Society and the public officials it appoints to represent its values take violent crimes quite seriously. To cause pain and suffering to another person, to end their life, puts the entire edifice of society at risk, and so these crimes are punished severely.
When you've been accused of a violent crime, the stakes could not be higher. You're almost certainly facing jail time, and in the case of particularly heinous crimes, perhaps the loss of your life. It goes without saying that your choice of criminal defense attorneys is exceptionally important.
Bill Nettles is not only an experienced criminal defense attorney, he has a great deal of familiarity with cases involving violent crime. He has handled multiple death penalty cases and understands just how serious these charges are.
If you've been accused of a violent crime in South Carolina, the right criminal defense attorney could prove invaluable. Please call the Law Office of Bill Nettles today at (803) 828-6126.
Examples of Violent Crimes
A "violent crime" is broadly defined as any illegal activity that involves the use of physical violence to injure or coerce another party. Sometimes the violence is a component of another crime (think using a weapon to steal someone's party), while sometimes the violence is the crime itself.
Bill Nettles has represented defendants accused of:
- Sexual assault
- Assault and battery
- Domestic violence
- Criminal possession of a weapon
Obviously, the list of potential violent crimes is much longer than this. But this does provide a valuable insight into the extent of Mr. Nettles' experience.
As is the case with most cases, the exact sentence you'll face in the event of a conviction for a violent crime will depend on many factors, including the circumstances of your case. The more aggravated and violent the crime, the more severe the sentence will be. This is particularly true when guns are involved – when a gun is used in the commission of a crime, the resulting jail time increases significantly.
South Carolina, like many states, has strict mandatory minimum sentences for violent crimes, leaving a judge little leeway in sentencing. The same is true for the federal system.
Again, the exact nature of that mandatory minimum depends on the severity of the crime in question. However, you can expect a lengthy prison sentence if convicted of a violent crime. These prison sentences are often decades-long. And when the crime is murder, the most severe sentence is the death penalty.
What to Do After Being Accused of a Violent Crime
The words you say and the actions you take in the immediate aftermath of your arrest will play a significant role in the way your case develops. There are no guarantees in the legal system, of course, but many, many defendants essentially lost their cases on account of their behavior after their arrest.
Some of these steps might annoy or even anger the police. But remember: you have rights, and exercising them is not wrong, and it will not make you "look guilty."
- Remain calm. Stressful conversations lead to panic, panic leads to bad decisions, and, when it comes to criminal charges, bad decisions lead to jail time. Take a deep breath, remember the importance of thinking clearly and don't act rashly. Don't resist arrest, don't shout, don't address anyone disrespectfully.
- Don't answer any questions. Innocent people tend to think they can reason the situation out with the police, but this can backfire. Police investigators have a narrative in their heads about a crime, and, like everyone else, they will try to fit what they hear into their pre-conceived narrative. You have the right to remain silent- exercise it. Politely tell the police that you won't answer any questions.
- Call your attorney. You don't know how to navigate the legal system. You don't know how to extricate yourself or even how to prepare your defense. Your attorney will. Ask for your attorney and refuse to answer any questions until he or she arrives. You can discuss the situation with your attorney, and he or she will help you navigate your conversations with the police and protect your legal rights.
You might get some pressure from the police. They might tell you that you need to answer their questions in order to "clear this whole thing up." They might say calling in an attorney "makes you look guilty." But remember the famous axiom- it's better to look guilty at home than it is to look innocent in jail.
How Bill Nettles Can Help
A criminal case is essentially about two things: evidence and narrative. The prosecutor will use evidence to construct a compelling narrative about your case. They will attempt to paint a picture, one that does not make you look good.
Bill Nettles has plenty of experience with these narratives. He spent 15 years as a defense attorney, and then five years as the US Attorney for the District of South Carolina, which meant he put together plenty of compelling cases against defendants. He knows how the system works.
Mr. Nettles will disrupt the narrative by using his experience and legal skills. He'll launch a thorough, comprehensive investigation of his own; he'll talk to witnesses, examine evidence and bring in expert testimony when it's required.
The burden of proof for a criminal trial is "evidence beyond a reasonable doubt." This means you don't have to present an alternative theory of the case. You don't have to prove that someone else committed the crime, and you don't even have to prove your innocence. All you have to do is introduce doubt into the minds of the jurors. It's not an easy task, but it can be done.
Mr. Nettles understands the stakes in a trial involving a violent crime, and his effort and passion will reflect the magnitude of what you are facing. He has a proven track record of skillfully representing clients facing serious legal consequences.
If you've been arrested and charged with a violent crime in South Carolina, you should recognize the significance of what you're facing. You need an attorney you can trust in this, the darkest hour of your life. Please call the Law Office of Bill Nettles today at (803) 828-6126.