In South Carolina, depending on the type of crime you have committed, the penalties you face will vary in severity depending on several factors. When convicted of a criminal offense that is classified as a felony, there can be a substantial amount of uncertainty about how the court will determine an appropriate criminal sentence. As a felony offender, you can expect that your penalties will be harsher. However, several aggravating factors ( the circumstances surrounding the crime) could lead to additional or more severe penalties. If you are facing a felony conviction, contact a trusted Chesterfield Criminal Defense Lawyer who can fight on your behalf to prevent harsh penalties.
What factors could affect the severity of a felony conviction in South Carolina?
After being convicted or pleading guilty to a crime, you will have a hearing where the court determines an appropriate sentence for your crimes. You will not know the consequences you face until after the hearing. When a person has been convicted of a particular crime, they often expect serious penalties such as fines, probation, and even jail time. However, if the aggravating factors of a crime warrant harsher penalties, the court can impose stricter sentencing. The particular circumstances of the crime you committed could result in the court granting maximum sentencing for your felony offense. The following are common aggravating factors that could cause the courts to impose stricter sentencing:
- If you have a criminal record.
- If your crime causes serious harm to another.
- If the crime you committed was a hate crime motivated by discriminatory behavior.
- If you use a weapon such as a firearm.
- If the victim of your crime was disabled, elderly, or a police officer.
- If the crime you committed occurred in a protected location such as a church or school.
- If you committed the crime because you are associated with a gang.
- The role you played in committing the crime if more than one party was involved.
- The degree of danger your crime poses to the public.
All of the above can cause the court to impose stricter sentencing. If you are convicted of a felony offense, all aspects of your life will be negatively affected. A felony conviction stays on your criminal record permanently. Felony convictions cannot be expunged. A felony conviction will affect your ability to get a good job. In addition, it will cause your auto insurance premiums to increase significantly. Ultimately, if you have been charged with a felony, it is imperative to understand how aggravating factors could increase the severity of your consequences.
In the unfortunate event that you are facing a felony conviction, please don’t hesitate to reach out to one of our determined and trusted team members. Unfortunately, numerous aggravating factors could cause the courts to impose a harsher criminal sentence. Allow our firm to fight on your behalf to help you avoid a conviction and additional penalties.