When Do I Need a Criminal Defense Lawyer in SC?
Deciding if and when you need a SC criminal defense attorney is a tough call anytime you or someone you know is facing criminal charges.
The decision to hire a defense attorney should not be taken lightly or put off until a later time. Your future is at stake and the degree of fines, penalties and jail time could depend on how soon you seek counsel.
If you’re worried about damaging your career and family life due to the impact of a criminal charge and possible conviction you should consider consulting an attorney. In the meantime, here are some guidelines to help decide whether or not the time is right to hire a criminal defense lawyer in SC.
The Reality of Representing Yourself
When you’re faced with a criminal charge, you can choose to skip hiring an attorney and exercise your legal right to represent yourself—also known as “pro se,” meaning “for yourself” in Latin.
Defending yourself isn’t as easy at it may sound.
SC Law is a complex, which is why lawyers invest so much time and money in their education learning the basics of the law. While you may be able to brush up on the details of your case online or in a law book, building a strong defense takes more than what can be learned quickly in a book. Building a strong defense is a skill that comes with experience, which is why lawyers are said to “practice” law.
The right combination of education and experience is what makes a criminal defense lawyer in SC most qualified to defend you.
“When your future is on the line, the last thing you want to do is jeopardize your chances of a clean slate by trying to handle your case without professional legal counsel.”
– Kent Collins, SC Criminal Defense Attorney
Why a Public Defender Might Not be Your Best Bet
When facing criminal charges, handling your case by yourself and hiring an attorney are not your only two options.
If you’re unable to afford an attorney, you may be offered a public defender to fight your case.
Many people mistakenly believe that public defenders aren’t as capable as private attorneys because they defend you for free or at a discounted cost.
That is a myth.
Public defenders are often very capable attorneys. The downside of using one is that public defenders handle many cases at once, which means that the amount of time they can dedicate to each case is limited.
No, private defense attorneys aren’t free, and they usually don’t come at discounted prices. They do, however, have the luxury of taking on a limited number of cases, so they aren’t overwhelmed by a heavy workload.
Private defense attorneys can dedicate the time and resources needed to each client and case.
Situations in Which You Should Consider Hiring a Lawyer
Although you have the right to represent yourself in court, there are certain situations in which you should seriously consider getting an criminal defense attorney, such as if you’re:
- Party to a crime (i.e. planning, aiding)
- Directly involved in a crime
- Accused of being involved in a crime but you really weren’t
- Guilty of unintentionally causing harm to someone
- Charged with a misdemeanor or felony (i.e. robbery, shoplifting)
Convictions associated with the above situations have serious consequences.
Last but not least, researching and understanding the laws surround your case can be extremely time consuming and stressful. The time and resources required to effectively represent yourself are often underestimated.
Why Timing is Everything When Hiring a Lawyer
If you’re planning on hiring an SC criminal defense attorney, don’t wait. Speak with an attorney as soon as you find out you’re facing criminal charges. Time is of the essence.
By the time you explain the details of your case to your defense attorney, the prosecutor already has a head start on building a case against you. Most important, your defense attorney will need to evaluate the circumstances of your case as soon as possible in order to create the best defense to protect you against a conviction.
Don’t gamble with your future.
Hiring an experienced SC criminal defense attorney when facing criminal charges is the best thing you can do for yourself and your future. Remember, a conviction will show up on a background check and limit you from the simplest of opportunities, like renting a home, finding a good job or pursuing a degree.
Call Kent Collins at 803-808-0905 or use our online form to speak with an experienced professional about the details of your case.