Murder/ Homicide Defense Lawyer in Conway, SC
A murder conviction in South Carolina will result in a mandatory minimum sentence of 30 years up to life in prison or even the death penalty in some cases.
Law enforcement is under incredible pressure and scrutiny from the media and community to solve these cases and to get convictions. If prosecutors do not get a conviction, the elected solicitor will face hard questions when it is time for re-election. The police and prosecution feel that the public must be protected, the victim’s family wants justice, and a dangerous criminal must be captured and put away.
This means that resources will immediately be devoted to a murder case to find, arrest, and build a case against a suspect. Investigators immediately begin to question eyewitnesses and collect forensic evidence from the crime scene. Often a representative of the solicitor’s office and a forensics team will be present at the incident site along with police and investigators.
Potential Defenses and Expert Witnesses
There are many potential defenses that are available to a person who has been charged with murder in South Carolina. Accident, self-defense, and defense of others are all absolute defenses to the crime of murder.
You have the right to defend yourself if you are attacked, and, in most cases, there is no duty to retreat under South Carolina law if you are acting lawfully at the time of the offense. Even in cases where there is no argument for justifiable homicide, the facts of the case may call for a reduced offense like voluntary or involuntary manslaughter.
The state will collect any forensic evidence that they find such as weapons, shell casings, footprints, fingerprints, and DNA evidence. When your case is called for trial, the state will call expert witnesses from the state’s crime lab to testify.
It is critical that you have a defense team on your side who will conduct an independent investigation of the facts and the evidence. Johnny Gardner Law has tried murder cases, knows how to get the defense evidence that will be needed in a murder prosecution, and knows which experts to call to reexamine the forensic evidence collected in your case.
Murder or Manslaughter?
To obtain a murder conviction, the prosecution must prove malice aforethought beyond a reasonable doubt.
Malice aforethought can be express or implied and may be proven by the defendant’s intent to kill, their intent to inflict grievous bodily harm, a reckless indifference to human life, or even just the intent to commit a felony. If the prosecution does not prove malice, the jurors can still find the defendant guilty of the lesser included offense of voluntary or involuntary manslaughter.
Voluntary manslaughter is an unlawful killing in the sudden heat of passion upon sufficient legal provocation, and it carries a sentence of no less than two but up to thirty years in prison.
Involuntary manslaughter is: 1) An unintentional killing while engaged in an unlawful activity which doesn’t naturally tend to cause death or great bodily harm; or 2) An unintentional killing while engaged in a lawful activity but with reckless disregard for the safety of others. Involuntary manslaughter currently carries a penalty of no more than five years in prison.
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Contact Johnny Gardner Law Now
If you have been charged with murder/ homicide or believe you are under investigation in a murder case, call Johnny Gardner Law now to find out how we can help.