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Murder Defense

Diligent South Carolina Murder Defense Lawyer Fights for Your Rights

Experienced Columbia attorney takes on homicide cases

When you are charged with causing someone else’s death, your choice of a criminal defense lawyer can mean the difference between freedom and incarceration.  With more than 40 years of experience handling homicide cases, Jack B. Swerling, Attorney at Law, in Columbia defends clients throughout South Carolina facing murder and manslaughter charges. Mr. Swerling understands how overwhelming the criminal justice system can be for defendants accused of these serious offenses and is ready to protect your rights while mounting a skilled defense.

Focused criminal defense lawyer handles all types of murder allegations

The South Carolina penal code includes several charges that can be brought against a person who allegedly causes another person’s death. These charges include:

  • Murder — In South Carolina, the crime of murder is defined as “the killing of any person with malice afterthought, either express or implied.” When someone charged with murder is convicted, they face a mandatory minimum prison term of 30 years but in some cases may face a life sentence or the death penalty.
  • Manslaughter — Manslaughter is “the unlawful killing of another person without express or implied malice,” which distinguishes it from murder. A manslaughter charge carries a mandatory prison term of at least two years and at most 30 years.
  • Involuntary manslaughter — Involuntary manslaughter is the unintentional killing of another person without malice. Involuntary manslaughter involves “criminal negligence,” which is a reckless disregard for the safety of others. The maximum prison sentence is five years.
  • Reckless vehicular homicide — A person found to have operated a motor vehicle with reckless disregard for the safety of others resulting in a death can be charged with reckless vehicular homicide. If convicted, a defendant may be sentenced up to 10 years in prison.

Penalties are severe for any crime in which a life is lost. In addition to extensive prison time and a criminal record that cannot be expunged, a conviction can come with large fines and mandated victim restitution payments. With so much at stake, it’s essential to have skilled representation.

Respected counselor draws on an extensive background

Attorney Jack B. Swerling has handled more than 250 homicide cases over his career and has been widely recognized for his record defending clients. Listed as one of America’s Top 100 Criminal Defense Attorneys, he has also been named to the South Carolina Super Lawyer Top 10 list and designated one of the Best Lawyers in America. A skilled and passionate criminal law attorney, Mr. Swerling is not intimidated by challenging or high-profile cases. He prepares and delivers a quality defense for every client, no matter the charge.

Accomplished advocate develops defense strategies for serious charges

The right defense for a murder charge depends on the law and the facts involved, including where you were and what you did while the alleged crime was being committed. Mr. Swerling knows how to build a case to stand up against even the most powerful prosecutors that’s based on one or more of the following defenses:

  • Self-defense — In South Carolina, a person can use deadly force in self-defense if he believed he was in imminent danger from the victim and bore no fault for the victim’s actions.
  • Accident — There is not always someone to blame for a tragedy. If a death occurred as the result of an accident, a person is not criminally responsible.
  • Castle doctrine — Similar to the “stand your ground” defense, the Castle Doctrine allows South Carolinians to use deadly force to defend themselves at home, in their vehicles or at work if they believe that doing so is necessary to prevent death or great bodily injury to themselves or others.
  • Insanity — An insanity defense can be used for a person whose mental disability or defect prevented him from distinguishing right from wrong, either morally or legally, during the commission of a crime.
  • Lesser include defense — A murder may under certain circumstances be reduced to manslaughter or involuntary manslaughter.

Mr. Swerling may also present evidence establishing a strong alibi for your whereabouts at the time of the crime or try to show that it was committed by another person. He may examine whether law enforcement misconduct was a factor in any part of your case, which could result in a dismissal. Whatever defense applies to your situation, you can rely on Mr. Swerling to provide the advice and advocacy you deserve.

Contact a committed Columbia murder defense attorney to secure skilled representation

It is critical that you retain the best legal defense possible — as quickly as possible — if you have been charged with murder in South Carolina. To schedule a free initial consultation with Jack B. Swerling, Attorney at Law, in Columbia, call 800-701-0599 or contact him online.

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  • Columbia Office
    1720 Main St
    Columbia, South Carolina 29201-2850
    Phone: (803) 765-2626
    Fax: 803-799-4059
  • Highest Level of Professional Excellence Award
    Excellent Client Service Award
  • Best Lawyers Award: Best Criminal Defense Lawyers Columbia SC
    Super Lawyers Award: Top Criminal Defense Attorney in Columba, SC
  • Top 500 Fellows
    Selected As Fellow
  • Selected As Fellow - American Board of Criminal Lawyers
    Member IATL
  • Best Criminal Defense Lawyers Columbia South Carolina Award

Jack Swerling In The News >>

  • Jack Swerling, Derrick Mobley and Alissa Wilson were successful in having a Judge rule after an extensive hearing, that the defendant was immune from prosecution based on the “Stand Your Ground” law in a murder prosecution. The Judgment was handed down on March 29, 2021.
  • Jack Swerling, Gregory Harris and Alissa Wilson obtained a Not Guilty Verdict in Lexington County on March 3, 2022. An Orthopedic Surgeon was charged with Involuntary Manslaughter in the accidental shooting death of a friend.
  • “When Jack is on my docket, I tell my law clerks, ‘You do not want to miss this. You are seeing one of the greatest trial lawyers in the state’s history.'” -South Carolina Circuit Court Judge
  • Jack was selected to Super Lawyers Magazine Top Ten List for 2019. Each year Super Lawyers recognizes the top lawyers in South Carolina via a selection process involving peer evaluations, independent research and professional achievement. The South Carolina lawyers who receive the highest points during this selection process are further recognized in the South Carolina Super Lawyers Top Ten List.
  • USA v. FRANK*: In a child pornography case, Swerling was successful in obtaining a 22 level variance reducing the defendant’s sentence from 8 years to 6 months.
  • STATE v. BORIS: The defendant was found not guilty by reason of insanity in a case where the defendant was involved in a shoot-out with 3 police officers.
  • STATE v. TYGER: Jack Swerling obtains a not guilty verdict in a criminal sexual conduct case in Beaufort County.
  • Pre Trial Dispositions: STATE v. DWAYNE: Mr. Swerling successfully argued for the dismissal of stalking and unlawful use of telephone charges brought against a prominent businessman in Florence County.
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