While arrest rates have been dropping for decades, thousands of South Carolina residents are arrested on criminal charges every year. And while we are innocent until proven guilty, in the eyes of the law, it's hard to stay calm with the threat of time behind bars hanging over your head.
If you are facing criminal charges in South Carolina, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side. At TF Law, we give our clients legal advice from the perspective of specialists in the field of criminal defense law. No matter your legal issue, our Mauldin criminal defense lawyers will be there every step of the way.
Do I Need an Attorney?
You don't always need an attorney to represent you, but a good rule of thumb is that if you are facing jail time then you should hire a lawyer. Even if you are just facing fines or community service, having an experienced attorney on your side is still a good idea, but not always necessary.
There are many benefits to having an experienced attorney on your side. Attorneys have the ability to communicate with the prosecution prior to meeting in court and are able to discuss plea deals and aspects of the case that may lead to your charges being dropped before you ever go to court. They also know the ins and outs of the court system, and know "loopholes" that the average citizen doesn't know, such as being able to notice if police officers have made mistakes in the police reports relating to your case, etc.
If you choose to represent yourself rather than hire an attorney, you set yourself up for missing many opportunities to be found innocent or to be given a lesser sentence. For many people, this can mean the difference between spending years in jail on felony charges versus getting to go home at the end of your trial. While some people may choose to risk it, you should never gamble with years of your life. If you are facing serious charges, leaving your future to chance may erase your future entirely.
Should You Just use a Public Defender?
While asking the court for a public defender might seem kinder to your wallet, the saying "You get what you pay for" rings very true. Public defenders are by no means inexperienced or "bad" attorneys, but they are more often than not overworked, underpaid, and overwhelmed. Many public defenders have dozens of cases on their docket at all times, meaning that their attention is split into many, many different ways at all times. Often public defenders in smaller court systems will attend court sessions back to back, multiple days a week, representing up to 10 different clients a day.
Regardless of how good or smart an attorney is, attorneys make mistakes every single day, just like the rest of us. If your attorney is juggling 40 other cases, they're a lot more likely to do accidental harm to your case than if they're working at a private firm and only have 5 cases to worry about. And while you can file for ineffective counsel and ask for a new public defender from the court, there is no guarantee that your request will be honored, or that your new public defender will be any less busy.
If you're facing more than a few days in jail, or a couple hundred in fines, a public defender is not the right way to go. The average cost of hiring private defense counsel is around $8000. With prices as low as $1000, and as high as $15,000, there is no way to know your actual expected cost until you receive a quote from an attorney. You can also use criminal defense attorney listings in your area, or in South Carolina as a whole, to be able to narrow down your choices within your price range.
Get a Free Consultation With a Mauldin Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you've been arrested for criminal offenses in Mauldin, South Carolina, the law firm of Touma & Fedalei is here for you. Our criminal defense firm is a dedicated advocate for those fighting against criminal charges, and providing our courtroom and trial experience to all of our clients to ensure their case ends with the best outcome possible. If you're ready to call a criminal defense attorney today, we're ready to help you overcome your criminal defense issues. Call us today for a free consultation.