Criminal Law

Frequently Asked Questions

What are your options if you were arrested?

First, you should exercise your right to remain silent. You should then request to speak to your attorney even though you are not yet certain that you want to hire one. Consultations are not expensive, and most lawyers will talk with you and look up the law that you are accused of violating. Attorneys should also be able to explain the possible outcomes, and can give options on how you should approach your legal situation. It is always best to possess as much information as possible before making any decision on any criminal matter.  What if you were charged with the wrong statute? What if there is a much lesser included charge that you can choose to plead and does not carry the same amount of punishment such as jail time? It is always advisable to get as much information as possible. Certain convictions could cause you to lose your job, lose your freedom, lose custody of your children, and have a criminal record that could potentially follow you for the rest of your life. You also have the option to consult more than one attorney. Listen to both attorneys, and chose the attorney who you believe is honest to you, and not just telling you what you want to hear. Every case should go through discovery.  The State of South Carolina must provided you with the evidence that they have against you. The State of South Carolina must also provide to you any evidence that suggests your innocence, too.

If you are charged with a misdemeanor, there will generally be 6 juror members. If you are charged with a felony, there will be 12 jury members generally. If you elect a trial by jury, normal everyday people will be the people who will decide your guilt or innocence. This seems scary to have total strangers decide a person’s fate. But it is sometimes best to not have judges or those too closely involved in the penal system decide your guilt or innocence. It is best to have ordinary people reviewing the evidences to determine the guilt of a person.

What are the alternatives to pleading Guilty or Not Guilty?

An accused individual has the option to plead no contest (nolo contendere). But this will have the same impact as pleading guilty as it basically admits the allegations made by the state. You will be punished just the same and you will still possess a criminal record. Always seek the advice of a competent criminal defense attorney.

Do the members of the jury panel learn about my prior convictions?

Depending on when you were convicted, plead guilty, or plead nolo contendere the jury sometimes can hear about the past convictions.

Do I have to testify?

No. One of the rights that you have as an American is the right not to incriminate yourself. Each situation is fact specific and will require the legal advice of competent counsel. To “take the stand” is always a gamble. Your attorney needs to know all the facts, review all the discovery, and prepare you for the questions that will be asked by the Solicitor.

Attorney Jessie Glenn and the Glenn Law Firm handles a variety of criminal matters. There are some cases however the Glenn Law Firm will not get involved in because of a conflict of interest or because of the nature of the charges. However, if Attorney Jessie Glenn is not willing to accept your file, he will help try find an attorney who will accept your case.  If wrongfully accused call Attorney Jessie Glenn now! Attorney Jessie Glenn and the Glenn Law Firm has been right here in the Charleston, South Carolina area since 2003. If you need a criminal defense attorney around the Charleston, South Carolina area call Jessie Glenn!

What is a Pardon?

A Pardon basically relieves all of the legal consequences of a crime and conviction. However, it does not remove the conviction from your criminal history nor does it relieve a person from registering as a sex offender if they were required to do so.  A person’s arrest record will reflect that they were granted a pardon for the crime. A Pardon restores all civil rights lost as a result of a criminal conviction.  This includes the right to vote, hold office, possess a fire arm, or be licensed in any occupation pursuant to South Carolina Code Ann. 24-21-990.

Now, there is not a right to know the reason why or why not you were or were not granted a Pardon.

Pursuant to 24-21-960 the application fee is $100.00.

Who is eligible for a Pardon?

South Carolina Code Ann. § 24-21-950 sets forth the guidelines for determining eligibility for pardon:

(A) The following guidelines must be utilized by the board when determining when an individual is eligible for pardon consideration.

(1) Probationers must be considered upon the request of the individual any time after discharge from supervision.

(2) Persons discharged from a sentence without benefit of parole must be considered upon the request of the individual any time after the date of discharge.

(3) Parolees must be considered for a pardon upon the request of the individual any time after the successful completion of five years under supervision. Parolees successfully completing the maximum parole period, if less than five years, must be considered for pardon upon the request of the individual any time after the date of discharge.

(4) An inmate must be considered for pardon before parole eligibility date only when he can produce evidence comprising the most extraordinary circumstances.

(5) The victim of a crime or a member of a convicted person’s family living within this State may petition for a pardon for a person who has completed supervision or has been discharged from a sentence.

(B) Persons discharged from a sentence without benefit of supervision must be considered upon the request of the individual any time after the date of discharge.

South Carolina Code Ann. §24-21-970 provides for the application by an applicant where they have a terminal illness where there life expectancy is one year or less.

Who makes the final decision?

The Review Board will review the application.  The Applicant must receive notice of the hearing. However, the Board may reach their decision even if the Applicant does not appear.

Pursuant to South Carolina Ann. §24-21-930 two thirds of the members of the board must agree to the Pardon.

Preliminary Hearings

Should I request a Preliminary Hearing?

Yes. Often a Defendant is unsure if they should request a preliminary hearing.  Most attorneys will request a preliminary hearing.  This is an opportunity for you to make the state prove that they have enough evidence to proceed. The State must prove that they have “probable cause” to believe that a crime was committed, and that the defendant committed it. It is also a time for your attorney to meet with and briefly examine the officer and gauge how credible they will be as a witness and to obtain viable and important information about the pending criminal charges.  It is also a good time to point out any weaknesses that the state might have in their case. Rarely, are cases won during a preliminary hearing, but it is an opportunity to get a recorded statement from someone who investigated the matter. Now, the testimony itself is generally not admissible at a later trial unless it is to impeach (show a prior inconsistent account) a witness a trial. The most useful aspect of the preliminary hearing is it protects the record for prior inconsistent statements. Ammunition to use later if the case goes to trial.

When must I request the Preliminary Hearing?

Most courts allow 10 days. By statute a Defendant has ten days to request a Preliminary Hearing in writing.  Keep in mind some courts, very few however, might allow a little more time.

How Can I Request a Preliminary Hearing?

Request the Preliminary Hearing in writing. Do it immediately. Don’t wait until day 10.  Have your attorney do it immediately.

What Happens If I Prevail at The Preliminary Hearing?

If you prevail at the Preliminary Hearing that means that the state has failed to prove that there was “probable cause” that you committed the criminal act and you should immediately be released from custody if you were in custody (unless there are other crimes that you are being detained on).

Who decides if there is Probable Cause at the Preliminary Hearing?

A judge.

To Learn more about Preliminary Hearings click on the link below:

Information About Preliminary Hearings

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