Criminal Defense Lawyer Mount Pleasant, SC
When a person is charged with assault, it is not uncommon for a battery charge to also be attached. Under South Carolina law, assault is a non-physical act of threatening someone so that they fear for their safety. Battery is the actual act of violence the perpetrator uses against the victim. A person can be charged with assault if they threaten a victim, whether blatantly or an implied threat, even if the physical harm never actually took place. If you have been charged with assault or battery, a criminal defense lawyer in Mount Pleasant, SC can help defend you against these charges.
Table Of Contents
- Assault Must-Have Intent
- Common Mistakes To Avoid After Getting Arrested
- Mount Pleasant Criminal Defense Law Infographic
- Tips For Choosing The Right Criminal Defense Lawyer
Assault Must-Have Intent
In order to prove an assault, the prosecutor must prove that the accused intentionally behaved in such a way that the victim had a reasonable belief that they were at immediate risk of harm. There must be evidence of this intent, such as physical gestures and/or language. A criminal defense lawyer can dispute that evidence by showing:
- The accused’s behavior was misinterpreted by the victim.
- The accused’s behavior was unintentional.
- The victim’s belief that the accused acted in a threatening way was unreasonable. For example, some people have irrational fear toward people based on their appearance.
If an accused person actually committed the assault, a Mount Pleasant criminal defense lawyer can still build a defense against those charges. For example, if the accused was acting in self-defense, that could be enough to get the assault charges dropped because stopping an imminent battery is an affirmative defense. The lawyer would have to prove that:
- The alleged victim was an immediate threat of violence to the accused or to another person.
- The actions by the accused went only far enough as was necessary to stop that imminent danger. If the accused continued to assault the alleged victim once there was no longer danger, then the self-defense defense would likely be ignored by the court.
Although both types of charges are serious ones, it can be easier to defend against an assault charge than to defend against a battery charge, depending on the circumstances. This is because there is no physical harm involved. The police or prosecutor must prove that the accused had the intent to harm the victim.
Common Mistakes to Avoid After Getting Arrested
When you get arrested, you may have hundreds of thoughts running through your head. You might wonder if you will have to spend time in jail or if the arrest will affect your future employment. However, it is important to stay calm so that you do not make mistakes that could hurt your case.
Here are a few common mistakes a criminal defense lawyer Mount Pleasant, SC residents trusts wants you to avoid.
- Talking to the police. After you are charged with a crime, the police may ask to speak to you about your case. They may even tell you that they want to help you. However, keep in mind that the police just want to question you to obtain information to use against you. To avoid damaging your case, politely tell the police that you can’t speak to them any further until your lawyer is present.
- Not taking your charges seriously enough. Even if you are completely innocent of the crime you are charged with, it is still important to take your charges seriously. If you miss your court dates or fail to follow your lawyer’s advice, you can make things worse for yourself.
- Discussing your case with family and friends. When you are dealing with criminal charges, you understandably feel stressed and may want to confide in your family members and friends. However, this can backfire. If the prosecution decides to subpoena these people, they will be legally obligated to tell the court everything you told them. It is best to just confide in your lawyer.
- Neglecting to hire a lawyer. No matter what type of crime you have been charged with, it is important to have a Mount Pleasant criminal defense lawyer on your side. He or she can build you a strong defense and improve your chance of achieving a favorable outcome. A lawyer can guide you through the entire process and give you a peace of mind. Ideally, you will want to retain a lawyer as soon as possible after you get arrested.
- Leaving the state. When you are facing criminal charges, it may not be best to travel out of state. The court may assume you are trying to flee your charges and send out a warrant for your arrest. If you have to leave the state for any reason, talk to your lawyer about it first.
- Using social media. If you have pending criminal charges, you should post as little as possible on social media. You definitely should not post any information about your case. The prosecution may be looking at your social media pages to find information to use against you.
- Getting into more legal trouble. This may sound obvious, but you should avoid getting additional criminal charges. It can worsen your current case and make the judge less sympathetic towards you. Try to keep a low profile and stay away from people who may be a bad influence.
Do Not Try to Defend Against These Charges on Your Own
Assault and battery are considered violent crimes and a conviction can not only result in serious penalties, but it can also have a long-term, significant impact on your personal and professional life.
If you have been charged with assault, battery, or any other type of violent crime in South Carolina, you need an aggressive Mount Pleasant, SC criminal defense lawyer representing you. Call Joe Good, Attorney at Law to schedule a free and confidential consultation and find out how we can help.
Mount Pleasant Criminal Defense Law Infographic
Tips for Choosing the Right Criminal Defense Lawyer
Our Mount Pleasant, SC criminal defense lawyer will share that when a person has pending criminal charges, there can be a lot weighing on the outcome. It’s important to have an experienced lawyer to assist their clients throughout the process to mitigate the consequences or have the charges dropped altogether. The legal system is intricate and can be challenging to navigate, especially for someone untrained in criminal law. While someone can represent themselves against the charges brought against them, it’s not recommended because it’s possible to end up worse off, with a conviction and even potential jail time. Common charges that may call on assistance from a lawyer like Joe Good, Attorney at Law, include:
- Drug Charges
- Disorderly Conduct
- Domestic Violence
Depending upon the outcome, the worst-case scenario for a person charged with a crime is that they will be convicted and, as a result, must face the consequences, which can include probation, jail time, fines, penalties, and more. In addition, to the consequences handed down by the courts, there are social consequences as well. Criminal convictions can impact relationships, employment, housing, etc. Because of this, it’s imperative to find a lawyer with experience. The following are tips to keep in mind when choosing the right lawyer to represent you in your case:
Tip #1: Conduct a Thorough Internet Search
In most cases, many lawyers are available in the area to choose from. To find the right Mount Pleasant criminal defense lawyer with the necessary experience to provide savvy representation, the best place to start is by conducting a thorough Internet search. The local bar association is also a helpful factor in initiating the search and is often a great way to begin the process. Review the websites of prospective lawyers to get a feel for the areas of law they practice and their philosophies surrounding the law.
Tip #2: Meet with Prospective Lawyers in Person
One of the most critical steps to take when looking for a lawyer is to schedule a time to meet with them in person. This step is key to ensuring that you have made the right choice from the onset of the case. The last thing anyone wants to experience is to find down the road that they have chosen the wrong lawyer to represent them when there is so much riding on the line. At these initial meetings, time will be limited, and preparing any questions or relevant information is vital before meeting with prospective lawyers. During this time, you can gain insight into your case and how the professional you are meeting with may strategize your particular legal entanglement.
Tip #3: Have an Understanding of the Fee Structure
During meetings with prospective lawyers, you must clearly understand the potential fees you may face throughout the process. In some situations, it may even be possible to negotiate fees; however, by doing so, you should be prepared to take on some of the legal tasks on your own. Legal fees can vary. Some lawyers may charge by the hour or have a flat fee. However, it’s essential to be aware that others may also require a retainer fee when securing their services.
To learn more about how our Mount Pleasant criminal defense lawyer Joe Good, Attorney at Law, can assist with your case, schedule a consultation before it’s too late.
When can an officer make an arrest?
As your Mount Pleasant, SC criminal defense lawyer from Joe Good, Attorney at Law may explain, police officers cannot just arrest somebody because they appear suspicious, or because the police officer has a feeling that they did something wrong. An officer is only permitted to arrest someone if they see someone committing a crime, have an arrest warrant that is issued by a judge, or they have probable cause to suspect that someone committed or is about to engage in a crime. Essentially, an officer has to have probable cause before they can carry out an arrest.
Why did my officer use excessive force?
The use of excessive force can arise during an arrest. Based on amendments in the constitution, law enforcement must only use the most minimum force required to carry out an arrest. They cannot use excessive force. When reviewing if the level of force was unreasonable, the court will consider factors such as severity of the crime, whether the suspect was an immediate threat, and whether the suspect was trying to escape the arrest. If excessive force was used during the arrest, the suspect may have reason for a civil case against the officer in violation of their constitutional rights.
Do I need a lawyer to defend me?
If you have been arrested by police, then you need help from a criminal defense lawyer right away. You may wonder if it’s better to just represent yourself or not, but the reality is that most people don’t understand law and the judicial system, which is why they need to rely on a Mount Pleasant criminal defense lawyer for help. You have the right to obtain legal representation so that your lawyer can make sure you are provided a fair process and have a defense strategy moving forward. Your lawyer can assess if your arrest had probable cause or not, and what defense approach will be most suitable to the situation.
I was arrested, what do I do now?
If you were arrested by police, then you need to immediately talk with a defense lawyer. You have the right to speak with a lawyer and do not have to answer questions by police until then. You may have to provide your name and other basic information during your booking process, but aside from that, you do not have to answer questions from law enforcement. Keep in mind that police may try to make it seem like they are on your side or are your friends, but they are not. Do not answer any questions about the supposed crime until you have your lawyer present.
What if my office never read me my Miranda rights?
By law, police have to read you your Miranda rights during your arrest. This most often occurs as you are being placed into handcuffs. It is wise to take advantage of your right to stay silent and not try to defend yourself. If an officer has already initiated an arrest, the chances of talking your way out of it are slim to none. If anything, it will only make the situation worse. Remember that you are innocent until proven guilty, and the less you say, the less can be used against you later. If your arresting officer did not read you your Miranda rights, inform a Mount Pleasant criminal defense lawyer at Joe Good, Attorney at Law as soon as possible so we can investigate further.