Felonies are the most serious criminal offense in South Carolina. These crimes carry severe consequences, including lengthy prison terms. If you or a loved one is facing felony charges in South Carolina, it’s vital to understand the state’s felony laws and the potential impact a conviction can have on your life.
At the Law Office of Mo Abusaft, we’re determined to provide the best criminal defense for clients facing felony charges. Whether this is your first offense or you were arrested before, we’ll work with you each step of the way to develop an effective strategy and defend your rights.
The courts can be adversarial and stressful, but our legal team will help you navigate these difficult times and fight for a positive outcome. Get in touch with us today for a free case review.
In South Carolina, criminal offenses are divided into misdemeanors and felonies. Felonies are considered far more severe crimes, and nearly every felony charge is punishable by more than one year of imprisonment.
Unlike many states that classify felonies into separate categories (or degrees), South Carolina does not have a classification system. Instead, each felony offense has its unique penalties.
Depending on the seriousness of the felony, court-ordered penalties may include the following:
- Court fines
- Lengthy probation
- Loss of privileges
- Sexual offender status
Punishments handed down by the courts involve many factors, including:
- Nature of the crime
- Defendant’s criminal history
- Sentencing procedures
- Aggravating and mitigating factors
Criminal defense attorneys are determined to fight felony charges by challenging evidence, filing court motions, and working with prosecutors to secure positive results.
What makes a felony a felony?
What sets most felonies aside from less severe criminal offenses is the nature of the acts. Generally, felony charges include elements such as:
- Physical harm
- Property damage
- Substantial financial losses
- Breach of public trust
- Sexually motivated acts
Felony convictions carry long-term consequences that can impact an individual’s personal, professional, and social life. Even a one-time conviction can have long-term effects and leave you with a tarnished criminal record for years.
Consequences of a Felony Conviction in South Carolina
Some of the most detrimental issues that many felons across the state face include:
- Employment difficulties
- Housing challenges
- Professional licensing revocation
- Disqualification from the military
- Problems getting into higher education
- Loss of voting and gun rights
While expungement can help many convicts clear their names, this process can take many years. Therefore, the best way to avoid the negative consequences of a felony arrest is to fight the charges in court to get them reduced or dismissed.
While some cases may be resolved through motions and negotiations, others may need to go to trial.
Common Felonies in South Carolina
Felony charges range across many different crimes. From violent acts against other individuals to theft and drug-related charges, many criminal acts in South Carolina meet the legal threshold for a felony charge. Some of the most common felonies include:
- Armed robbery
- Drug trafficking
- Sexual assault
- Grand larceny
If you are facing any of these charges or another felony offense, you must consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney sooner than later. Criminal cases are often time-sensitive, and you’ll need to act fast to obtain relief.
Timeline of a Felony Case in South Carolina
No two felony cases are ever the same, and many elements can affect the timeline and outcome of a case. However, most felony cases must still follow South Carolina court rules and procedures.
An arraignment hearing marks the start of nearly all felony cases. A judge will generally read the charges against you, and you’ll have the opportunity to plead guilty or not guilty.
When you plead not guilty, your attorney will move to review the evidence and all the discovery associated with your case. During this process, they’ll develop defense strategies that can include:
- Filing motions to suppress or dismiss
- Interviewing witnesses
- Investigating the charges in-depth
- Consulting with experts
Many felony cases get resolved during pretrial proceedings. Depending on the circumstances, your attorney may succeed in having the charges reduced or dismissed. Other times, signing a plea deal may be the best solution.
If your attorney and the prosecutor cannot reach an agreement, your case will likely proceed to trial. Felony trials can last from a few days to weeks and even months. During the trial, all the relevant evidence will be discussed, and both parties will cross-examine witnesses and experts before the jury decides on a verdict.
Contact a South Carolina Defense Attorney Today
Because felony charges come with severe consequences and involve many moving parts, you’ll need to enlist the help of an experienced defense attorney.
The Law Office of Mo Abusaft is dedicated to providing top-notch defense for clients across South Carolina. Our team will challenge evidence, file motions, negotiate with prosecutors, and work hard to fight the charges. Call us today to learn more about felony defense in South Carolina.