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Criminal Defense Practice

Columbia, South Carolina State Criminal Law Practice

If you have been arrested or accused of a crime in South Carolina, it is critically important to find a criminal defense lawyer who is experienced and will aggressively defend your rights and ensure that you are treated fairly. Jack Swerling has spent more than 40 years defending people accused of crimes. He is known across the state for his representation of clients accused of a broad range of felonies and misdemeanors, in both the state trial and appellate courts, including:

Felonies & Misdemeanors In State & Appellate Courts

  • Drug Offenses
  • Controlled Substance Violations
  • Murder
  • Manslaughter
  • Homicide
  • Violent Crimes
  • Burglary
  • Theft
  • Robbery
  • Aggravated Assault
  • Felony DUI
  • Sexual Assaults
  • Pornography Crimes
  • Solicitation
  • Gun Violations
  • Public Corruption
  • Gang Related Charges
  • Embezzlement
  • White Collar Crimes
  • Fraud
  • Insurance Fraud
  • Breach of Trust
  • Forgery
  • Probation Violations
  • Pardons
  • Expungement
  • Grand Jury Representation

Criminal defendants are guaranteed certain rights under United States and South Carolina law including the right to counsel, the right to a speedy and public trial, and the right against self incrimination. If you have been arrested, you have a right to have your attorney present and should have an attorney present when you are questioned by investigators. Jack Swerling can protect and advise you about whether to make a statement to authorities and can be with you when making a statement to authorities, participating in line ups, and making many other important decisions.

Before Charges are Filed

If you have been notified that you are under investigation or a suspect in a crime, it is important to find knowledgeable, qualified counsel to represent you. Jack Swerling has extensive experience counseling clients on matters involving providing testimony before state grand juries or answering questions posed by state investigators. By getting involved in an investigation at such an early stage, Mr. Swerling will try to persuade prosecutors not to file charges at all. If warrants are going to be filed, Mr. Swerling will take charge of the case and guide you and your family through this very difficult process. Experience is important, and Mr. Swerling has 40 years of experience behind him.

After Arrest

If you are arrested, the charges against you are set out in an arrest warrant, indictment, or bench warrant authorizing your arrest. Attorney Jack Swerling will request a bond hearing and will help arrange for the posting of bond to secure your release from jail pending trial. If you are arrested and the charges are later dismissed or you are found not guilty, he will obtain a court order destroying your arrest records.

In South Carolina, the criminal court of general jurisdiction is called the Court of General Sessions. This court has jurisdiction over most serious criminal actions brought under state law. Less serious crimes are heard in a magistrate court or municipal court. Magistrate courts can also hear cases transferred from general sessions court for which the penalty does not exceed a year in prison or a fine of $5,000. Magistrates also are responsible for setting bail, conducting preliminary hearings, and issuing arrest and search warrants.

Jack Swerling has extensive experience in all of the state’s criminal courts. Many of his clients are referrals from other attorneys from within and outside of South Carolina.

Pre-Trial Proceedings

After your release from custody, Mr. Swerling will meet with you to obtain all the relevant facts. He will map out a strategy for the handling of the case. A preliminary hearing will be requested where the state must show probable cause before the case can move forward to indictment. Mr. Swerling will be there to cross examine the witnesses presented and contest probable cause if it is weak or non-existent. Motions of discovery will be filed and the state must turn over to the defense all the documents in their possession including investigative reports, witness statements, and forensic testing results. The law firm will mail you a copy of the discovery for your review and then have you schedule an appointment with Mr. Swerling to review the materials together. At this stage, additional investigation may be called for and experts may be recommended to assist in the investigation and preparation of the case. During the course of criminal proceedings, people accused of crimes must attend roll calls or appearances and Mr. Swerling will attend those with you. Mr. Swerling is constantly engaged in conversations with the prosecutors about his various cases. At regular intervals, you will discuss with Mr. Swerling the strengths and weaknesses of your case and the advisability of pursuing a plea or a trial. All the information you need to make that decision will be given to you including what the state has to prove in your case, what are the lesser included offenses, the possible defenses available, and the potential range of punishment. If a decision is made to pursue a plea bargain, Mr. Swerling has considerable experience in negotiating plea agreements. Some of the options that can be pursued are the dismissal of certain charges, a plea to lesser charges, and sentencing recommendations by the state. The key to Mr. Swerling’s successful relationship with his clients is the providing of complete information and his availability to meet with you and your family or friends so that all your questions can be answered. After 40 years of experience, there are very few issues that arise that he has not had to deal with.

Trial

If it is in the client’s best interest to go to trial, Jack Swerling provides a thorough, rigorous defense. He thoroughly prepares an attack against the prosecution’s case and meticulously prepares the defense presentation. He calls on his experienced staff as well as outside investigators to help him prepare for a trial and will not hesitate to call on the assistance of forensic experts, consultants, and professional researchers.

Sentencing

His extensive experience also comes into play in the sentencing stage of a case, where Mr. Swerling helps his clients by preparing a strong presentation to the sentencing judge and arguing for as light a sentence as possible.

He also assists clients at parole hearings and with matters related to parole or probation violations.

Jack Swerling has written and lectured extensively on criminal law. He has also been selected as a Fellow in the prestigious American College of Trial Lawyers, the American Board of Criminal Lawyers, the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers, and the International Academy of Trial Lawyers,and Litigation Counsel of America. He has been listed for years in Best Lawyers in America and was named a Super Lawyer in the South Carolina Super Lawyer magazine. (For additional details see: Teaching, Presentations and Lectures, Publications, In the News and Representative Cases.)

If you are facing state criminal charges or learn you are the subject of a criminal investigation, you may call our law firm 24 hours a day at 800-701-0599. Our answering service will direct you to Jack Swerling, Attorney at Law. You may also e-mail Jack Swerling at [email protected]. E-mails are checked regularly.

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Our Office
  • Columbia Office
    1720 Main Street
    Suite 301
    Columbia, South Carolina 29201-2850
    Phone: 800-701-0599
    Fax: 803-799-4059