Peacock Law Group wins tough cases
At Peacock Law Group , you benefit from one-on-one interaction with Mr. Peacock who is an experienced and accomplished criminal defense attorney. While no lawyer can predict the outcome of a case with certainty, it is reassuring to work with a defense attorney who has obtained outstanding results for many previous clients. Mr. Peacock has obtained dismissals, pre-trial interventions resulting in dismissals, plea deals, and has a record of proven results. Although no attorney can ethically guarantee you results, if your case cannot be dismissed or resolved prior to trial favorably, we will not hesitate to go to trial and fight for you.
If you have been arrested, charged with a crime, or are under investigation, contact criminal defense lawyer Richard Peacock to arrange a free consultation about your legal options. We are determined to aggressively provide every client with the best defense that we can, and our goal is always to achieve the best possible outcome in your case, whether that means a dismissal of your charges, a fair plea agreement through negotiations, or a favorable verdict at trial.
Mr. Peacock is ready to provide you with valuable advice and representation regarding South Carolina criminal charges such as:
- Drug Crimes:
- Driving with an Open Container in the Vehicle
- Possession of Illegal Substances
- Possession of Illegal Substances with Intent to Distribute and/or Traffic
- Property Crimes
- Violent Crimes
- Domestic Violence
- Assault & Battery
- Substance-Related Criminal Charges
- Underage Drinking and Driving; Underage Drinking
- Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol and/or Drugs
- Public Intoxication
- Drunk Boating
To be arrested, the officer needs to have probable cause to make the arrest. This means that the officer saw the alleged crime or the officer has a warrant for your arrest. Upon being arrested, the officer will read you your Miranda Rights and then take you to the jail to be booked. You will have a mug shot taken and be fingerprinted. Next you will go to a holding cell to await your bond hearing.
The Bond Hearing
Once a suspect has been moved to Bond Court, he or she now must face an appearance before a Magistrate judge. The judge determines if you should be released from jail while your criminal charges are pending. The judge will usually get a glimpse of the evidence against you and arguments from both your criminal defense lawyer and prosecutors about whether you should be released from jail, and if so, how high your bond should be set.
You have the right to an attorney during a bond hearing. A good lawyer can work to persuade a judge to either lower your bond or release you without having to pay any bond (on your own recognizance), something that can save you a lot of money in the end.
What is Bond?
The monies paid to be released from jail is called a bond and it can either be paid directly to the court, in which case it is refunded once the defendant has fulfilled the obligations of his or her bond, or by a bail bondsman. If the money is put up by a bail bondsman, the company will typically charge between 10 and 15 percent of the face value of the bond as a fee. The bail bondsman will keep this money, even if you go to court as required. If you fail to attend your hearings as scheduled, the bail bondsman will most likely move to revoke the bond.
What is a Preliminary Hearing?
Defendants in South Carolina have the right to a preliminary hearing. These hearings are available to defendants charged with serious offenses triable only in General Sessions Court. The defendant has the right to request a preliminary hearing within 10 days of the bond hearing. A preliminary hearing can be very useful, as it requires the prosecution to prove before a judge that there was probable cause to justify your arrest and subsequent criminal charges. This provides defendants the first opportunity to truly contest their case in an adversarial setting. At the end of the hearing, the judge will decide whether the charges should be allowed to continue (bound over for trial), should be modified, or whether the case should simply be dismissed (continue to negotiations).
What happens after my bond hearing?
For General Sessions level criminal offenses, you will have a first appearance (“Roll Call”). This may occur before or after your preliminary hearing. The first court date, known as “roll call”, is usually set within 45 days of arrest. Courts usually hold these on Fridays. The Solicitor or Assistant Solicitor asks the defendant or his lawyer basic questions. The purpose of the first appearance is to make sure the defendant will appear at trial and that he has access to a lawyer. If the defendant fails to appear, the judge will issue a bench warrant for the defendant’s arrest. The second court date is usually set within 120 days of arrest. Courts usually hold these on Fridays. The defendant tells the judge whether he wants to plead guilty or request a jury trial. The judge places the case on either a plea or a trial schedule. If the defendant fails to appear, the judge will issue a bench warrant for the defendant’s arrest.
The vast majority of criminal court cases end in a plea bargain, not a trial as the media would have you believe. Negotiation is actually a critical component of any criminal case and it pays to have a South Carolina criminal defense lawyer with experience handling such plea-bargaining.
Plea-bargaining is a process whereby prosecutors and the criminal defense lawyer agree to a conviction and a sentence of a lesser offense than the original charge rather than face the uncertainty of a trial. Both sides get something out of the deal; defendants usually negotiate down to dismissal, pre-trial intervention, or lesser charges while prosecutors secure guaranteed convictions. This takes the risk out of the system and can be a good thing for many criminal defendants.
Before actually reaching the trial phase, there are several important matters that must be attended to first. Defendants attend initial hearings with prosecutors, pre-trial conferences, and must engage in extensive investigation and discovery exchanges. Once all these preliminary matters are attended to, the case eventually gets set for trial, usually many months after the defendant’s initial arrest.
Defendants facing trial can choose to undergo a jury trial or what’s known as a bench trial. In a bench trial, the judge will hear and decide the case. Though this might be advantageous in some circumstances, many people choose to have a jury trial, preferring a group of their peers to decide the matter. In South Carolina General Sessions Court, there are 12 jurors, while magistrate and municipal court cases involve 6 jurors.
During the trial, each side puts forward its arguments regarding the guilt or innocence of the defendant. In every case, the prosecution goes first and the defense follows last. When the arguments, witnesses, and closing statements are all over, the case will be handed over to the jury to render a verdict. If the jury decides to acquit the defendant, then the matter is done and you will be released from custody. If the jury decides that the defendant is guilty, even though it may seem like the end, the reality is that the criminal defense lawyer can appeal the case. The appeals process exists to grant defendants additional opportunities to fight for their innocence.
Though the jury decides your guilt or innocence, a separate sentencing phase is conducted by judges to determine the length of your punishment. The sentence imposed is at the discretion of the judge and usually falls somewhere between the ranges outlined under South Carolina criminal law.
Anyone who loses his or her case at the trial level has the right to appeal. Your criminal defense lawyer should be the type of attorney that can move quickly at this stage to ensure you preserve all possible avenues for appealing your conviction. The appeal marks an entirely separate phase of the criminal process and can take months or even years to conclude. During this phase, it is likely you will remain in jail.
If you’ve been arrested in South Carolina it’s crucial that you hire an experienced criminal defense attorney who can help you navigate such complicated legal matters. Experience matters when handling serious criminal issues and you don’t want to take any chances when your freedom is at stake. Richard Peacock understands how scary the criminal justice system can be and is here to guide you through the process. If you or someone you know has been arrested and is in need of a South Carolina criminal defense lawyer, feel free to contact Richard Peacock today at 843-706-7200.