Finding a Criminal Defense Lawyer in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina: Look No Further

If you are facing federal criminal charges in the Myrtle Beach area, you need a defense attorney who will fight for you. Whether law enforcement is investigating you for a crime or they have already arrested you, don't face the situation alone. Defendants in federal cases may find it difficult to search for an attorney - especially who practices in federal court - so we encourage family members to assist with this process.

Roberts Law Group, PLLC, has trusted criminal defense attorneys in the Myrtle Beach area who are ready to take your case. Collectively, our attorneys have decades of criminal law experience, and we are not afraid to take criminal cases to court to protect our clients' legal rights. Call us today at 877-880-5753 and ask for our Myrtle Beach attorney.

Experienced Federal Crimes Defense In Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

In South Carolina, illegal activity that falls under a federal crime definition will be prosecuted in federal court. These laws generally cover more complex criminal activity than state crimes. They also cover criminal activity that crosses state lines. For example, state and local law enforcement handle local domestic violence charges, but crossing state lines to violate a protection order or forcing a victim across state lines violates federal criminal laws. At this point, the defendant could face federal charges in addition to state charges.

Federal statutes cover many different types of crimes, including:

  • White collar crimes: This broad group of crimes usually centers around money and some type of fraud, such as embezzlement, identity theft or insider stock trading.
  • Drug crimes: Both federal law and South Carolina state law establish drug charges. The federal charges tend to focus on larger operations such as manufacturing and trafficking drugs across state lines.
  • Mail and wire fraud: Any violation involving the United States mail is a federal crime, such as tampering with the mail, attempting to defraud someone through the mail or corresponding about illegal activity through the mail. Wire fraud involves any electronic means of transmission, which is extremely broad.
  • Internet sex crimes: At the federal level, these crimes typically involve child pornography.
  • Kidnapping or human trafficking: Any time someone transfers another person over state lines for a criminal purpose, they violate federal law.

Penalties for federal crimes tend to be harsh. Whereas the penalty for a state crime may be as minor as paying a fine or losing your driver's license, many federal crimes have mandatory minimum jail sentences, especially for drug crimes. That is why you must find a law firm with experience handling federal cases.

At Roberts Law Group, PLLC, we not only have that experience, but we value the attorney-client relationship and will fight for you every step of the way. No matter how serious the charges you face, we are ready to start your defense today.

Choosing The Right Defense Lawyer For Federal Crimes In Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Choosing the right criminal defense attorney for your federal criminal charges starts with experience. You need a law firm familiar with the federal court system, federal procedures and criminal defense strategies specific to federal criminal cases. The federal system is unique in many ways, and your attorney must understand federal evidentiary rules, grand jury indictments and the federal sentencing guidelines.

You also want to find a criminal defense lawyer with a strong belief in the attorney-client relationship. You deserve someone looking out for your best interests rather than an attorney who is only interested in collecting a fee and pushing you to accept a plea bargain. Your attorney should be fighting for your goals while providing sound legal counsel along the way to help you make informed decisions about your own defense.

Look for a law firm with a solid reputation for handling federal criminal cases within the community. You want an attorney who is respected in the legal community. Don't be afraid to ask how many federal cases they have taken to trial or whether they have ever handled the specific type of federal charge you're facing.

The law office of Roberts Law Group, PLLC, engages trusted and experienced criminal attorneys in South Carolina, including the Myrtle Beach area. We can build a solid defense for your federal case, no matter what type of charges you are facing.

How Is The Legal Process Different For Federal Crimes In South Carolina?

The legal process for federal criminal cases is different than the process for a state criminal case in South Carolina. Federal law includes a wide range of criminal charges carrying a variety of different penalties. Many federal charges are subject to mandatory minimum sentences under the federal sentencing guidelines. A federal law enforcement agency enforces these laws, such as the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation), DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) or the IRS (Internal Revenue Service), to name a few.

What To Expect When Arrested For A Federal Crime

You may already know that law enforcement is investigating you for a crime. Perhaps they have already interviewed you or brought you in for questioning. We highly recommend you have legal counsel during this phase of the process. You should never speak to anyone in law enforcement alone.

Once the investigators have gathered what they think is enough evidence to arrest you, the prosecutor must bring the evidence before a grand jury for an indictment for felony charges. That means the prosecutor presents the evidence to a panel of individuals who decide if there is enough evidence to charge a defendant with a crime. This jury does not decide your guilt or innocence, only whether you should face charges. This decision is called an indictment. If the jury does indict you, the judge will issue a warrant for your arrest.

Your First Court Appearance: Arraignment And Plea

In federal court, your first court appearance, called an arraignment, will happen within 24 hours of your arrest, and the court will ask you to enter your plea. You may plead:

  • Guilty
  • Not guilty
  • No contest

If you fail to enter a plea, the court will automatically enter a "not guilty" plea on your behalf. A "no contest" plea means that you do not admit guilt, but you also do not plan to fight the charges. By pleading no contest, you accept the punishment for the charges.

Many defendants eventually plead guilty in exchange for reduced charges and a lesser sentence. However, you should never speak with prosecutors on your own. A skilled defense attorney can help negotiate a strong deal on your behalf. Likewise, you should only plead guilty after a thorough discussion with your attorney.

If you plead not guilty, the judge will set the case for trial and determine whether bail is appropriate. An attorney can argue for lower bail and less restrictive bail conditions - both of which can make a big difference in your day-to-day life during the months before trial.

Facing Trial In Federal Court

You have the right to a speedy trial. The Federal Speedy Trials Act requires the court to hold your trial within 70 days. However, in many cases, you will want more than 70 days to prepare your defense. You and your defense lawyer will discuss whether to give up your right to a speedy trial so you have more time to gather evidence and prepare your defense strategy. If you're out on bail, it often makes sense to push the trial out so you have maximum time to prepare.

Once trial begins, both the prosecutor and your defense attorney will argue their cases before a jury, calling witnesses and introducing evidence. You may choose to testify, or not. The court may not require you to speak since you have the right to be free from self-incrimination under the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. You and your attorney will address that issue as part of your defense strategy.

The jury will review the evidence and decide if the prosecution has produced enough evidence to conclude you are guilty or to find you not guilty. If they find you not guilty, the government may not appeal the case and they cannot try you again for that crime.

Sentencing And Your Options After The Trial

If the jury finds you guilty of the charges against you, the judge will decide your sentence after a full investigation and hearing. Many federal charges have mandatory minimum sentences under the federal sentencing guidelines.

You may decide to appeal the jury's verdict. Your attorney can assist you with this decision. In South Carolina, you would first appeal your case to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and, from there, the U.S. Supreme Court.

What To Know About Private Versus Court-Appointed Attorneys In South Carolina Federal Offenses

Selecting your own private criminal defense attorney has many advantages. Even if you qualify for a court-appointed lawyer (public defender), you may want to consider hiring a private attorney, if at all possible. When you face charges for any number of federal crimes, your future is in jeopardy, and you want to hire the best attorney you can afford.

When you choose your own counsel - rather than having the court appoint a public defender on your behalf - you will have the opportunity to ask them about their experience handling federal charges and how often they take cases to trial. How much experience do they have with your type of case, specifically? Do you feel a personal connection to this person who will be your voice in negotiations and in the courtroom? Do you trust them to counsel you and fight for you as long as it takes to achieve the right outcome? These are the questions you can ask before hiring an attorney. Those who instead rely on a public defender never get the opportunity to select their attorney based on these questions.

How Are Court-Appointed Lawyers Assigned?

Under the U.S. Constitution, if you cannot afford to hire a private attorney to fight your criminal charges, the court will appoint an attorney for you, commonly known as a public defender. Most federal public defenders are employed full-time by the federal government.

Not everyone qualifies for a court-appointed lawyer, however. In federal court, you request a public defender by filling out a financial affidavit to determine if your income is low enough to qualify.

Public defenders at the federal level are all qualified, licensed attorneys who know federal law, but you do not get to choose your attorney. The court assigns one to you. Because you have no choice in the matter, you might end up with someone who doesn't have much experience or who clashes with your personality.

What Does It Cost To Hire A Federal Defense Attorney?

For many people, cost is a big concern when they look for a lawyer. Legal costs for a federal crimes defense will depend on the seriousness and complexity of the charges involved. For example, the cost for defending capital cases where the stakes are highest will require the most time and resources, but cost should be the last thing on your mind when your life is on the line. On the other hand, facing a federal drug possession charge is still serious, but far more routine and, therefore, the cost will reflect that difference.

Even with lesser federal offenses, you should weigh how much your rights and freedoms are worth to you.

Contact A Criminal Defense Attorney Today | FREE Consultation

To find out more about what Roberts Law Group, PLLC, can do for you and how our fee structure works, call us at 877-880-5753. We are happy to meet with you for a free initial consultation so you can learn more.

Talk to us today to find out how we can help you with your federal criminal case. Call 877-880-5753 (ask for our Myrtle Beach attorney) or send an email to schedule a free consultation.