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 Bluffton, 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 Bluffton 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.
We help clients overcome criminal charges in a wide range of cases, including the following:
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 Bluffton, 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.
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.
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.
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 Bluffton, SC.
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.
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.
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.
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 Bluffton, SC, present during questioning, and you should absolutely use that to your advantage.
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.
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.
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.
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 Bluffton and explore every possible angle to have it dismissed.
To begin that process, your criminal defense lawyer in Bluffton, SC, may seek answers to many questions, including:
If you are dealing with drug-related crimes in Bluffton 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 Bluffton 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?â
Drug charges based on possession in South Carolina are divided into three categories:
However, the state also has other drug charges that are not based on the weight of the drugs. These include:
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 Bluffton, SC, today to learn more about the complexities involved with drug cases in Bluffton and other cities in South Carolina.
Some of the most common drug charges we see at Theos Law include the following:
The simple answer to this question is a resounding "Yes.â 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.
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.
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 Bluffton, 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:
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.
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.
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,â and much more. Contact Theos Law Firm for more info on the degrees of Assault and Battery in South Carolina.
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:
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.
As Bluffton residents woke to a sunny morning, clean up efforts began to clear the various debris littering the streets. Amid the pine straw, tree limbs, Spanish moss and Palmetto fronds littering local yards and roadways, coastal tides also remained high.There were multiple clean-up efforts around the town.Community members came together to clean up after Idalia impacted the county with strong winds and flooding. ...
As Bluffton residents woke to a sunny morning, clean up efforts began to clear the various debris littering the streets. Amid the pine straw, tree limbs, Spanish moss and Palmetto fronds littering local yards and roadways, coastal tides also remained high.
There were multiple clean-up efforts around the town.
Community members came together to clean up after Idalia impacted the county with strong winds and flooding. They helped clean around local churches and neighbors were helping neighbors.
“I think they love the day,” said Bluffton Mayor Lisa Sulka. “It’s not hot, so there’s no reason to get in a bad mood.”
Of those who were not cleaning up fallen debris, many individuals around Old Town Bluffton were spotted enjoying the cooler than normal weather out on their golf carts and walking their dogs.
Christie McKenzie and 8-year-old Harrison McKenzie helped clean up fallen debris and palmetto fronds around Alljoy Road and the “Chisholm Cottage” as tree work was occurring behind the residence to clear and remove trees.
During his cleanup efforts, Harrison didn’t hesitate to talk to nearby community members as he continued to drag along various branches, moss and other fallen debris. His opinion on the matter, “I did not like that hurricane,” he said as he carried a “Harrison-sized” palmetto frond above his head and heaved it into the pile of other collected debris.
Luckily, there wasn’t too much damage from Idalia in Bluffton. The Bluffton Township Fire District were only called 10 times between 1 p.m. and 9:45 p.m. Wednesday about fallen trees or debris, according to the Fire District’s spokesperson Stephen Combs.
“Overall we dodged a bullet and thankfully everyone escaped rather unscathed,” said Combs.
As of noon on Thursday, all trees that were blocking roads were cleared, said Combs. However, Combs noted that the fire department does not have authority in gated communities and trees may still be blocking roads in them.
“We’re blessed, but I just always feel we got to be prepared,” said Sulka. “We take the steps, thinking it’s going to be a hit.”
The National Weather Service forecasts that Idalia will be at hurricane strength as it reaches southeast Georgia late Wednesday afternoon, then becoming a tropical storm as it tracks along the South Carolina coast. NWS also stated a flood watch in southeast South Carolina will be in effect through Wednesday.South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster declared a state of emergency Tuesday ahead of po...
The National Weather Service forecasts that Idalia will be at hurricane strength as it reaches southeast Georgia late Wednesday afternoon, then becoming a tropical storm as it tracks along the South Carolina coast. NWS also stated a flood watch in southeast South Carolina will be in effect through Wednesday.
South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster declared a state of emergency Tuesday ahead of potential impacts caused by Idalia. McMaster warned residents should take precautions despite the state likely missing the "worst of Hurricane Idalia’s impacts."
Track the storm here:How will Hurricane Idalia impact SC?
Hurricane Idalia:Gov. McMaster declares State of Emergency for South Carolina
Bluffton Mayor Lisa Sulka shared a letter to residents of her city.
Thank you for preparing for Hurricane/Tropical Storm Idalia.
Historically, the busiest time for storm activity happens in this area from late August through mid-October. Unfortunately, this storm activity is following its normal pattern and timeline.
As Mayor, I hope to give you the information you need to feel informed and keep you safe. Storm preparation is a group activity, and we need you to be mindful and take some actions for the best possible outcome.
Let me assure you that Town leaders and staff are on regular calls throughout each day to keep our communities as safe as possible. As we say each year, “We may be able to put a person on the moon, however, we cannot predict a hurricane with precision.” Nature has the final word about hurricanes, their path, and timing. Information is constantly changing – the antidote to a lack of control is to control what you can and be proactive.
This storm is most likely to bring standing water, power failures and downed trees.
Please keep posted to the Town’s social media platforms and we will be communicating new information as we receive it. Stay safe, Bluffton!
Mayor Lisa Sulka
USA Today contributed to this story.
If you think the Bluffton bakery Cupcakes 2 Cakes looks charming enough to be in a Lifetime movie, you wouldn’t be alone. It seems a Lifetime film crew agrees.The bakery, located in Berkeley Place near Cinemark Theater off Buckwalter Parkway, was used as a filming location earlier this year for an upcoming television romance titled “The Royal Bake Off.”Here’s the plot synopsis from IMDB.com: “The rivalries of baker...
If you think the Bluffton bakery Cupcakes 2 Cakes looks charming enough to be in a Lifetime movie, you wouldn’t be alone. It seems a Lifetime film crew agrees.
The bakery, located in Berkeley Place near Cinemark Theater off Buckwalter Parkway, was used as a filming location earlier this year for an upcoming television romance titled “The Royal Bake Off.”
Here’s the plot synopsis from IMDB.com: “The rivalries of bakers Allie and Marily intensify when the royal prince of Samavia rolls into town looking for a royal baker. When Allie and the prince hit it off, it seems he might be in the market for more than just a terrific cake.”
While the release date for the movie hasn’t been announced, the owners of the Bluffton bakery are launching some romantic ideas of their own in the meantime, shifting the focus of their business from primarily a custom-order bakery to a dessert bar.
“Custom orders were great, but I wanted to increase the foot traffic coming into the building,” explained Erica Ashby of Okatie, who operates the business with her mother, Linda Ashby, and daughter, Kaiya Medrano.
“We’ve expanded our lines. We’ve expanded our hours,” Erica said.
Cupcakes 2 Cakes started as a home-based business then moved into a Berkeley Place storefront in late 2021. The bakery shut its doors temporarily in July before reopening Aug. 1 with a refreshed purpose.
“We made the decision to shut down and rebrand,” Erica said, “partly because I wanted to change the aesthetic and the feel of the business, and I wanted to change kind of the direction in which we were going.”
Now, Cupcakes 2 Cakes offers at least 13 flavors of cupcakes on any given day. Customers also can choose from 10 or so different pastries or order cake slices and even Jack Frost ice cream.
“Of course, we still have our decorated sugar cookies and then our gourmet cookies,” Erica said.
Everything is done in small batches, she explained.
“We don’t use a lot of dyes. We don’t use extracts and emulsions. We use natural flavorings for our cupcakes. ... We put out our pastries, and when we are sold out, we are sold out for the day,” she said. “We don’t keep anything in the freezer.”
The trio of bakers hasn’t stopped creating extravagant celebration cakes for birthdays, anniversaries and weddings, and they use an edible ink printer to create logo cookies for corporate events.
New to the menu, though, is an expanded lineup of drinks.
“We do more coffee, more tea, more funky drinks like our cotton candy lemonade, our Shirley Temple floats, our bourbon coffee.” The bourbon coffee is non-alcoholic; it uses coffee beans aged in whiskey barrels from The Grind Roasters.
Cupcakes 2 Cakes has started opening in the evenings on Fridays and Saturdays and soon will add a menu of special dessert and drink pairings available during that time.
“After the movies, couples, singles, family members, if they’re looking for something to do after dinner, after the movies, they can come in and grab a mocktail that we will set up to pair with a specific dessert so that it’ll be a type of an experience.”
Customers can expect the evening hours will feature the same creativity evident in the current cupcake menu.
“We try to do out-of-the-box flavors,” Erica said, listing habenero peach, elote street corn, or chicken and waffles among some recent offerings.
“We tend to do kind of a crazy flavor each week, and people love us for our creativity,” she said. Holidays are particularly fun because the bakers like to take a theme and run with it.
Right now, they are learning all they can about beverage pairings.
“We’ve been hiring mixologists and baristas, and we’ve been attending classes just to get a better understanding of the chemistry and everything that’s involved with actually making drinks,” Erica said. “We want to do something that’s the show, fancy cocktails, smoked cocktails ... creative stuff.”
What: Cupcakes 2 Cakes
Where: 108 Buckwalter Parkway, Suite 2C, Bluffton
Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday; 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday; closed Sunday and Monday.
This story was originally published August 17, 2023, 4:00 AM.
Residents of South Carolina Lowcountry counties breathed a collective sigh of relief Thursday after Tropical Storm Idalia roared through on Wednesday, leaving flooded roads and some people without power.High winds and inches of rain from Idalia bombarded Beaufort, Jasper and Hampton counties Wednesday evening.The highest wind gust that w...
Residents of South Carolina Lowcountry counties breathed a collective sigh of relief Thursday after Tropical Storm Idalia roared through on Wednesday, leaving flooded roads and some people without power.
High winds and inches of rain from Idalia bombarded Beaufort, Jasper and Hampton counties Wednesday evening.
The highest wind gust that was seen in Beaufort County during the storm Wednesday was 66 mph, the National Weather Service reported, adding that wind speeds at Battery Point in the Beaufort area peaked at 57 mph, and the Beaufort Marine Corps Airspace reported wind gusts of 49 mph.
Rainfall in the Beaufort, Jasper, and Hampton County areas was measured at 2 to 8 inches, the NWS said.
As the inches of rain came down, nearby water sources swelled causing flooding in the Lowcountry.
Several roads and neighborhoods in Hampton County remained flooded Thursday, and Hampton County Emergency Management Director Susanne Peeples urged caution when traveling. The Savannah River area had a flood warning that extended into the afternoon.
Tray Hunter, marketing director at Palmetto Electric, reported that around 9,531 Beaufort County customers lost power during Idalia. In Jasper County, 3,121 residents were without power and 1,628 were without power in Hampton County. Hunter said that Palmetto Electric employees were able to restore power to all customers just after midnight going into Thursday, Aug. 31.
As of 9:15 a.m., Peeples said that 319 Dominion customers around the county were still without power. Some of these are "major outages," said Peeples, and several roads need to be cleared in order to repair the outages, so it was likely to be midday or later before power could be restored to some areas.
At 7 a.m. Thursday, Dominion had more than 6,000 customers statewide without power, with 978 of those customers in Jasper County, Peeples said.
Jasper County Emergency Services, in an email, said that it had closed the shelter early Thursday morning that had been opened as Hurricane Idalia bore down on the state.
"Jasper County Emergency Services is thankful for minimal impacts to our community," the release said.
The shelter had opened for those who needed a place to go during the hurricane. Volunteers worked Wednesday morning to close the shelter down with the help of several local agencies.
All Hampton County offices will reopen at 8 a.m. Friday. Hampton County School District (the public schools) were already scheduled to be closed for Friday and Monday due to the Labor Day holiday weekend, so they will reopen on Tuesday as scheduled.
Jasper County and Beaufort County schools will resume classes on Friday, Sept. 1.
Idalia made landfall at about 7:45 a.m. EDT Wednesday near Keaton Beach in Florida's Big Bend. The storm came ashore southeast of Tallahassee as a Category 3 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 125 mph.
Idalia remained a hurricane as moved north, northeast into Georgia before hitting the South Carolina Lowcountry as a tropical storm.
The storm spanned nearly 350 miles across, an area about the size of Colorado, which measures 380 miles across.
Satellite imagery captured Aug. 30-31, by NASA GOES East satellites, shows Idalia breaking up as it moved into the Atlantic. Hurricane Franklin can also be seen in the same imagery as the storms draw closer together.
USA Today contributed to this report.
BLUFFTON, S.C. (WTOC) - The Lowcountry is home to many flavors of cuisine, from local Gullah Geechee cooking to modern fusion restaurants.Those flavors continue to expand as the area grows.Many of those who have tried Chef Bernards’s food say it will take you on a cultural journey. He started in a food truck to now owning a full-blown restaurant.“The whole journey started through the pandemic, I thought I had got my dream job in Chicago but the whole world shut down, it had me really contemplate what to do ne...
BLUFFTON, S.C. (WTOC) - The Lowcountry is home to many flavors of cuisine, from local Gullah Geechee cooking to modern fusion restaurants.
Those flavors continue to expand as the area grows.
Many of those who have tried Chef Bernards’s food say it will take you on a cultural journey. He started in a food truck to now owning a full-blown restaurant.
“The whole journey started through the pandemic, I thought I had got my dream job in Chicago but the whole world shut down, it had me really contemplate what to do next.”
And the decision led him to South Carolina to be with family.
“So you know I made up my mind to come down to Bluffton, then I knew that this was a project that I definitely gonna do.”
During that time, he says he felt the need to expand people’s taste buds, so he started a food truck.
“I’m using my vision of the origin of our foods in my opinion from West Africa through the Caribbean to America.”
But he soon realized he wanted to bring something bigger than a truck to the community.
“Nobody is doing this flavor palette; I want to be bold I want to tell a story I want to showcase the love I have for cuisine. We are very passionate about what we are doing in bringing in a level of complexity and love to what we do. I think that there needs to be more places like that in Bluffton.”
And that is why a new restaurant he co-owns and cooks for is open for business in downtown Bluffton.
“Okan means heart in soul in the language of Yoruba. Yoruba is the first language of West Africa so I thought while I am trying to represent our roots and pathways of the forced migration, we should use a language that was spoken then.”
But he says he hopes the food talks for itself once people get a taste.
”Jollof rice you can’t have west African representation without Jollof rice and many other things cashew curry. Cashew curry has been one of our biggest hits.”
”Everything is done through food, so I am definitely trying to teach people a little bit of a history lesson. Rice was the cash crop rice if it hadn’t been for forced migration maybe rice wouldn’t be in this country. Different things like that. Just showcasing those little nuggets is my goal. Now, if you learn fantastic, if you don’t you had a fantastic meal so it works either way.”
Chef Bernard says that the restaurant will be open Wednesday through Sunday.
For more information visit their website here.
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