misdemeanor has a better chance of having it expunged from their record when compared to someone with a felony. This means that the individual will have their misdemeanor removed from the public record, and they will no longer have cause for concern when seeking employment or new housing.

Expunging a felony is much more difficult and, in some cases, not a possibility. These are often on an individual’s criminal record for life, which can have a dramatic impact on accessing new opportunities in the future after serving their time in prison.

Common Types of Felonies in Sumter, South Carolina

The possible felonies that one could be accused of in South Carolina are numerous. This is because there can be so much overlap between different types of crimes, along with the various circumstances that could turn an ordinary misdemeanor charge into a felony. However, some of the most common types of felonies that have been charged and defended in the state include:

Assault and Battery

This category of felonies involves any scenario where someone either physically harms or threatens to harm another individual. The term ‘assault’ is typically assigned to an action where there has been a threat of violence, while ‘battery’ involves the actual act of physical contact. These crimes are heightened to felony status when the individual either causes serious injuries, uses a weapon, or specifically commits the crime against a protected class of individuals, such as minors.

Fraud and Embezzlement

The concept of fraud is when someone deceives another person or entity for their own personal financial gain. On the other hand, the act of embezzlement refers to the theft of funds by an individual who was trusted to keep those funds safe, such as a manager at a business who calculates the money earned each night.

These are often considered to be white-collar crimes, and they will be charged as felonies, depending on how much money is involved. The more victims the fraud affects or the higher the total amount of money involved is, the more significant the felony charge can be.

Drug trafficking and distribution: If someone is charged with drug trafficking and distribution, it means that they have been accused of either the illegal sale, transportation, or distribution of controlled substances. The severity of this felony charge hinges on details such as the type and quantity of the drugs involved.

South Carolina takes these felony charges very seriously, as engaging in this activity has the power to negatively impact thousands of people, and it can all be traced back to the original point of sale. A prosecutor can even try to hold a drug trafficker responsible for the death of someone they sold laced drugs to if there was a fatal incident involved.

Burglary and Robbery

Burglary refers to the act of unlawfully entering a building with the intent to go inside and commit a crime. This is typically a property that the offender does not own. Robbery is the deliberate act of stealing from someone while using force or fear to get what the offender wants.

Engaging in either of these crimes can amount to a felony charge, especially if one is found guilty of entering someone’s residential property or using physical harm to carry out the act.

Homicide

The most common crimes that fall under a homicide charge include murder and manslaughter. Murder is the intentional act of taking another person’s life. It is one of the most serious felonies in South Carolina and can lead to a life sentence in prison or even the death penalty, depending on the objectives and success of the prosecution.

Manslaughter is typically considered to be a less severe offense, and it is defined as the unlawful killing of someone else without premeditation.

While it may seem like a criminal defense attorney may have difficulty in scenarios where it is clear that their client has engaged in homicide, they could still fight to reduce the charge. For example, if a prosecutor is trying to have the death penalty be the defendant’s punishment, their attorney could fight for life in prison instead.

Sexual Assault and Rape

Any non-consensual sexual activity will fall under this felony. The charges will range based on the details of the case, such as if force was used to carry out the act, the age of the victim, and what the perpetrator’s relationship was to the victim. These convictions are known to carry significant prison sentences to remove the individual from society for a while. A conviction will likely require the individual to register as a sex offender once released.

Arson

It is illegal to intentionally set property on fire, especially when it can be connected to the desire to endanger lives or damage property that is not yours. The severity of the repercussions for this felony increases with added details, such as attempting to harm another individual. Other charges could be added if the crime was committed for fraudulent purposes, such as trying to cash in on an insurance check.

Kidnapping

Any instance where someone is accused of unlawfully taking and holding another individual against their own will can be considered an act of kidnapping. This is always treated as a felony, especially when other aggravating details are apparent, such as ransom demands, harming a victim in captivity, or if the victim is a minor.

How a Sumter Felony Lawyer Can Help You

All these felonies can carry significant legal ramifications if the defendant is found guilty in a court of law. However, being accused of these crimes is not an automatic felony conviction. This is why it’s highly recommended to hire a skilled criminal defense attorney as soon as you can.

A skilled Sumter felony lawyer can navigate the criminal justice system and defend your interests in court. There are a ton of nuances within each type of felony charge, and a criminal lawyer can assist in identifying all the different potential defenses available to you.

Sumter Felony Offenses FAQs

Q: How Does a Felony Charge Affect Future Employment Prospects?

A: Having a felony charge on your record can have significant implications for your desire to achieve gainful employment in the future. Many employers specifically conduct background checks to look into these matters. Depending on the nature of the crime, they may be hesitant to hire someone with a felony record.

This is especially true for positions where trust and responsibility are main components of the position. For example, it is likely difficult to obtain a job where you would manage an organization’s money with an embezzlement charge on your record. However, some employers may consider how much time has passed since the conviction, or consider your time in prison as enough punishment already, and still offer the job.

Q: Can a Felony Be Expunged From My Record in South Carolina?

A: The possibility of expunging a felony off your record in South Carolina differs on a case-by-case basis. The most common types of felonies that qualify for expungement are those that were not violent in nature and where the individual has completed their sentence without additional charges or complaints.

However, some of the more serious felonies are unlikely to be eligible for expungement. This is especially true for very violent crimes and sexual offenses. To understand your chances of having a felony expunged, connect with a criminal lawyer to better understand the expungement process and what criteria you may or may not meet at this moment in time.

Q: Is It Possible to Appeal a Felony Conviction in Sumter?

A: Yes, there can be grounds to submit an appeal to a felony conviction under certain parameters. First, the appeal must be based on specific legal grounds, such as evidence of a procedural error, a lack of evidence, or a suspicion that there was an improper application of the law during the trial.

The process of an appeal starts with the higher court, which will review the case to search for the legal mistakes that have been noted by your defense attorney. If you receive a guilty verdict for a felony and still feel that the punishment is too harsh or that you are innocent, a defense attorney can assess the likelihood of a successful appeal. They can supervise the entire process until a second verdict is reached.

Q: What Should I Do If a Family Member Is Charged With a Felony?

A: If a family member has been charged with a felony in Sumter, one of the first things you want to do is make sure that they have adequate legal representation. Connect with a qualified defense lawyer as soon as you can who can provide them with legal guidance on the process and start to build their defense strategy.

Aside from connecting them with legal services, they may also appreciate any emotional support you can offer during this distressing time of their lives. It’s also imperative that you avoid making any statements, especially on your own social media channels, as this information could be seen by a prosecutor and used in court as valid evidence against your family member.

Contact Deas Law Firm Today

At Deas Law Firm, we work tirelessly for you to make sure you are fairly compensated on your personal injury case. From slip and fall cases or even catastrophic injury cases, Deas Law Firm is ready to fight for you and your rights. Call us today or fill out the online form to discuss your personal injury case.

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