Call Today 803.359.3301
Introduction to South Carolina Juvenile Charges

Introduction to South Carolina Juvenile Charges

This information is designed to be helpful for South Carolina juveniles who have been accused of a crime, or their family. If you have specific questions regarding your case you are welcome to schedule a free initial consultation with us by calling (888) 301-6004. We represent juvenile defendants charged with crimes throughout South Carolina.

A juvenile can be charged and prosecuted for the same crimes as an adult, however the court process and sentencing is different. Juveniles have the same rights that an adult has when facing a criminal charges. This includes:

  • The right to remain silent. This means that juveniles never have to talk to the police, answer questions, write a written statement, or consent to any searches.
  • The right to an attorney. Juveniles (and their family), do not have to take on the justice system by themselves. Every juvenile is entitled to retain counsel to represent them in the proceedings, challenge false and unfair allegations, and to seek the best possible outcome.
  • Pre-trial discovery. Juveniles are entitled to information about the accusation pursuant to the South Carolina Rules of Criminal Procedure. We file motions with the court to arrange for the turn-over of this information as soon as we are hied.

Should you allow your child to talk to the police?

We recommend that children and young adults never be allowed to meet with, or talk to the police without fist consulting with a lawyer. We’ve seen examples of children driven by their parents to the police station only to have them subjected to a formal interrogation which leads to serious charges. Often times the only difference between situations resulting in criminal charges or not is whether or not the incriminating statements were made to the police.

Police are allowed to pull children from the school classroom to interview them. They also are not required to notify parents or guardians in advance or during any questioning. And statements made by children can be used against them in juvenile court proceedings.

If your child has been accused, or may be suspected of a crime, it is important that they have the opportunity to consult with an attorney. It’s never too early in an investigation or case to do so.

Review By Solicitor’s Office

Once the police conclude with the law enforcement investigation, the next step in the case is for it to be reviewed by the local solicitor’s office. Solicitor is a South Carolina term for district attorney. These are professional, full-time prosecutors whose job it is to represent the government in criminal prosecutions. The solicitor’s office is the one who decides what criminal charges to make against a juvenile, and to  schedule the initial court dates.

If we are retained in time (before formal charges are brought), we can reach out to the solicitor’s office to discuss alternatives to prosecution.

If formal charges have been brought we are able to help by seeking a total dismissal, favorable reduction or lessened sentence, or to fully contest the charge in court. 

Common Juvenile Case Types We Assist With

  • Sexual Abuse of a Younger Child
  • Terroristic Threats \Threatening School
  • Disturbing School
  • Assault
  • Drug Possession or Distribution
  • Burglary and Larceny

We also assist in representing juveniles charged with DUI and other traffic violations, however these cases are handled in local traffic courts.

Specific Concerns for Sexual Offenses

We’re seeing more and more juveniles charged with sexually based offenses. These generally fall into two categories:

  • Alleged physical sexual contact with a younger child
  • Sexting by text, social media or online of images of anyone under 18

A conviction in juvenile court for any category of sexual offense can result in a requirement for lifetime registration as a sex offender. This would mean that upon reaching 18 years old the juvenile would then have to register at the local Sheriff’s department to be publicly listed as a sex offender. This requirement would continue for the rest of their lives.

Troubling is the rise in criminal prosecutions for sexting or possession of child pornography by juveniles. Many people don’t understand, but while it may be legal for juveniles to engage in sexual activity it is always illegal for them to possession or exchange explicit photographs. Local law enforcement agencies and prosecutor’s office will prosecute instances of disseminating obscene materials to minors or sexual exploitation of a minor even in situations where it is simply juveniles exchanging pictures with their classmates or other peers.

We approach every accusation of a sexual offense very seriously. We incorporate the use of an expert psychologist to assist in evaluating any allegation that our client has some sort of sexual based pathology. The goal on each and every one of these cases is to ensure that our client does not face sex offender registry, as well as to seek dismissal of charges when appropriate.

It is very important to reach out for help as soon as your child has been accused of any sexual offense.

Threatening School Violations

Smart phones, Snapchat, Facebook, and other technologies have created situations where students are charged with threatening schools. These situations frequently make local news. It does not matter to the police or school officials that any comment made was a joke, and that the student would have been unable to actually carry out any perceived threat.

In some instances of making a threat can also result in the immediate incarceration of a juvenile, or the court wanting to commit the juvenile to the Department of Juvenile Justice for a secure evaluation (where they live in a prison like facility, around other DJJ inmates).

It is also very important to reach out for help as soon as your child has been accused of making any type of threat.

We also are able to represent students and their families in expulsion proceedings before area school districts.

How do you retain an attorney for a juvenile?

Hiring a lawyer to represent your child is much the same as hiring a lawyer to represent an adult.

You begin by requesting a free consultation to meet with an experienced juvenile defense attorney by calling (888) 301-6004. During that appointment you’ll have the opportunity to explain the situation, and to ask any questions that you may have.  The attorney will be able to come up with a strategy to best assist. We are able to not only represent your child with the police or the court, but also to arrange for a full investigation into the circumstances of the case.


Get Started Today

We're Available to Schedule Immediate, Same-Day Consultations
    • Please enter your name.
    • This isn't a valid phone number.
    • Please enter your email address.
      This isn't a valid email address.
    • Please make a selection.
    • Please enter a message.