Criminal Defense

What We Do

Every criminal defense case is unique. The Rankin Law Firm understands that your case involves a detailed narrative and a much larger individual backstory than what may be contained in the actual charges. When defending clients against criminal charges, we will take time to learn your unique story. We will perform a comprehensive investigation into the evidence of the charges and the reliability and strength of any evidence that may be used against you. If necessary, we may utilize the assistance of private investigators or other experts to obtain and evaluate evidence. We will stand beside you to present strongest, clearest picture of your defense and will strive to make sure the court upholds your constitutional protections and the laws of procedure and evidence that protect your rights.

Drug Charges

If you or a family member has been charged with a drug crime, you will need a skilled and experienced criminal defense attorney to protect your rights. Consequences of a conviction can include heavy fines, prison sentences, and potential issues with obtaining employment or education in the future. At the Rankin Law Firm we can provide legal representation to those facing a federal indictment or state charges for drug-related offenses.  

Simple Possession

Simple possession of marijuana is a common crime in South Carolina. In South Carolina, a conviction for Simple Possession of marijuana can lead to the following:

  • The suspension of your driver’s license
  • Disqualification for certain jobs, scholarships, or government programs
  • A criminal record
  • Increased punishments if you are convicted of another drug offense in the future

Minor Possession

A minor in South Carolina may not buy, attempt to buy, possess, or consume alcohol.  A minor also may not knowingly provide false information to obtain alcohol. The consequences of violating South Carolina’s minor in possession laws depend on the violation and can include the following:

  • Illegal alcohol purchase, possession, or consumption
    • This type of violation carries a fine between $100 and $200, up to 30 days in jail, or both, as decided by the judge. Violators are also required to complete an approved alcohol prevention education program that is at least eight hours long. The violator may be ordered to pay up to $150 as tuition for such a program.
  • Misrepresenting age
    • A minor who misrepresents the minor’s age to buy or consume alcohol will be fined between $100 and $200 ordered to serve up to 30 days in jail, or both, as decided by the judge
  • Alcohol screening tests
    • If a law enforcement officer has probable cause to believe that a minor has consumed alcohol, the officer may require the minor to take an alcohol screening test, as approved by the State Law Enforcement Division.

Public Intoxication & Disorderly Conduct

In Charleston, residents, tourists, and students may sometime face charges of public intoxication and/or disorderly conduct. Public Intoxication and Disorderly Conduct are misdemeanor charges brought in the municipal or magistrate court. Conviction of these charges can result in unfortunate consequences, like barring scholarships or leaving problematic blemishes on your record that could interfere with employment opportunities.

As our community grows, centers of nightlife have become more active, and local law enforcement officers are issuing public intoxication tickets in increasing numbers. To be charged and arrested for public intoxication in Charleston, an officer only needs to show that you are intoxicated in a public place. This leaves a significant amount of discretion to the issuing officer.    

Under South Carolina law, you can be charged with disorderly conduct if you are in a public place in a grossly intoxicated condition or if you are conducting yourself in a disorderly or boisterous manner.   Charges can also be brought for disorderly conduct if you use obscene or profane language or discharge a firearm under certain conditions in a public place. Conviction of disorderly conduct can result in a fine of up to one hundred dollars or imprisonment for up to thirty days.  

Criminal Domestic Violence

Domestic violence in South Carolina is defined as a physical assault, attempted physical assault or threat of a physical assault against a household member. Physical assault in this context means an unwanted or rude touching. There is no requirement of actual harm or injury. A household member is considered a spouse, former spouse, someone you have a child in common with or someone of the opposite sex you now or formally have lived with. Domestic violence is broken down into two categories: Criminal Domestic Violence (CDV) and Criminal Domestic Violence of a High & Aggravated Nature (CDVHAN). A CDV can have very serious and lasting consequences. It is considered a misdemeanor and is prosecutable in municipal and magistrate court. CDVHAN is a felony offense and is prosecuted in General Sessions court. Anyone convicted of CDVHAN will face a mandatory minimum of one year up to a maximum of ten years in prison. The main difference between CDV and CDVHAN is that a CDVHAN must also have an aggravating factor, such as an allegation of a weapon, serious bodily harm or an assault which would cause someone to fear serious harm or death. At the Rankin Law Firm, we have the knowledge and experience to help you if you’re facing a charge of CDV or CDVHAN.