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Felonies vs. misdemeanors in South Carolina

When an individual is charged with a crime, the offense may be labeled as a misdemeanor or a felony. A misdemeanor is generally considered a less serious offense than a felony, and the penalty for a conviction on such a charge is up to a year in jail. Those who are convicted of a misdemeanor will sometimes serve their sentences in a city or county jail as opposed to a high security prison.

In many cases, a prosecutor will have significant leeway to determine the penalty associated with a misdemeanor, and plea bargains are a distinct possibility. If an individual is charged with a felony, he or she could be facing a penalty of more than a year in jail, and the sentence will be served in prison as opposed to a county jail. Procedures in a felony trial are enforced strictly to ensure that a defendant's rights are preserved.

Those who are charged with a felony are alleged to have committed an offense deemed serious by society. For instance, someone who commits arson, murder or rape will usually face a felony charge. In addition to prison time, alternate penalties may be meted out to increase the odds that the punishment a defendant receives is appropriate for the crime committed.

Those who are charged with any type of crime may want to have the assistance of a criminal defense attorney as soo as possible. An attorney may be able to create defenses to the charge that may result in a reduction of the charge to nothing more than a petty misdemeanor or in the case being dropped entirely.

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