When facing criminal charges in South Carolina, you may or may not be familiar with the term "plea bargaining". A plea bargain or plea deal can be defined as an agreement between a defense attorney and prosecutor which allows the defendant to plead guilty to a lesser charge in exchange for dropping other charges or a more lenient sentence. For example, you could be charged with a felony and receive an offer to plead to a misdemeanor.
Before we discuss the pros and cons of plea bargains, it is important to understand the difference between felony and misdemeanor charges in South Carolina. Ultimately, in order to fully comprehend the gravity of a plea deal for your case, it is imperative to contact experienced criminal defense attorneys to guide you through the process and effectively evaluate your case.
Misdemeanors And Felonies in South Carolina
In South Carolina, felonies are usually more serious than misdemeanors and have hefty potential prison sentences, fines and other penalties. The most severe felonies have sentences of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. It is a common misconception that misdemeanor are not significant charges and thus do not carry any potential prison time. However, in South Carolina, depending on the misdemeanor, you could be facing with up to three years in prison and a fine of $3,000 - $5,000. As such, it is simply not worth the risk to defend yourself without a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney.
Whether you are facing a misdemeanor or felony is fact specific. For example, you could be involved in a bar fight and punch someone one time. If, as a result, that person dies, you could be charged with murder and could face life in prison. On the other hand, if that person gets a slight bruise, then you could be charged with the misdemeanor of assault and battery in the third degree. Most of the time, the facts are somewhere in between the examples above. That is why it is crucial to have an experienced criminal defense attorney to evaluate the facts of your case and know how to get you the right result.
Often, a plea offer is made by the prosecution in order to resolve your case without a trial. This gives both sides a guaranteed result. While a prosecutor may be eager to move your case, it is important to have a criminal defense attorney with the experience to be able to explain to you whether you should accept or reject a plea offer. At Young & Young, Attorneys at Law, we have the background to review the details of your case and help you achieve the best possible outcome.