When is the Right Time to Hire a Criminal Defense Lawyer?

Criminal Defense Lawyer in Beaufort, SC


If you have been accused of a crime, the only thing standing between your continued freedom and harsh legal penalties is a seasoned criminal defense lawyer in Beaufort, SC. That may seem harsh, but in this time of turmoil and uncertainty, having a skilled and dedicated criminal defense lawyer on your side is key. Because the truth is that dealing with legal charges in Beaufort can be a highly distressing ordeal, with even minor violations causing a considerable impact on an individual's personal and work life. The repercussions of having a criminal record can be severe, leading to loss of employment, severed relationships, and even alienation from loved ones.

At Theos Law Firm, we offer trustworthy legal representation to those who need it most. Our criminal defense team has years of experience and is committed to ensuring our clients maintain their freedom and can move forward with their lives. From handling drug-related charges to more nuanced federal cases and sexual misconduct offenses, we take a personalized approach to every case. By utilizing cutting-edge legal strategies and decades of combined experience, we have a much better opportunity to achieve the best possible client outcomes.

Service Areas

We help clients overcome criminal charges in a wide range of cases, including the following:

  • Homicides
  • Drug Crimes
  • Juvenile Crimes
  • Sex Crimes
  • Theft Crimes
  • Theft Crimes
  • Violent Crimes
  • Misdemeanor Offenses
  • Federal Offenses
  • More

If you are facing one or more of the charges above, it's imperative that you establish contact with a legal advocate ASAP. At Theos Law, you can rest easy knowing our phone line is always open. When your future is up for grabs, let our team of criminal defense lawyers fight for your rights. It all starts with a free consultation at our law firm in Beaufort, where we'll educate you on the particulars of the charges you're facing and explain the next steps ahead.

At this point, you probably have many questions in mind. Keep reading for more information on criminal law in South Carolina and some of our criminal defense specialties at Theos Law.

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Understanding Criminal Defense Cases in South Carolina


In South Carolina, criminal cases are classified into different categories based on the severity of the crime. Generally speaking, offenses that carry a maximum sentence of three years or less are categorized as misdemeanors. On the other hand, crimes that carry a punishment of more than three years in prison are generally classified as felonies.

State and Federal Criminal Defense Cases in South Carolina

Crimes in The Palmetto State are usually split into two categories: state crimes and federal crimes. Classifications are based on whether a crime violates state laws or federal laws. Ultimately, it's up to the prosecutor to decide which category to pursue charges under. State crimes generally include assault, robbery, domestic violence, theft, and rape. Federal crimes, on the other hand, may be more complex and can include computer crime, major drug trafficking, hate crimes, and money laundering. These types of crimes are often investigated by agencies like the FBI or IRS.

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The Difference Between Misdemeanors and Felonies in South Carolina

Understanding the difference between a misdemeanor and a felony crime can be challenging for someone facing their first charge. Misdemeanors are generally considered minor offenses, resulting in fines or a short stay in a local county jail. Trials and plea deals for these cases move quickly due to their nature.

Conversely, felonies are more severe crimes classified by degrees, with first-degree being the most severe and sixth-degree being the least. Those charged with a felony may face significant fines and a prison sentence of over a year in a federal or state institution. Convicted felons may face difficulties after their release, making it crucial to have a reliable criminal defense attorney in Beaufort, SC.

Plea Deals in South Carolina

It is not uncommon for legal cases to be resolved outside of court through a plea deal. This allows the defendant to acknowledge their guilt on one or more charges without the need for a trial. Both your criminal defense lawyer and the prosecutor collaborate to come up with a mutually beneficial arrangement, which helps avoid the uncertainties and dangers of a trial. By accepting a plea deal, you may receive a lighter sentence and avoid the anxiety that comes with a lengthy legal battle.

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When is the Right Time to Hire a Criminal Defense Lawyer in Beaufort, SC?


At Theos Law Firm, we often receive questions from potential clients about when they should hire a criminal defense attorney for the charges that they're facing. Although each situation and client are unique, there are some common criminal situations to keep in mind. In general, it's always best to reach out to an experienced attorney as soon as you're charged or have been arrested.

Below are some guidelines to help you decide when it's necessary to retain a criminal defense attorney for your case in South Carolina.

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When You've Been Accused or Charged

Thinking about hiring a criminal defense lawyer when you're charged with a crime is a no-brainer for most, and for good reason. A defense lawyer can offer assistance with various offenses, ranging from minor crimes like retail theft and cyberstalking to more serious ones such as sexual assault and manslaughter. Regardless of the charges, navigating the legal system can be complex, and without the guidance of an experienced criminal defense lawyer, the situation can escalate rapidly.

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When Investigators or Police Question You

As you may have observed in movies or television shows, the police might request you to provide a statement, giving the impression that you are not under arrest. If they suspect you of committing a crime but lack sufficient evidence to detain you, they may aim to put you at ease and elicit information that can be used against you. Remember, it is within your rights to have a criminal defense attorney in Beaufort, SC, present during questioning, and you should absolutely use that to your advantage.

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When Authorities Search Your Residence

In the event that law enforcement officers arrive at your residence with a warrant, it indicates that a judge has determined there is reasonable suspicion that evidence related to a criminal offense is present in your home. Regardless of whether they discover and confiscate anything, it is advisable to seek the guidance of a seasoned defense attorney to discuss the situation and receive assistance in determining any potential charges or locations they may investigate in the future.

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When You Are Wrongly Accused of Committing a Crime

Could you imagine being accused of something you didn't do? When law enforcement, a judge, or a prosecutor accuses you of committing a crime that you didn't do, it can be an arduous task to prove your innocence, especially if you have a prior record. It can also feel hopeless and like it's impossible for you to get someone to listen to your side. The truth is that your past mistakes should not be used against you. To increase your chances of being cleared of charges, it's advisable to have a defense lawyer who can support your innocence and fight for your rights. Criminal defense attorneys at Theos Law don't just listen - we act swiftly and always with your best interests at heart.

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When Your Child Is Involved

The legal system for juveniles in South Carolina is different than it is for adults. It comes with its own complications and hurdles to overcome. If you think or know that your child has been accused of a crime, it's imperative to get legal counsel swiftly. Failure to do so could ruin their life or result in a longer-than-needed jail sentence.

Keep reading to learn more about just a few of the most common criminal defense cases we accept at Theos Law Firm.

Criminal Defense for DUIs in South Carolina


In terms of common criminal offenses in South Carolina, DUIs top the list, especially regarding mindful drivers with clean driving records and no criminal history. Unfortunately for these drivers, a DUI conviction in South Carolina stays on your record and cannot be expunged. Even first-time offenses with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent can be costly. Your insurance premiums go up for years, you may end up paying almost $1,000 in fines and fees, and there's a good chance you'll have to perform community service or serve jail time.

If your breathalyzer test result is more than .15%, you refuse the breathalyzer, or it is recorded as a refusal, your license will be automatically suspended, which complicates matters further. Throw in the possibility of interlock device rental, and your life may never be the same. For those reasons alone, it is crucial to approach such charges with the help of a DUI defense lawyer. At Theos Law Firm, our attorneys have years of experience in successfully fighting these types of charges.

Fortunately, if you or a loved one has been charged with DUI, there is hope. That's especially true if the accused has undergone a breath or blood test for DUI. In fact, cases that involve such tests are successfully beaten every day. At Theos Law Firm, we will thoroughly investigate your DUI case in Beaufort and explore every possible angle to have it dismissed.

To begin that process, your criminal defense lawyer in Beaufort, SC, may seek answers to many questions, including:

  • Was your DUI stop legal? If not, your case could be thrown out.
  • Is there enough probable cause or evidence for an arrest? If there is not, it's possible to file a pre-trial motion for your case to be dismissed.
  • Did officers explain implied consent rights? One of the most common errors police make is failing to take this step.
  • Did the police maintain your BAC and breathalyzer results? Breath testing often comes with inherent weaknesses. This can create doubt in a juror's mind.
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Criminal Defense for Drug Cases in South Carolina


If you are dealing with drug-related crimes in Beaufort or another city in South Carolina, it is crucial for you to understand the potential penalties involved. Possession of a controlled substance may fall under the category of a misdemeanor, but many drug offenses are considered felonies. Even a minor drug offense conviction can result in long-lasting negative consequences. As such, it's always advisable to explore your options and seek the assistance of a Beaufort drug crime attorney. A skilled criminal defense lawyer can help safeguard your rights and may help achieve a favorable outcome.

One of the most frequent questions we hear at Theos Law is, "What does possession mean?”

Drug charges based on possession in South Carolina are divided into three categories:

  • Simple Possession
  • Possession with Intent to Distribute
  • Drug Trafficking

However, the state also has other drug charges that are not based on the weight of the drugs. These include:

  • Drug Distribution
  • Manufacturing
  • Distribution Near Schools, Parks, or Playgrounds
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Possession-based drug charges in South Carolina are deemed "graduated offenses" with penalties that grow more severe based on the weight of the drugs. It's important to note that the charges can be based on either actual or constructive possession. Contact a criminal defense lawyer in Beaufort, SC, today to learn more about the complexities involved with drug cases in Beaufort and other cities in South Carolina.

Some of the most common drug charges we see at Theos Law include the following:

  • Marijuana
  • Heroin
  • Ecstasy
  • LSD and Hallucinogens
  • Cocaine
  • Meth
  • Prescription Pain Killers
  • Fentanyl
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Can I be Arrested for Drug Paraphernalia in South Carolina?

The simple answer to this question is a resounding "Yes.” Drug paraphernalia can refer to various items such as pipes, bongs, syringes, scales, grinders, and rolling papers which are linked to drug usage, preparation, storage, or hiding. Even though some of these items may have legitimate uses, like tobacco pipes or medical syringes, they can still be scrutinized by law enforcement if there is proof of illegal drug use or intent.

Criminal Defense for Assault and Battery Cases in South Carolina


If you are facing assault and battery charges, it is possible that you haven't actually physically harmed someone. Many people associate assault and battery with brutal beatings, but that is just one example. There are other situations that are less severe than what people typically imagine.

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It's a common misunderstanding that physical injury is required for assault and battery charges. The fines, penalties, and jail time you may face depend on the severity of your charges and the number of offenses. Regardless of the degree of your charges, Assault and Battery is a serious offense that should not be taken lightly. The consequences of a conviction can be life-changing, and as such, your criminal defense lawyer in Beaufort, SC, should work relentlessly to fight the charges being levied against you.

Though this list isn't comprehensive, here are some of the biggest factors that dictate the severity of your assault and battery charges:

  • Age of Victim
  • Severity of Injuries Sustained
  • Size and Weight of Accused vs. Size and Weight of Victim
  • Whether or Not the Victim Presses Charges
  • Whether or Not Weapons Were Involved
  • Whether or Not the Victim's Privates Were Touched

Understanding the Degrees of Assault and Battery in South Carolina

Third Degree

Causing harm to someone or threatening to do so with the ability to carry out the threat can result in a charge of third-degree assault and battery. This misdemeanor offense is typically heard in municipal or magistrate courts and may carry a maximum sentence of 30 days in jail.

Second Degree

Causing harm or making threats to harm someone that results in moderate bodily injury can lead to charges of second-degree assault and battery. Additionally, touching someone's private parts without their consent can also result in charges of assault and battery in the second degree. This misdemeanor offense is heard in General Session court and can carry a maximum sentence of three years in prison.

First Degree

Assault and Battery in the first degree can involve a number of actions such as inflicting an unlawful injury when kidnapping, touching a person's privates "with lewd and lascivious intent,” and much more. Contact Theos Law Firm for more info on the degrees of Assault and Battery in South Carolina.

Everyone Deserves a Reliable Criminal Defense Attorney in Beaufort, SC


At Theos Law firm, we work tirelessly to ensure that our client's rights are not overlooked. Because unfortunately, the rights of everyday citizens are often trampled by law enforcement oversights and legal system failures.

That's why every criminal defense lawyer at our firm works hard to provide guidance and support throughout the legal process by keeping you informed of updates and as comfortable as possible during this trying time. Benefits of hiring Theos Law Firm include:

  • Thorough Knowledge of South Carolina Criminal Law & Procedures
  • Seasoned Legal Representation in the Courtroom
  • Years of Experience Structuring Plea bargains
  • Ability to Identify Due Process Violations
  • Fierce Dedication to Clients & Vigorous Representation
  • Skilled Negotiation Tactics Involved with Bail, Sentencing, Appeals, and More
  • Familiarity with Local Prosecutors

Unlike some criminal defense law firms in South Carolina, our team believes that everyone deserves a great lawyer when their freedoms are on the line. If you or a loved one has been accused of a crime in South Carolina, trust Theos Law to have your back without judgment.

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Latest News in Beaufort, SC

This Small Coastal Town in South Carolina Has Charleston-like Charm Without the Crowds

Here’s what to know about visiting Beaufort, one of South Carolina’s most beautiful towns.0 seconds of 59 secondsVolume 0%This video file cannot be played.(Error Code: 224003)Charleston may get most of the attention when it comes to South Carolina’s many cities, but the history, culture, and (of course) Southern ch...

Here’s what to know about visiting Beaufort, one of South Carolina’s most beautiful towns.

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Charleston may get most of the attention when it comes to South Carolina’s many cities, but the history, culture, and (of course) Southern charm that make it so special can also be found in smaller and less expensive places in the region. If you’ve ever watched “Forrest Gump” or read anything by the late author Pat Conroy, you may be familiar with Beaufort, a harbor town on Port Royal Island. Its narrow streets, oak trees, and historic district that pre-dates the Civil War are similar to those in Charleston, but Beaufort is remarkable and magical in its own right. Plus, it doesn’t draw the same crowds that tend to flock to notable Holy City hangouts like King Street, Folly Beach, and the Battery.

Before you read any further, though, you need to know how to properly pronounce the name. Not to be confused with Beaufort, North Carolina (said like “bow-fert”), the coastal town has a pronunciation more akin to “bew-fert.” Mistaking the two will immediately identify you as a tourist — and it won’t sit too well with the locals. Once you have that squared away, you can start planning your trip to Beaufort, the second-oldest city in South Carolina.

8 Charming Small Towns in South Carolina — From the Mountains to the Beach

Best Things to Do in Beaufort, South Carolina

In 1969, Beaufort became one of the few U.S. cities with an entire downtown designated as a historic district by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, so exploring the neighborhoods filled with Victorian, Greek Revival, Neoclassical, and Federal-style homes is at the top of most travelers’ lists. At Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park, you’ll spot Woods Memorial Bridge, recognizable from the aforementioned Tom Hanks blockbuster. Stretching your legs is also encouraged along the Spanish Moss Trail, a 10-mile greenway that weaves by Beaufort’s marshes and through trees draped in Spanish moss. Given its waterfront location, Beaufort should also be experienced by boat; book a Dolphin & History Boat Cruise with Coastal Expeditions or an ecology tour with Beaufort Kayak Tours. Paddleboarding is another option, with rental equipment available at Higher Ground Outfitters.

Beaufort’s ties to the literary world are strong; visiting the Pat Conroy Literary Center (Beaufort was Conroy’s adopted hometown) or one of the three independent bookstores in town — NeverMore Books, McIntosh Book Shoppe, and Beaufort Books — is a must for book lovers. For those interested in local art, there’s the Gullah Art Gallery and Museum, Legacy Art Gallery, Rhett Gallery, Thibault Gallery, or Atelier Off Bay.

Many of the best things to do in Beaufort are found further outside of downtown. About 17 miles east is Hunting Island State Park, with its pristine beaches, marshes, maritime forest, saltwater lagoon, and the Hunting Island Lighthouse, which was destroyed during the Civil War and rebuilt in 1875. St. Helena Island (a 13-minute drive away) is home to Penn Center — one of the United States’ first schools for formerly enslaved individuals — as well as the family-owned Dempsey Farms, where you can pick in-season fruits and vegetables. Local produce can also be acquired on Saturdays at the nearby Port Royal Farmers Market.

The Best Things to Do in South Carolina, According to a Local

Beaufort Hotels

An overnight trip to Beaufort is best accompanied by a stay in one of the town’s upscale inns. Slow Southern mornings paired with a home-cooked breakfast can be enjoyed on the expansive wooden porch at The Rhett House Inn. Guests can also book the more modern Rhett House Inn Cottages, which sit across the street from the main building. Once a Union Army hospital, Anchorage 1770 overlooks the Beaufort River and offers a fine dining experience at the Ribaut Social Club. The Beaufort Inn first opened its doors in 1897, and the property’s modern-day chapter features several fully renovated buildings within the town’s historic district.

Where to Eat and Drink in Beaufort, South Carolina

As with most Southern cities and towns, food is a major part of the local culture. If you’re a traveler who plans their vacations around meals, you’ll want to start your day at Blackstone’s Cafe or Herban Market and Cafe. If you’re exploring Beaufort during the day and want something quick, order a fried chicken sandwich or po’boy from Lowcountry Produce Market & Cafe. Chapman’s Grocer also has grab-and-go treats, wine, and craft beer. Old Bull Tavern is a lively gastropub open only for dinner, Saltus River Grill is great for indulging in seafood, and those craving Italian should dine at Griffin Market. Gullah Grub Restaurant on St. Helena Island is one of the area’s most famous restaurants (it appeared on Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations); get the shrimp gumbo.

Best Time to Visit

A South Carolina summer is hot and humid — there’s no getting around that. To explore Beaufort in the most comfortable climate, your best bet is to go in either early spring or late fall. April and October are ideal for having plenty to do (winter is far from bustling) while simultaneously avoiding the sweltering weather synonymous with the South.

Getting There

If you’re flying into Hilton Head Airport (HHH) or Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport (SAV) — both are under an hour away — you’ll need to rent a car to fully experience Beaufort and its surrounding area. Charleston International Airport (CHS) is also an option, although it’ll take about 90 minutes to get to Beaufort.

Partial solar eclipse coming to Beaufort, SC this Saturday

The Saturday, October 14th, an annular solar eclipse will cross North, Central, and South America. It will be visible in parts of the United States, Mexico, and many countries in South and Central America, but we’ll only get a partial solar eclipse here in Beaufort, SC.That’s good enough.During the eclipse, the Moon will cross in front of the Sun, spending up to 5 minutes 17 seconds centered on the brilliant solar disk, but it will cover at most 90% of it. The remaining 10% will appear as a blazing “ring of fi...

The Saturday, October 14th, an annular solar eclipse will cross North, Central, and South America. It will be visible in parts of the United States, Mexico, and many countries in South and Central America, but we’ll only get a partial solar eclipse here in Beaufort, SC.

That’s good enough.

During the eclipse, the Moon will cross in front of the Sun, spending up to 5 minutes 17 seconds centered on the brilliant solar disk, but it will cover at most 90% of it. The remaining 10% will appear as a blazing “ring of fire” around the Moon’s black silhouette viewable by only the lucky ones in the western part of the U.S. Only eight U.S. states, from Oregon through Texas, will see the ‘ring of fire’.

Here in Beaufort, SC and the surrounding area, the partial eclipse will last about 3 hours and 1 minute starting on Saturday, October 14th around 11:51am. It will reach its maximum for our area at around 1:21pm and will end at 2:53pm.

During a partial solar eclipse, the Moon, the Sun and Earth don’t align in a perfectly straight line, and the Moon casts only the outer part of its shadow, the penumbra, on Earth, according to timeanddate.com. From our perspective, this looks like the Moon has taken a bite out of the Sun.

Sometimes, the Moon covers only a tiny part of the Sun’s disk. Other times a partial eclipse looks almost like a total eclipse. The size of the eclipsed area is referred to as eclipse magnitude.

But be careful. During partial and annular solar eclipses, the Sun remains dangerously bright. There’s no time during the October 14th solar eclipse when you can look directly at the Sun without eye protection, no matter where you’re viewing it from in the Lowcountry.

In 2017, South Carolina was lucky enough to experience a total solar eclipse, where the whole sun was covered in the path of totality. It’ll be coming again next year, too.

For safety tips, check out this video from the folks at EarthSky.com.

The next solar eclipse coming to Beaufort will arrive early next spring. It’ll be the total solar eclipse of April 8, 2024. That one will be safe to observe with the naked eye at totality. After that, there are several eclipses coming our way in the next few years.

More Beaufort, SC news

What is in the BCSD Bond Referendum?

Referendum question to be on ballot for November 7 electionBy Delayna EarleyThe Island NewsOn November 7, Beaufort County citizens will go to the polls and cast their votes for or against a near half million-dollar bond referendum to aid the Beaufort County School District (BCSD).The bond referendum, which essentially gives residents of a school district the chance to vote for or against a district’s request to borrow money, requests $439 million in bonds ...

Referendum question to be on ballot for November 7 election

By Delayna Earley

The Island News

On November 7, Beaufort County citizens will go to the polls and cast their votes for or against a near half million-dollar bond referendum to aid the Beaufort County School District (BCSD).

The bond referendum, which essentially gives residents of a school district the chance to vote for or against a district’s request to borrow money, requests $439 million in bonds to help deal with overcrowding in schools, bolstering security measures and modernizing outdated facilities.

Candace Bruder, spokesperson for BCSD, said this would be the largest bond referendum they have had.

The BCSD has held informational sessions hosted by Superintendent Frank Rodriguez to inform parents and voters about the November referendum.

The final session was held on Tuesday, October 24, 2023.

The Beaufort, S.C. Regional Chamber of Commerce has said in a press release on Oct. 10, that it will fully endorse the bond referendum and went on to say it believes “this referendum is a critical step toward advancing education quality, enhancing school safety and accommodating the future workforce needs of our growing community.”

On October 8, the Military Enhancement Committee also issued a press release announcing their support for the bond referendum stating that “quality schools are not only essential for the education of our children but also for the well-being and morale of our military personnel and their families.”

2019 Bond Referendum

Beaufort citizens previously voted for a $344 million referendum in 2019, which passed with about 70% of the vote and included renovations to district athletic facilities, safety and security measures, playground equipment improvements at elementary school facilities, expansions to schools to help deal with capacity issues that the schools are facing as the population continues to grow.

The funds also went to construct the new Robert Smalls Leadership Academy opened earlier this year.

Rodriguez made a promise that if the referendum in 2019 passed, he would establish a citizen led oversight committee made up of CPAs, urban planners, civil engineers and project managers.

This committee was called Citizen Led Oversight Committee (CLOC) and was established as an independent group of volunteers who monitored all referendum building projects, schedules, budgets and expenditures.

If the upcoming bond referendum passes, this same committee will be overseeing this bond referendum.

2023 Bond Referendum

There were more than 900 volunteer hours of reviewing facilities’ needs over a five-month period as the Community Project Review Committee (CPRC) 2.0 visited facilities county-wide to assess them and decide what needed to be addressed.

Work on the current referendum began in December 2022, according to a presentation by Rodriguez.

Originally, the committee sought to replace Hilton Head Island High School and Lady’s Island Middle School, purchase land for future schools, expand the career and technical education opportunities, improve safety and security, build a new elementary school in Bluffton, replace HVACs, build a gym for Riverview Charter School and establish a technology warehouse imaging center all without increasing the millage.

Rodriguez took their recommendations combined with the Facility Condition Assessment, school district needs, two cost estimators and financial advisor input and he compiled a 2023 Referendum Project List.

In June 2023, Rodriguez spoke to the BCSD Board of Education and provided them with a breakdown of the proposed funding before they voted to submit the referendum in November.

Most of the money will go to rebuild Hilton Head High School ($167.4 million), replace Lady’s Island Middle School ($65 million) and build a new elementary school in Bluffton ($56.6 million).

Career and technical education renovations and additions cost $36.4 million, a new gym for Riverview Charter School will cost $19.2 million and a new Early Childcare Center in Bluffton is $29.7 million.

The rest of the money will go toward additional safety and security enhancements, parking lots, drives, sidewalks, furniture, HVAC replacements, constructing a kitchen for Right Choices Alternative Program and building a technology warehouse imaging center.

According to Rodriguez, if the referendum passes, they could be moving forward with some of these projects as early as spring 2024, while some aspects would be implemented in coming years.

The question

The official ballot question is as follows:

Shall the Board of Education of the School District of Beaufort County, South Carolina (the “School District”) be empowered to issue, at one time or from time to time, general obligation bonds of the School District, in a principal amount of not exceeding $439,035,000, the proceeds of which shall be used to finance the costs (including architectural, engineering, legal and related fees) of the following:

If the voter wishes to vote in favor of the question, fill in the oval next to “In favor of the question/yes;” if the voter wishes to vote against the question, fill in the oval next to the words, “Opposed to the question/no.”

If passed, taxpayers would not see a change in the amount they pay because of the millage rate, which is the number of mills imposed on taxpayers to meet the district’s budget.

One mill is equal to 1/1000 of a dollar, according to the Beaufort County Auditor’s website.

Delayna Earley lives in Beaufort with her husband, two children and Jack Russell. She formerly worked as a photojournalist for The Island Packet/The Beaufort Gazette, as well as newspapers in Indiana and Virginia. She joined The Island News in 2022. She can be reached at delayna.theislandnews@gmail.com.

Experience The Subtle Magic Of Beaufort, South Carolina

There's a moment at Hunting Island State Park as you're biking along the Lagoon Trail—ocean breezes and intoxicating beach vistas playing peekaboo to your left—when the sandy path turns inland and a sign points to Diamondback Rattlesnake Trail. A good idea? Yes."Yes," it turns out, sums up the ...

There's a moment at Hunting Island State Park as you're biking along the Lagoon Trail—ocean breezes and intoxicating beach vistas playing peekaboo to your left—when the sandy path turns inland and a sign points to Diamondback Rattlesnake Trail. A good idea? Yes.

"Yes," it turns out, sums up the best way to experience Beaufort, South Carolina, and its environs, including Hunting Island. Yes, the path less taken is an excellent idea, as is the Sweet Tea Float at Scout Southern Market. Spending hours strolling through The Old Point and gazing at historic homes and even older live oaks offers endless enchantment. But with my eyes peeled for rattlers, I was (yes) relieved that the only serpentine thing I discovered was more of the winding trail along old dune ridgelines through a primordial wonderland.

The trail affirms why Hunting Island, a breathtaking 25-minute drive from Beaufort, is South Carolina's most popular state park. With a dozen similar paths and 5 miles of pristine beach, this place leads you back eons in time through an untouched maritime forest with towering pines and ospreys soaring overhead as well as magnolias and saw palmettos tangled with yaupon hollies and wax myrtles in the dense understory. Here you breathe deeper and look more closely. Life slows down, and a sense of awe percolates up.

Take a seat on one of the bench swings at Beaufort's Waterfront Park. Wide and welcoming, they move back and forth in a rhythmic lullaby. You can't help relaxing, especially if you happen to catch a sunset or tune into the soft lapping of the Beaufort River against the floating dock, hearing the jingling clink of pulleys against sailboat masts—a mariner's wind chime.

Saltus River Grill, where the scenic setting rivals the exceptional food and drink. PHOTO: Peter Frank Edwards A slice of the sweet life from Beaufort’s upscale Saltus River Grill. PHOTO: Peter Frank Edwards

Waterfront Park showcases the smart civic planning that makes Beaufort such a delight: The town's best vistas are protected and preserved. There are thoughtful amenities (parking, public bathrooms, an amphitheater, picnic tables, and plenty of green lawn for kids and dogs to play on). Plus it's all conveniently adjacent to an enticing array of restaurants, coffee shops, and stores along Bay Street. What better nightcap than to sit and swing a spell after enjoying grilled scallops or top-notch sushi at Saltus River Grill?

Historic Craven Street. PHOTO: Peter Frank Edwards A rooftop sunset at Anchorage 1770. PHOTO: Peter Frank Edwards

Beaufort is subdued in the best possible way. She has the same deep history and stunning architecture that her nearby sisters, Charleston and Savannah, are celebrated for, but she's fine staying slightly out of the limelight. Wise and mature, Beaufort wears her age like the badge of honor it is. Her Lowcountry aura feels elemental, with more patina and less pomp. Along Short Street at the edge of The Old Point, moss-heaped limbs cradle historic mansions. Beaufort's treescape shouts of grandeur in whatever language oaks speak. Gardens and yards aren't so much manicured as they are magical. It's easy to see why Hollywood frequently comes calling (a stairwell at The Beaufort Inn features posters from major motion pictures filmed here). Longtime resident Pat Conroy was so smitten that he wrote, "When I came to Beaufort I had struck upon a land so beautiful I had to hunt for other words."

Not far from Short Street, the First African Baptist Church, a Gothic Revival gem built by freedmen in 1865, bears witness to Beaufort's African American, Gullah, and Reconstruction-era history. "Robert Smalls was a member here. This document notes his Sunday school attendance and that he put a few cents in the offering plate," says the Rev. Alexander McBride, a jovial former marine and the church's pastor of almost 20 years, pointing to framed, yellowing pages hanging behind the sanctuary. A statue of Smalls, an enslaved crewman who heroically commandeered a Confederate ship and later served as a U.S. Congressman, is less than a mile away at Tabernacle Baptist Church, where a monument to Harriet Tubman is also planned.

Both churches are worthy stops, along with the Penn Center across the bridge on St. Helena Island, the Gullah Art Gallery/Museum on Bladen Street, and the Legacy Art Gallery on Bay Street. Each place gives a deeper insight into the region's vibrant and enduring African American and Gullah Geechee culture. Providing an overview of Beaufort's past, Capt. Henry Brandt of Coastal Expeditions offers a boat tour that cruises through the area's Native American, Spanish, and French history; Union occupation; and a view of Camp Saxton's tabby ruins, where the Emancipation Proclamation was first read in South Carolina—all interspersed with musings on estuary ecosystems and the fecund marvels of pluff mud.

"You don't fully experience Beaufort until you see it from the water," Brandt claims. After watching dolphins curl and glide from the boat's bow and admiring the town's steeples rising in the background, I absolutely believe him.

Where to Stay

Anchorage 1770Boutique hotel in an 18th-century mansion with fine dining at the Ribaut Social Club; anchorage1770.com

The Beaufort InnHistoric main inn plus several cottages clustered around a courtyard; beaufortinn.com

What to Eat and Drink

Blackstone's CaféClassic diner-like options; blackstonescafe.com

Common GroundCoffee, lattes, baked goods, and sandwiches; commongroundbeaufort.com

Lowcountry Produce KitchenLocally sourced salads and sandwiches and a legendary tomato pie; lowcountryproduce.com

Chapman's GrocerGrab-and-go items plus beer, wine, and snacks; facebook.com/Chapmans-Grocer-Beaufort

Saltus River GrillFine dining with fresh local seafood, Southern fare, steaks, sushi, and a well-curated wine list; saltusrivergrill.com

Old Bull TavernGastropub featuring a lively bar scene anda lamb shank that does not disappoint; oldbulltavern.com

Where to Shop

Scout Southern MarketUnique gifts and home goods as well as delicious treats like the famous float at the Sweet Tea Bar; scoutsouthernmarket.com

Bachelor Hill AntiquesOffering treasures galore; bachelorhillantiques.com

Cabana22Coastal-chic boutique; cabana22.com

The Chocolate TreeConfections such as fudge, truffles, and peanut brittle; thechocolatetree.us

Legacy Art GalleryGullah-inspired works; legacyartgallery.com

What to Do

Hunting Island; southcarolinaparks.comSt. Phillips IslandPat Conroy Literary Center; patconroyliterarycenter.orgCoastal Expeditions; coastalexpeditions.comReconstruction Era National Historic Park; nps.govSpanish Moss Trail; spanishmosstrail.comCraven Street en route to The Old Point to explore historic neighborhoods

Beaufort SC named one of best small towns in America by CNN

Hey y’all. Beaufort did it again. Beaufort SC was just named one of the Best Small Towns in America by CNN, the most popular news outlet on Earth.“The vast majority of Americans may live in big cities (more than 70%, according to the 2020 census), but there’s an enduring affection for small towns and cities,” CNN said. “The United States boasts tens of thousands of towns and cities with fewer than 50,000 people. So there’s no lack of choice when it comes to visiting America’s ...

Hey y’all. Beaufort did it again. Beaufort SC was just named one of the Best Small Towns in America by CNN, the most popular news outlet on Earth.

“The vast majority of Americans may live in big cities (more than 70%, according to the 2020 census), but there’s an enduring affection for small towns and cities,” CNN said. “The United States boasts tens of thousands of towns and cities with fewer than 50,000 people. So there’s no lack of choice when it comes to visiting America’s diminutive destinations. But how do you choose which are the best?”

Enter, Beaufort, South Carolina.

“Founded in 1711, this charming town is the second-oldest in South Carolina, after Charleston. Stately mansions built before the Civil War surround the commercial hub along Bay Street,” the popular outlet published in its July 21st article 15 Best Towns & Cities in America, which named Beaufort SC #4 on its list.

In a nod to our waterfront dining, CNN said, “a pleasant park along the waters of the Beaufort River is just beyond the street lined with restaurants and shops. Shade and sustenance – with waterfront views – are available on the porches and patios at Plums, Saltus River Grill and Lowcountry Cider Co. & Superior Coffee.”

“Exhibits and artifacts inside the old Arsenal show how Beaufort was in Yankee hands for most of the Civil War, while the Reconstruction Era National Historical Park (one of the newest units of the US National Park System) spins tales of the post-war American South.”

“Beaufort is bullish on festivals including an oyster festival in January, Original Gullah Festival over Memorial Day weekend, and shrimp festival in September.”

And, not leaving out our cultural history, CNN added, “a string of barrier islands is just across the bridge. St. Helena is rich in the culture of the Gullah Geechee people, descendants of formerly enslaved West and Central Africans.”

And our beaches and amazing natural environment even got a mention. “Farther on, the state’s most popular park, Hunting Island State Park, boasts thousands of acres of maritime forest and marsh fronted by five miles of unspoiled beach.”

It’s good to be consistently included among the best, but this isn’t really that much of a surprise if you’ve ever visited Beaufort SC.

Beaufort is in some good company on the list, too. Other towns made the list include Saranac Lake, New York, Eureka Springs, Arkansas, Taos, New Mexico, Moab, Utah, Whitefish, Montana and Mackinac Island Village, Michigan.

The accolades really have been pouring in for Beaufort recently, and we couldn’t be more proud.

Trips To Discover recently named Beaufort the Best Summer Vacation Destination in South Carolina, one of the Most Friendliest Towns in the U.S. and one of the 20 Most Beautiful Small Towns in the U.S.

In 2022, Southern Living magazine named Beaufort the #1 Best Small Town in the South.

We’ve also recently been named one of the 25 Best Small Towns in America by Architectural Digest; the Most Charming Small Town in South Carolina; one of the Cutest Towns in the U.S. and the Most Quaint Town in South Carolina.

In addition to those, Southern Living magazine named the Old Sheldon Church ruins one of the South’s Most Beautiful Chapels; named Hunting Island State Park one of the Best State Parks in the South; and named downtown Beaufort’s Craven Street one of the South’s Most Beautiful Streets.

Read the full CNN article here.


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