Being charged with a crime in South Carolina is a very serious situation even when it is only at the misdemeanor level. Jail time can still be ordered in many cases, not to mention significant fines, and the conviction creates a criminal history that is often hard to expunge or live down as life goes on. It is always vital to fight any charge unless the state has a rock solid case, and even then technicalities can be revealed in the hearing process that will admonish the defendant. It is always important to fight criminal charges with experienced aggressive legal representation focused on protecting the rights of the defendant.
The right to remain silent
While this right is also associated with not being required to incriminate yourself, there can be problems when a police officer is conducting an investigation. Defendants start out as suspects in many instances, and officers are trained in gleaning information by sidestepping protocol. The U.S. Supreme Court has held that officers can lie to any suspect as they please, meaning it always best to avoid answering questions. False statements can even be used as the basis for a criminal charge as well. Staying silent and requesting to speak with an attorney is a basic principle.
Right to question accusers
While many defendants are charged based on officer observance and accusation, many charges also stem from testimony of individuals that the state uses in prosecution. The scenario that is described in arrest papers and in court is not always a true representation of what actually transpired. In addition, arresting officers can be questioned by a criminal law attorney regarding protocol violations who can also question other submitted case evidence and witnesses.
Right to a fair trial
Charges culminate in a trial in many cases. The problem is that they are not often conducted fairly, and many people think that the process is designed to benefit the prosecution in search of a conviction. Jurors are chosen through a process allowing some potential ones to be stricken, and all evidence presented must meet rules of admissibility.