Being stopped by law enforcement can be a frightening experience, especially given the recent media coverage of incidents of police brutality. There are many reasons why an officer might stop you: they may wish to question you, they may suspect you have committed or witnessed a crime, they may suspect you are possession of illegal substances. In any situation, it is important to remain calm and respectful.
If You Are Stopped For Questioning
As outlined by the ACLU, you are not legally obligated to answer any questions. Even if you witness a crime, you are generally not obligated to report it. The notable exception in South Carolina is if you were to witness a crime against a child while acting in a professional capacity. In most cases it is best to be cooperative with police, but always keep your own best interest in mind. If the police believe you have committed a crime, you can be arrested and taken to jail. Even if the charges are eventually dropped, it can be a damaging experience.
- Ask if you are free to leave;
- Calmly walk away; and
- Be polite and respectful.
- Attempt to flee;
- Confront the officer; or
- Provide false information.
If you are stopped and questioned, you have the right to remain silent. If you are stopped, law enforcement may ask to search you. You have the right to refuse to be searched. Simply state “I do not consent to a search.” The officer may proceed with the search if they have reasonable cause they will find evidence of a crime. If the officer believes he finds evidence of a crime, you may be arrested according the South Carolina Code of Laws SECTION 17-13-30:
The sheriffs and deputy sheriffs of this state may arrest without warrant any and all persons who, within their view, violate any of the criminal laws of this state if such arrest be made at the time of such violation of law or immediately thereafter.
Contact An Attorney If You Are Arrested
You have a right to know why you are being arrested. You have the right to ask what you are being charged with and the officer is required to answer. Do not resist arrest, doing so will only make the situation worse and you may face additional criminal penalties. It may be difficult, but try to record as many details of the arrest as possible. You can ask for the officer’s badge and patrol car number. If you feel your rights were violated, you can file a complaint. If you are arrested, you have the right to an attorney and should contact one as soon as possible. While you are speaking with your attorney, you have the right to confidentiality. Police officers are not allowed to listen in on your call if you so request.
You will need knowledgeable and competent legal guidance to help with your arrest and any charges you may face. Aaron De Bruin is a Greenville defense attorney dedicated to helping clients who are facing difficult legal challenges. Call us today, or schedule a consultation with our attorneys now if you are facing criminal charges or have been arrested.
What will a criminal defense attorney do for my case?
Once I have evaluated your case I will provide you an overview of your case. This will describe among other things the criminal law process, how we will work together to navigate the criminal justice system, and what expectation I have for you as a client and what expectations you should have for me as your defense attorney.
What should my attorney do to prepare my case for trial?
I collect not only the evidence that the government is required to supply, but also gather my own evidence for your defense as well. I will talk to witnesses, look for other video from third party sources, and go to the scene of the alleged offense. I believe your case is far to important not to go the extra mile to insure we know all the facts for your case, to provide you the best possible defense.
What do I need to do to help my attorney defend me?
No one cares more about your case than you. While we prepare your case, we also prepare your for trial. The one thing we need most from you is total honesty. Remember, everything you and I talk about is confidential. I am on your side.
For Drug offense cases, we may require you to look into a rehabilitation facility. I have had client’s charged with drug crimes who unfortunately we suffering from serious addiction and needed help, not jail. When I was able to convince those clients to make the difficult decision and enter a rehabilitation facility it helped create a positive situation that made negotiating their case more favorable. Many criminal cases last over a year. If I can help get a client suffering from an addition on the path to recovery while defending them from their criminal drug charges, their future becomes much more optimistic, and often, so does their case. Changing your life prior to trial or before a plea will greatly decrease your changes of going to jail. We are here to help not only with your legal needs, but also to help you in life. We have seen success stories and want you to be one too.
How much does a criminal defense attorney cost?
Your attorney’s fees will be based on multiple things including but not limited to, the severity of the crime, the evidence against you, prior convictions, and the amount of jail time your are facing if convicted. For criminal defense services I charge my client’s a flat fee on almost all cases at the start of their case. Therefore, you know how much your case will cost on day one.
I also am aware that many people are unable to afford to pay thousands of dollars upfront. In order to better serve my clients I offer a payment plan option. If you’d like to see if you qualify for our criminal defense payment plan option please contact us by using our form, or call us directly at (864) 372-2896.
Who will handle my case?
How do you know the attorney you hire is the attorney who will represent you during the entire process? I personally guarantee that I will handle every part of your criminal case, you will not be passed of t a junior attorney.