Need a criminal defense lawyer in Aiken, SC?
Criminal charges can be stressful and life-changing, whether you are dealing with a “minor” offense in the magistrate or municipal court or facing prison time in General Sessions Court.
If you miss critical deadlines, do not request your jury trial or preliminary hearing, miss a court date, or misjudge your odds at trial, you could unintentionally waive essential rights, be found guilty in your absence, or be found guilty at trial.
Kent Collins is a criminal defense attorney and former prosecutor serving Aiken, SC.
He represents people facing criminal charges in Aiken, SC, and the surrounding areas.
He knows the local courts, prosecutors, attorneys, police departments, and criminal procedures, including how to challenge the state’s evidence at every stage of your criminal case.
Our criminal defense law firm has the experience you need to handle your criminal charges, including:
- Magistrate court crimes
- Municipal court crimes
- General Sessions crimes
- Property crimes
- Assault and battery
- Drug offenses
- Driving under the influence (DUI)
- Sex crimes
- Domestic violence
- Other violent crimes
Don’t Plead Guilty in Aiken, SC
If you are charged with a misdemeanor offense in magistrate or municipal court in Aiken, SC, your criminal defense attorney can request a jury trial on your behalf. Until then, do not plead guilty.
If your criminal defense attorney is not in court with you at your initial court hearing, do not agree to pay a fine, do not agree to “time served,” and tell the court that you want to speak to your attorney before making any decisions.
Kent Collins knows the consequences of a criminal conviction and its impact on a person’s livelihood, employment, standing in the community, and freedom. And there are things that the judge, officer, and prosecutor may not tell you before trying to get you to plead guilty.
Depending on the facts of their case, a person who is convicted of a crime in South Carolina may be subject to:
- Mandatory jail time or prison,
- Job loss,
- Inability to find meaningful employment,
- License suspension or revocation,
- ADSAP, SR-22 insurance, and ignition interlock device (IID) requirements,
- Loss of occupational licenses,
- Loss of their right to own a firearm or get a CWP (concealed weapon permit) and
- A criminal record that may follow them for the rest of their life.
Your prosecutor is already working to convict you. They are gathering evidence from law enforcement agencies, interviewing witnesses and alleged victims, and preparing your case for trial.
The State of South Carolina has multiple law enforcement and investigative agencies helping them, including the local police department, SLED, and the solicitor’s office’s investigators and attorneys.
Shouldn’t you also have a criminal defense lawyer in Aiken, SC, with the training and experience required to get your case dismissed, negotiate a favorable outcome, or try your case to a jury?
The Criminal Process in Aiken, SC
If you have been charged with a misdemeanor offense in Aiken’s magistrate or municipal courts, you will be given an initial court date at your bond hearing.
You must either 1) attend that initial court date where the officer will attempt to get you to plead guilty (or give you a bench trial, with no jury, where the judge will likely find you guilty) or 2) request a jury trial before the initial court date.
Follow your attorney’s advice – there are cases where your attorney may prefer to appear at the initial court date before asking for a jury trial, but if no attorney is standing in court with you, do not plead guilty.
Once you have requested a jury trial, you will probably not have any other court dates until your case appears on the trial roster and a roster meeting is scheduled.
You do not need to file a written jury trial request if you are charged in General Sessions Court.
However, you should still contact your Aiken, SC, criminal defense lawyer immediately because there may be other deadlines that you must meet.
Your attorney needs to begin investigating your case as soon as possible.
CLIENTS HAVE SAID
“I found Kent’s knowledge and experience in matters of law to be the determining factor in solving my legal issue.”
“I had an absolutely wonderful experience with Kent. He handled my case quickly and professionally. I would reccomend him to anyone!!”
“Mr. Collins exceeded my expectations by far! I have needed his services more than once and I couldn’t be more thankful for how much he has helped me!”
Common Questions for Criminal Defense Attorneys in Aiken
Can you get my criminal charges dismissed in Aiken, SC?
At Kent Collins’ criminal defense law firm in Aiken, SC, we routinely get criminal charges dismissed for our clients.
However, we can’t tell you that we will get your charges dismissed. Every case is different, and whether we can get your charges dismissed ultimately depends on the circumstances like:
- The results of our independent defense investigation,
- Your prior criminal history,
- Who your prosecutor is,
- Whether the officer committed constitutional violations during your investigation or arrest,
- If you are charged with DUI, whether the arresting officer complied with SC’s mandatory videotape law, and if
- We spot The legal issues in your case, including grounds for dismissal or suppression of evidence.
Can I get a pre-trial diversion in Aiken, SC?
There are several pre-trial diversion programs available in Aiken, SC, including:
- Pretrial Intervention (PTI)
- Alcohol Education Program (AEP)
- Traffic Education Program (TEP)
- Conditional Discharges
- Drug Court
What should I do if I’m under investigation/the police want to talk to me?
Call an Aiken, SC, criminal defense lawyer immediately before you talk to law enforcement.
If police want to talk to you about a crime, there are three possibilities:
- They have probable cause to charge you, they are going to charge you whether you talk to them or not, and they are only looking for additional evidence (either a “confession” or inconsistent statements) to use against you,
- They don’t have probable cause to charge you; they are looking for a “confession” or inconsistencies that would give them probable cause, and you are only going to be charged if you talk to them or
- You are a witness – but you cannot trust the police to tell you the truth about whether you are a witness or a target, and you should be aware that one way that they get witnesses to say what they want them to say is by threatening them with prosecution and jail.
Can I get a criminal conviction expunged in SC?
You can get expungements in South Carolina (called “expunction” in some other states) only for certain minor offenses. These include:
- First-offense 30-day misdemeanors in magistrate or municipal court after three years,
- YOA offenses after five years,
- First-offense domestic violence third-degree after five years,
- Drug possession charges after three years, and
- Possession with intent to distribute convictions after 20 years.
Kent Collins is a former prosecutor with extensive experience in criminal law as both a prosecutor and a criminal defense lawyer.
Kent’s experience and qualifications include:
- Handling thousands of criminal cases of all types, from speeding tickets to murder charges,
- Years of experience defending people accused of crimes as an Aiken, SC, criminal defense lawyer in private practice,
- Experience as a prosecutor in Orangeburg and Lexington, SC,
- He is an active member of the South Carolina Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (SCACDL) and The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL).
- He regularly attends training sessions for criminal defense law and trial practice.
Accused of a Crime in Aiken, SC?
If you’ve been charged with a crime or think you may be under investigation, you should immediately speak with a criminal defense attorney in Aiken, SC
If you’re ready to speak with a criminal defense lawyer in Aiken, SC, please call 803.808.0905 for your free in-person consultation or complete our online contact form.