Top-Rated Charleston Criminal Defense Attorneys

Drug Offenses

If you've made bad choices, then make a good one by calling us today.

Charleston Criminal Defense Attorney

Arrested for a drug-related crime? Don’t hire a criminal lawyer in Charleston who’ll charge you to plead guilty. Hire Futeral & Nelson instead.

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Traffic Violations

Our traffic lawyers have exactly what you need - the drive to win.

Charleston Traffic Attorney

You don’t realize how much your license means to you until you lose it. A criminal defense lawyer from our firm can help you stay on the road.

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Other Crimes

The right criminal defense lawyer can make the right difference.

Charleston Criminal Attorney

Sometimes all that stands between you and jail is the right criminal defense attorney. Meet with us for FREE to learn why we’re right for you.

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FREE CASE EVALUATION

843-284-5500

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 Futeral & Nelson, LLC

Charleston Criminal Attorney

Sometimes bad things just happen like when you or your spouse get pulled over for DUI. Other times, good people just make bad choices like when your teenager gets caught with marijuana at a party. No matter what the circumstances may be, you can meet with Charleston criminal lawyer Stephan Futeral or Charleston criminal attorney Thomas Nelson for FREE.

Charleston Criminal Lawyer

We’ve prepared this overview of what to do in the unfortunate event that you are arrested in South Carolina and to answer some of the common questions clients ask us:

Cooperate, but don’t incriminate yourself!  YOU MAY REFUSE TO ANSWER ANY QUESTION IF THE ANSWER WOULD TEND TO INCRIMINATE YOU.

Don’t argue with the police. You can’t talk your way out of being investigated, arrested or prosecuted. Don’t try. Pay attention to what happens when you first encounter the police and afterwards. Try to memorize who was there to see and hear what happened.

  • You have the right to be told why you are being arrested and the nature of the charges against you (the crime for which you are being arrested).
  • You have the right to be told your constitutional rights (commonly called Miranda rights) before you are questioned — not before you are arrested.

You also have the following rights:

  • The right to contact, by telephone or otherwise, a responsible person, to tell them you have been arrested and what the charges are. You are not limited to one telephone call if more are needed to contact such a person.
  • The right to have your attorney present at any line-up or other identification procedure in which you are viewed by possible eyewitnesses to a crime.
  • The right to reasonable bail or bond to secure your release from jail unless you are charged with a capital crime.
  • The right to be brought before a court as soon as is reasonably practicable after your arrest, so that you can request a preliminary hearing to challenge whether there was “probable cause” to arrest you.
  • The right to a jury trial to determine your guilt or innocence.

Many people incorrectly believe that law enforcement doesn’t read you your “Miranda” rights (such as the right to remain silent), the charges will be dismissed. In South Carolina and elsewhere, the police only have to give you a Miranda warning AFTER you are arrested but BEFORE you are questioned. If the police fail to give you your Miranda rights, then your statements can’t be used against you in court, but the charges won’t be dismissed.

Bond Court – After you are arrested, fingerprinted, and jailed, you’ll appear before a magistrate judge in bond court. In Charleston, this is done by video conference. You have a right to an attorney during your bond hearing. In setting a bond amount, the judge will decide whether you’re a risk of flight or a risk of harm to the community. Unless the court releases you on your own “personal recognizance,” you’ll have to post bail to get out of jail.

Bail is financial assurance that you will return to court after you’ve been released from custody. There are two ways to post bail. First, cash (or property) may be posted with the clerk of court. If you don’t have the cash, you can hire a bail bondsman to post bail. A bondsman charges a fee which isn’t refunded at the end of your case. If you post bail yourself and you are found not guilty or the charge is dismissed, then you’ll get your money back. If you are found guilty, then your money is returned to you after you are sentenced.

Preliminary Hearing – In South Carolina, you have the right to a preliminary hearing, and you have ten days after your bond hearing to request it. During the preliminary hearing, the prosecution must show a judge that there was “probable cause” to arrest you. To establish probable cause, your arresting officer must be able to point to the factual circumstances that led the officer to believe you committed a crime. If the judge doesn’t find probable cause, then your charge may be dismissed.

Discovery – To plan your defense, you need to know what information the prosecution intends to use against you. In South Carolina, you have the right to ask the prosecution to disclose this information through discovery made by way of formal, written motions. First and foremost, you are entitled to the disclosure of any evidence that tends to clear you of guilt (exculpatory evidence). Additionally, you are entitled to information such as witness statements, photographs and documents, results from experiments or tests, and other information.

Trial – In Charleston and surrounding areas, most cases take several months to a year to be set for trial. You can choose either a bench trial (a judge hears and decides your case) or a jury trial consisting of 12 jurors in felony cases in General Sessions Court or 6 jurors in misdemeanor cases magistrate’s court. During trial, the prosecution goes first and the defense follows last. Because you are “innocent until proven guilty,” the prosecution must prove that you’re guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. That means that you aren’t required to put up any evidence or testimony to show that you’re innocent.

When the lawyer’s arguments, the witnesses, and closing statements by the attorneys are done, the jury renders a verdict. If you’re acquitted, the case is over and you free to go. If the jury decides you’re guilty, then the judge must decide your punishment such as fines, probation, and/or time in jail.

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We strive to be the best at what we do. That’s why we’re top-rated (AV) by Martindale-Hubbell, Stephan Futeral is rated 10 (Superb) by AVVO, Thomas Nelson is one of Super Lawyers Rising Stars in 2013, and clients endorse us with 5 stars ★★★★★ on Google Reviews.

The right criminal defense lawyer in Charleston can make the right difference. Here’s a list of some of the charges Stephan and Thomas defend. If you need a criminal attorney in Charleston for any of the following, then contact us today for a FREE consultation:

AVVO, Thomas Nelson is one of

  • Arson
  • Assault & Battery, ABHAN & ABWIK
  • Breach of Trust
  • Bribery
  • CDVHAN
  • Child Neglect
  • Conspiracy
  • Criminal Domestic Violence (CDV)
  • Criminal Sexual Conduct (CSC)
  • Drug Charges
  • DUI/DUAC
  • Embezzlement
  • Felony DUI
  • Forgery
  • Hit & Run
  • Juvenile Crimes
  • Lynching
  • Minor in Possession of Alcohol
  • Robbery
  • Speeding & Traffic Violations
  • Shoplifting
  • Theft & Larceny
  • Unlawful Possession of a Firearm
  • White Collar Crimes
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Meet with a Criminal Attorney in Charleston for FREE!

Call Futeral & Nelson, LLC today. Discounts for military, law enforcement, and firefighters. 843-284-5500.
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