Saleeby and Cox cautions that you should contact an attorney immediately if you believe you, your family member or your business are the target of a local or federal criminal investigation. If you have been formally charged with a crime, or arrested, meeting with an attorney immediately could strengthen the defense of your case.
Your constitutional right to remain silent and request an attorney is the most important thing to remember if you have been arrested or are being questioned about a crime.
DNA evidence is now showing that innocent people are sent to prison more often than anyone in the Judicial system imagined.
While we will always be thoroughly prepared to take a case to trial when the law and facts of the case call for it, our involvement at the early stages of an investigation means that we can sometimes persuade prosecutors not to file charges or, if charges are brought, we may be able to negotiate a favorable outcome through a dismissal, a diversion program, or when the situation calls for it, a favorable plea and sentence.
Our ultimate goal is to minimize the anxiety and disruption caused by a State or Federal criminal investigation by giving you honest answers and a realistic assessment of your case. Additionally, your privacy is our priority.
Before Charges Are Filed
If you have been notified that you are the subject of an investigation, or have been summoned before a grand jury, our attorneys can investigate the potential charges against you and advise you on what to expect and how to conduct yourself during the investigation or before the grand jury.
Our attorneys can also negotiate on your behalf with State or Federal prosecutors. While this process can be intimidating and complex to the layperson, our attorneys will zealously advocate on your behalf.
There is a renewed push at the Federal and Local level to SEIZE YOUR ASSETS, even if you are not arrested. Law Enforcement must take certain steps to properly seize and retain your property. IF YOU HAVE HAD YOUR PROPERTY TAKEN BY LAW ENFORCEMENT, CERTAIN TIME LIMITS APPLY TO COURT PROCEEDINGS TO RECOVER THAT PROPERTY, CONTACT US IMMEDIATELY IF THIS HAS HAPPENED TO YOU.
At the state and local level, your charges may simply be described on your traffic ticket or in a letter from General Sessions Court. You may also have concerns with the South Carolina department of motor vehicles. Christopher Scott has resolved dozens of cases with DMV matters with a favorable outcome over the past seven years. Even if you have been forever barred from driving in South Carolina, there could be hope.
Regardless of the nature of the issue you are facing, a speedy resolution may be in your best interest. Do not let a small problem become a big problem.
In the federal system, many people are advised that criminal charges have been initiated by the receipt of a letter advising them to appear before a United States Magistrate on a certain date for arraignment on the charges. If our attorneys are involved in the case, we would have already arranged this appearance and attempted to come to an understanding with the United States Attorney on the issue of bond. Often, in these cases of self surrender, an unsecured bond is appropriate. On the other hand, if you are arrested by federal authorities without prior notice, you or your family should contact a lawyer immediately so we can start arranging for a bond hearing to secure your release. Federal agents may have, or plan to, seize your bank accounts and assets, which could prevent you from hiring a private attorney.
When choosing an attorney, ask whether that attorney has conducted jury trials in Federal Court. We have secured a not guilty verdict from a Jury in Federal Court. Experience matters.
Initial Appearance / Arraignment
At an initial appearance before a United States Magistrate, you will be advised of the charges against you and the court will take up the issue of bond for your release from custody pending a disposition of the case. This is a critical stage of the proceedings against you and our attorneys can guide you through these processes. Today, especially in serious drug cases, the government may move for your detention pending trial without bail. It is important that you have competent and experienced counsel with you at this time.
In State Court, your initial appearance is handled through the prosecutor's office. Talk to us before this mandatory appearance.
General Sessions or Federal criminal charges are not only serious, but they can often be complex. The government has enormous resources and it is not unusual for there to be thousands of pages of what is referred to as discovery in a Federal Case. Discovery includes investigative reports, statements by witnesses, financial records and lab reports to name just a few.
Our attorneys will file appropriate motions to insure that all pertinent documents in the possession of the government are released to the defense including favorable information in their possession. Saleeby and Cox will review those documents with you and map out a strategy going forward. This may include investigation, interviewing witnesses, securing additional records, retaining experts if necessary, and conducting legal research on what are often complex legal issues. Additional motions may be filed regarding the indictment, disclosure of specific information or suppression of statements, and illegally seized evidence.
Recently, lower Courts are issuing high bond amounts that leave you or your loved one in jail, waiting for trial. Every case is different and no lawyer can guarantee an outcome, but contact us if you or your loved one has been denied bond or given a bond that seems overly harsh.
Our goal is to minimize the impact to your life. Some cases are dismissed completely, some cases present other options.
After a thorough review of the law applicable to the case and an exhaustive review of all the facts that have been gathered, Saleeby and Cox will discuss with you the various options that are available to you. One of the options usually available is a plea bargain. There are a variety of plea bargaining arrangements that can be pursued e.g. the government may agree to dismiss certain charges in return for a plea of guilty to certain others; the government may agree to certain stipulations regarding sentencing factors such as the weight of drugs, the amount of fraud, a person's role in the offense; and whether certain enhancements apply or certain mitigating factors should be considered. The government could agree to recommend a certain sentence, agree to the forfeiture of particular assets and the waiver of forfeiture as to other assets, or if the defendant co-operates in the prosecution of the case, the government may agree to recommend a departure from the advisory guideline sentence calculated under the United States sentencing guidelines. In federal court, plea agreements are memorialized in a written document filed in the court and they are enforceable by either party. Plea negotiations and drafting plea agreements is an art and Saleeby and Cox has been involved in the negotiating and execution of scores of such documents when a trial was not the best option. Remember, it is your decision of whether to go to trial or plea bargain the case.
If you decide to pursue a jury trial, our attorneys will work tirelessly to ensure that you receive the best possible defense through investigating, preparing, and zealously defending your case. If it is in your best interest and budget, your attorney can hire professionals, experts, and consultants in the preparation and presentation of your case.
Our goal is to obtain the lowest sentence possible if you chose to enter a plea. A carefully prepared presentation at a sentencing hearing can humanize the client for the sentencing judge, help show remorse, and demonstrate why a lighter sentence would still ensure that justice is served. In the Court of General Sessions, or in Federal Court; you should hire an attorney who is familiar with the local courts and the local judges so that you are prepared for what to expect. Never accept a guarantee from an attorney except that the attorney promises to work hard on your case.