The worst part of sentencing is the awful silence where the only sound is the judge scratching out your sentence with his pen on your sentencing sheet. The vast majority of the time, you don’t know whether you’re getting probation until the judge announces your sentence. The lone exception is a special, rare type of guilty plea where the sentence is negotiated.
But you can be confident you’re getting probation with an ordinary guilty plea—assuming you’re eligible—if you have an experienced lawyer who knows how to prove you probation-worthy. In many cases, we convince the solicitor to recommend probation to the judge, which often seals the deal.
These are some basic factors for probation eligibility in South Carolina:
The Severity of the Crime
Some crimes are deemed so serious by the legislature that the law prohibits probation. This includes child molestation, some drug charges, and repeat DUI offenses. In non-probation offenses, it’s vital to get a sharp lawyer who can win your case, and if he can’t, can help you secure a guilty plea to a reduced charge giving you a shot at probation.
The Specifics of Your Case
Legally, probation is considered a matter of grace granted to a deserving accused. You have to prove you are deserving. Whether you can get probation in any case depends on many factors that boil down to the facts and circumstances of your case and the facts and circumstances of you. Hopefully you can hire a lawyer who knows how to establish you are worth probation. Some important things probation depends on include:
- Solicitor and victim agreement. If they are on board, that may be all you need. Don’t expect them to just give in to your pleas for mercy, though.
- Your prior record. Every time you complete probation but don’t change your life, your chance of getting it diminishes…especially if you are in court on the same or similar charge.
- The nature of the crime. Whether the crime was violent or not, an isolated incident or a crime spree can influence the amount of punishment the judge thinks you need.
- What you’ve done since. Proof you’ve worked hard, that you support your family, that you’re active in the community, and that you have shown remorse can convince a judge you can be rehabilitated without prison.
- What you’ve done before. The same factors above apply, plus a solid employment record and proof you’ve worked to achieve an education or other accomplishments can show a judge you’re a solid citizen who can complete probation.
- Character evidence. Evidence demonstrating your good character shows the judge that the crime is not typical of the person you are, so it won’t happen again.
- Family support. It gives a judge some security knowing you’re backed by a solid family to keep you straight.
Don’t Go It Alone
Getting probation is often hard. Victims may be angry, the solicitor may be aggressive, and it can take a lot of information from various sources to convince the powers that be that you should get probation. Because your freedom is on the line, it’s time to get someone who is a professional at protecting it. If you’re worried about getting probation and all the hard, complex work it might entail to get it, call us today for a free meeting to discuss what we can do to help you pave the way to probation.