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Florence SC Laws FAQs

What are my rights?

You have the right to remain silent in order to avoid self-incrimination. You have the right to competent legal representation. You have the right to reasonable bail. You have the right to a fair and public trial. You have the right to be informed of the charges against you. You have the right to be confronted by the witnesses against you and to gather witnesses of your own. You also have a number of other rights and you should know that a criminal defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty. This means the prosecutor has the burden of proving (beyond a reasonable doubt) that you committed the criminal act(s) in question. This also means a defendant does not have to do anything or say anything to prove she/he is innocent.

What should I do if I have been arrested?

When you have been arrested, there are many things you should do. For example, you should remain silent and get an attorney who can advise you of your rights and help you with the complicated criminal legal system. There are also many things you shouldn’t do. You should never talk to anyone about the incident except for your lawyer. What you do or don’t do when you’ve been arrested can have a significant effect on the outcome of your case. Being polite and cooperative with law enforcement is highly recommended during arrest procedures. Never lie to authorities during the process; however, you don’t have to answer self-incriminating questions. Truthfully answer all questions about your identification (name, address, and birth date). Contact your attorney as soon as possible.

What happens after I am arrested?

The officers will transport you to some sort of detention facility (usually a jail or a police station), where you will be allowed to contact an attorney. You will be advised of the charges against you and you are entitled to a bond hearing within 24 hours. You will appear before a magistrate municipal judge who will conduct a bond hearing. At a bond hearing the judge determines whether or not you are a danger to the community or a flight risk. You can be released on bail (either cash or a bond) as security for your appearance in court, or you may be released on your own recognizance (your promise to come back to court when you are told).

How do I get out of jail after an arrest?

If bail has been set, the only way to get the person out of jail is to pay the bond. A bail bond is similar to insurance; it means that the suspect agrees to appear at all subsequent legal proceedings. Failure to appear at legal proceedings can result in forfeiture of the bond, the issuance of a bench warrant, and possibly the loss of subsequent bail privileges. If the judge believes there is a risk the defendant will flee, or if she/he has been charged with a serious crime like murder, bail may be denied.

What are my rights when the police question me?

You have the right to remain silent. But, if you choose to speak, anything you say can be used against you in court. If you decide to answer questions, you may stop answering them at any time. You have the right to consult with an attorney before answering any questions, and to have an attorney present during questioning.

Why should I hire a defense attorney?

The Constitution of the United States guarantees every criminal defendant the right to an attorney. A competent criminal attorney is your best asset after being charged with a crime. At Jebaily Law Firm, we know the laws and court processes relevant to your case, and can apply this knowledge to protect and maximize your legal interests.

What are the grounds for divorce in South Carolina?

The courts generally recognize four fault-based grounds for divorce, which are desertion, physical cruelty, adultery, and habitual drug and/or alcohol abuse. Additionally, there is one ground that is not based on a person’s fault, and that is commonly known as “Living Separate and Apart for One Year without Cohabitation.” Any family law attorney can tell you that in order for an individual to get a divorce, he or she must prove at least one of the above-mentioned grounds with legally-adequate evidence.

In what court do I file for divorce?

In the state of South Carolina, the Family Court handles divorce actions. Each county has its own Family Court, and divorce actions are tried in the county where the defendant lives at the start of the action or the county in which the parties last lived together. You should note that if the defendant is not a resident of South Carolina, then the action can be heard in the county where the plaintiff lives.

How much does divorce cost?

While many lawyers have a specific fee for an uncontested divorce, the fee for most divorces depends on the amount of time a lawyer and staff must spend working on the case. This will depend on whether the case is contested and whether there are issues of custody, support and property division. In certain cases, the court can order one spouse to pay all or part of the other spouse’s legal fees and related expenses. Your attorney will discuss the fees with you during the initial meeting.

What factors will the court take into account when determining child custody issues?

Of primary concern to the court is what’s in the best interest of the child or children involved; however, there are a number of additional factors that the court might take into consideration when granting custody, some of which are the following: issues of domestic violence; religious beliefs; who has been the child’s main caregiver; the preferences of the child (where appropriate); the parents’ fitness, character and attitude; any agreements made by the parties (if there are any), and much more. It is recommended that you speak with a family law attorney who is knowledgeable in the intricate details that are often involved with family law.

What is the typical Probate legal process?

  • An executor or administrator, who takes over the deceased affairs and property, is appointed by a court;
  • The heirs are identified and located;
  • The deceased’s property/assets are gathered and accounted for;
  • The deceased’s debts and creditors are paid;
  • Any income tax and estate tax returns are filed and the taxes paid;
  • The estate assets and property are sold to create cash to pay bills, taxes and expenses of the estate.
  • Payment/distribution is made of all remaining property, assets and cash to the approved heirs and beneficiaries.

What if the probate estate is in a different state?

It is common for heirs to reside in a different state from the deceased, and it rarely causes any difficulty.

How can I avoid Probate?

To avoid the need for probate, a Will or a Living Trust can be established. A Living Trust must be created prior to death and is designed to make sure all property and assets owned by a decedent are transferred at death to his or her heirs according to the decedent’s wishes.

What is a Living Trust?

Creating a Living Trust can be an effective way to ensure property and assets owned by the decedent are transferred to his or her heirs according to the decedent’s wishes. Having a Living Trust also helps protect individual and family privacy because the terms of a living trust are not disclosed to the public, unlike a Will. Additionally, Living Trusts most often don’t go through the Probate court system. Setting up a Living Trust may allow for quick distribution of property and assets, whereas those that go through the Probate process can take months or even years to distribute due to required legal and court proceedings. There are sometimes a number of tax benefits to having a living trust, especially for those with a large number of assets.

Although there are some advantages to a using a Living Trust instead of a Will, there are also disadvantages. The cost of setting up a Living Trust and administering it prior to death is usually higher than the cost of drafting a Will. If you are thinking about creating a Living Trust instead of a Will, we recommend meeting with one of our qualified attorneys to find out which option will work best for you.

How do I petition for Probate?

A Probate Petition must be filed in the county where the decedent was living at the time of death, no matter where he or she passed away. When the “Petition for Probate” has been filed, a hearing is scheduled in Probate court. The hearing (which starts the Probate process) is usually scheduled on a day three-to-six weeks after the filing date. The length of time between filing the Petition for Probate and the hearing can vary greatly depending on the size of the county and the number of judges and support staff employed by the Probate court. Additionally, the Probate process requires that a “Notice of Probate Hearing” be sent to all the decedent’s heirs as well as everyone mentioned in the Will. Completing the notice requirement can affect the timetable for the initial Probate hearing.

What is Social Security Disability?

Social Security Disability is a part of the Social Security System and is available for workers who have paid Social Security taxes for at least 10 quarters. If you become disabled according to the Social Security guidelines, you may be eligible to receive Social Security benefits. If you have not paid Social Security taxes for the required length of time, but are disabled and meet the financial guidelines, you may be eligible for Supplementary Security Income (SSI).

What is considered disabled?

The Social Security Administration defines a “disabled” person as one who is disabled by a physical or mental disease, injury or condition (or combination of those three) for at least one year; and that disease, injury or condition must prevent you from performing any substantial work (not just your usual work). How pain affects your work also is considered. Meeting these requirements can be difficult because the Social Security regulations require medical documentation (such as X-Rays, tests, or other forms of medical documentation) not just a doctor’s opinion. The Social Security Administration may even require additional examinations (at their expense). If you refuse to cooperate in these extra evaluations, your claim likely will be denied.

What kinds of disabilities do I have to have in order to qualify for benefits?

Generally speaking, you must be completely disabled in order to get Social Security Disability benefits, which means that you have to be suffering from a condition that keeps you from being able to do any substantial gainful work. Additionally, your disability attorney will advise that you must have paid enough into the Social Security system for a certain length of time. Specifically, individuals will qualify if they have paid into the system for at least 40 quarters, 20 of which should have occurred within the last 10 years prior to you becoming disabled.

Disabilities include (but are not limited to) the following conditions:

  • Anxiety and Depression
  • Back, neck, and joint pain
  • Breathing disorders
  • Finger/Hand/Wrist pain
  • Heart condition
  • Memory loss
  • Migraines
  • Seizures
  • Stroke
  • Vision/Hearing loss
  • Weakness/Fatigue

What benefits will I get?

According to your records, you will receive a monthly check from the date you applied or became eligible, and you also will be eligible for medical benefits. If you have a dependent spouse and/or children, they also could be eligible for additional benefits.

When should I apply?

If you are injured, you should apply as soon as your doctor determines your condition will prevent you from working for at least one year. If you meet the guidelines, you are entitled to these benefits as a contributor to the Social Security Trust Fund, and you should take advantage of them if you need them.

How do I apply?

You can apply online by clicking here and following the instructions. By applying online, you do not need to wait for an appointment, and you can apply from the convenience of any computer and save money by avoiding multiple trips to your local Social Security office. If you choose not to apply online, your local Social Security office will help you with the application process. You will need to call your local Social Security office and schedule an appointment to file your application for benefits. The Social Security office will take your application either in person, or by telephone, whichever is most convenient for you. If you have a dependent spouse or children, it will be necessary for you to fill out an application on their behalf as well. The Social Security office will then mail you forms to be completed prior to your appointment with them. These forms will require such information as the medications you are currently taking, the name of your doctor(s) and addresses as well those of your previous employers. If this material is provided to the Social Security office when your claim is made, it will help speed up the process.

Do I need the help of a lawyer?

A person can easily begin the application process without the help of an attorney. However, each year many people are needlessly denied Social Security and SSI benefits. If you are denied benefits but feel you meet the requirements, you may need an experienced attorney to review your case and/or develop and argue your case of appeal.

What types of accidents are covered?

To be eligible to workers’ compensation benefits, you must have been injured within the scope and course of your employment. All injuries are not “accidents.” Some are caused by repetitive motion, exposure to harmful substances, or extraordinary or unusual conditions of the job. If the work you do causes pain that you believe needs medical attention, we might be able to help. Generally, most injuries suffered by an employee during working hours at the employer’s place of business would qualify.

What do you do if you have a work-related injury?

If you are injured on the job, you should report the injury to your supervisor immediately. The workers’ compensation laws require that you report your injury within 90 days from the date of the injury. When reporting the injury, you should note the time, place of injury, how you were injured, the injuries received, and names of witnesses. You should also keep a copy of this information. To receive benefits your claim must be filed with the S.C. Worker’s Compensation Commission within two years from the date of injury.

How do I file a workers’ comp claim?

If your employer doesn’t report your accident or denies that you’ve been hurt, you can file a claim on your own. You will want to file your own claim if you think that you did not get all of the benefits due to you. In order to file a claim, you will need to turn in a Form 50 or Form 52 to the Workers’ Compensation Commission.

Will I be fired from my job if I file a claim?

An injured worker who is fired for filing a workers compensation claim may have a cause of action for wrongful termination and retaliatory discharge. If this occurs, by all means speak with an attorney as soon as possible.

How will my compensation rate be calculated?

Generally speaking, workers are entitled to workers’ compensation at a rate of 66-2/3 percent of his or her average weekly wage (which is based on the previous four quarters before you sustained your injury) but no more than the maximum average weekly wage that is pre-determined by the South Carolina Employment Security Commission on a yearly basis. A workers’ compensation attorney can further advise you about your possible compensation rate if you have additional questions.

Is my employer solely responsible?

In some cases, a third party may also be responsible for damages. For instance, if you are injured by a defective piece of equipment or if you are in a car accident while working for your employer, there may be a case against the manufacturer of the equipment or against the other driver.

How do I pay an attorney?

Before a lawyer can charge a fee on a workers’ compensation case, the fee must be approved by the S.C. Workers Compensation Commission. Commission rules require that no lawyer’s fee exceed one-third of the amount recovered. The one-third must be based on the amount disputed and may not be calculated on weekly benefits the employer voluntarily pays to the injured worker.

What about my benefits?

Benefits are provided to you through the insurance carrier for your employer. You may be entitled to the following:

  • You should be paid for the time your doctor has you out of work. However, you are not entitled to compensation until you have been out of work at least 8 days.
  • Your medical bills should be paid by your employer or your employer’s insurance carrier.
  • You should be reimbursed for mileage to and from your doctor’s appointments. You must travel at least 5 miles each way in order to be reimbursed for mileage.
  • Your prescription medications and approved medical supplies should be paid for by your employer or the insurance carrier.
  • Under the law, you may be entitled to additional compensation if you are permanently injured, even if you can still work.

How do I know if I have a workers’ compensation claim?

There are several things we must know to determine if you have a workers’ compensation case:

  • You must have been hurt on the job.
  • The injury must have occurred while working within the scope and course of your employment.
  • You should seek advice from an experienced attorney. At Jebaily Law Firm, P.A., we will meet with you for a consultation to discuss your case. We have more than 30 years of experience in workers’ compensation.
  • Schedule a medical examination. We will work with you and the insurance company to arrange an appointment with a doctor or specialist to evaluate your health and work-related conditions. Exposure to dust, fumes, asbestos, chemicals, etc. may cause conditions that you are not even aware exist. An examination can help protect your health and your legal rights.

Can I file a claim against the individual who caused my injury?

Typically, whenever an individual gets hurt as a result of someone else’s negligence, the injured individual can file a claim against the person or persons (or entity) that caused his or her injuries. In general, the success of personal injury claims greatly depends on a person’s liability, the damages incurred, and whether or not you will be able to collect from the negligent defendant or entity. Any injury attorney will tell you that even if you bear some of the fault for your injuries, you might still be entitled to receive partial damages.

How will I know if I need an attorney?

Not all cases require the use of an attorney. In fact, there are times when an attorney is not needed at all, such as in the case of very small claims. In South Carolina, a small claims court will handle claims of up to $5,000; therefore, if your injury is a small one that will not subject you to being incapacitated in any way (or require extensive medical care), you might want to settle the case on your own in a small claims court.

In the alternative, you may want to consult with an injury lawyer if you have sustained a major injury or if you’re unsure about the possible outcome of the injury incurred. These types of cases can be complicated, and one of our attorneys will have the legal know-how, the time, and the resources to effectively handle your claim. Any learned personal injury attorney also will be able to properly assess the value of your claim and fulfill all of the state rules, requirements and deadlines that must be followed.

Should I give the insurance company my statement without first speaking to an attorney?

When it comes to auto accidents, it is always in your best interest to provide the insurance company with only that information that is required by law. You will need to send the FR-10 form to the insurer after an auto accident, but you certainly should not make any recorded statements without the benefit of an attorney (unless you’re contractually required).

How much do you have to drink for a DUI in South Carolina?

Under 21: .02% BAC | 21 or Older .08% BAC | Commercial .04% BAC

How many drinks does it take to reach the legal limit in South Carolina?

There isn’t one correct answer to this question, there are calculators and tables that can serve as a reference; however, these devices cannot predict with certainty what your exact BAC level will be at a given time. There are many factors that contribute to an individual’s BAC score, including weight, sex, body-fat percentage and the time interval between drinks. Studies have shown that a person’s BAC could go up between .01 and.05 percent for each drink taken. The fact is it takes very little alcohol to become legally drunk and each drink taken is a another step closer to becoming an “impaired” driver. The best answer is not to drink and drive. The State of South Carolina has strict laws for drunk driving, and when you drink and drive in South Carolina, you risk your freedom, finances and your future.

What if you refuse to take a chemical test in South Carolina?

South Carolina’s implied consent law means that any person who drives a motor vehicle on the roadways of the state is considered to have given their consent to a chemical test of their blood, breath or urine if they are detained by law enforcement who believes the driver was driving under the influence of drugs, alcohol or both. If you refuse to submit to such a test, your driver’s license will be immediately suspended for at least 90 days. In addition you can still be charged and convicted of a DUI without a chemical test if the arresting officer convinces the court that you were intoxicated while operating a motor vehicle.

Can you plead to a lesser offense than DUI in South Carolina?

No, a plea bargain for a conviction of “wet reckless” (reckless driving involving alcohol) is barred by statute in South Carolina.

What are the penalties for operating a motor vehicle while under influence of alcohol or drugs?

FIRST OFFENSE

  • Fine of $400 or imprisonment for not less than 48 hours or more than 30 days.
  • In lieu of the 48 hour minimum imprisonment, the court may allow you to perform 48 hours of public service. If your alcohol concentration is at least 0.10% but less than 0.16%
  • Fine of $500 or imprisonment for not less than 72 hours or more than 30 days.
  • In lieu of the 72 hour minimum imprisonment, the court may provide for 72 hours of public service. If your alcohol concentration is 0.16% or more
  • Fine of $1,000 or imprisonment for not less than 30 days or more than 90 days.
  • In lieu of the 30 day minimum imprisonment, the court may provide for 30 days of public service. A first offense charged for this item may be tried in a magistrate court.

SECOND OFFENSE

  • Fine of not less than $2,100 nor more than $5,100
  • Imprisonment for not less than 5 days nor more than one year. If your alcohol concentration is at least 0.10% but less than 0.16% :
  • Fine of not less than $2,500 or more than $5,500.
  • Imprisonment for not less than 30 days or more than two years. If your alcohol concentration is 0.16% or more
  • Fine of not less than $3,500 nor more than 46,500
  • Imprisonment for not less than 90 days or more than three years. A person convicted of or pleading guilty to a second or subsequent DUI must surrender the registration and license plate for all motor vehicles owned or registered to him/her for a period of 30 days unless the vehicle has been confiscated. A fee of $50 must be paid to the DMV for each motor vehicle suspended before any of the registrations or license plates may be registered or before the motor vehicle may be released pursuant to subsection.

THIRD OFFENSE

  • Fine of not less than $3,800 nor more than $6,300
  • Imprisonment for not less than 60 days or more than three years. If your alcohol concentration is at least 0.10% but less than 0.16%
  • Fine of not less than $5,000 nor more than $7,500
  • Imprisonment for not less than 90 days or more than four years. If your alcohol concentration is 0.16% or more
  • Fine of not less than $7,500 nor more than $10,000
  • Imprisonment for not less than six months nor more than five years; or

FOURTH OR SUBSEQUENT OFFENSE

  • Imprisonment for not less than one year nor more than five years. If your alcohol concentration is at least 0.10% but less than 0.16%
  • Imprisonment for not less than two years or more than six years. If your alcohol concentration is 0.16% or more
  • Imprisonment for not less than three years or more than seven years. How many years can separate the offenses? Only those violations which occurred within a period of ten years including and immediately preceding the date of the last violation constitute prior violations.

What is an ignition interlocking device?

The Department of Motor Vehicles must require the person, if he or she is a subsequent offender and a resident of this State, to have installed on any motor vehicle the person drives, an ignition interlock device designed to prevent driving of the motor vehicle if the person has consumed alcoholic beverages. The length of time that an interlock device is required to be affixed to a motor vehicle following the completion of a period of license suspension imposed on the offender is two years for a second offense, three years for a third offense, and the remainder of the offender’s life for a fourth or subsequent offense.

The cost of the interlock device must be borne by the offender. This fee is not to exceed $360 per year for each year the person is required to drive a vehicle with an ignition interlock device. The interlock device must be inspected every 60 days to verify that the device is affixed to the motor vehicle and properly operating. This report will indicate the offender’s alcohol content at each attempt to start the vehicle during each 60-day period. If your alcohol level is too high, the vehicle will not start.

The offender shall be subject to an Interlock Device Point System managed by the Department of Probation, Parole and Pardon Services. An offender receiving a total of two points will have their length of time that the interlock device is required extended by two months. An offender receiving a total of three points will have their length of time that the interlock device is required extended by four months and must submit to a substance abuse assessment and successfully complete the plan of education and treatment, or both, as recommended by the certified substance abuse program. If you do not complete the recommended plan, or do not make progress toward completing the plan, the Department of Motor Vehicles must suspend your driver’s license until the plan is completed or progress is being made toward completing the plan. An offender receiving a total of four points shall have their license suspended for a period of one year and submit to a substance abuse assessment and successfully complete the plan of education and treatment, or both, as recommended by the certified substance abuse program. Completion of the plan is mandatory as a condition of reinstatement of the person’s driving privileges. The Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services is responsible for notifying the Department of Motor Vehicles of an individual’s completion and compliance with education and treatment programs.

How much does a personal injury lawyer cost?

We take cases on a contingency fee basis. You will owe no fees unless we win your case through a settlement or verdict. This means you do not have any upfront costs.

If I meet with you, will you charge me?

We offer a free case evaluation and consultation. We will discuss what happened to you, who was responsible, and the extent of any damages. You need not worry that you will be forced to pay for our initial meeting.

Has Jebaily handled cases similar to mine?

Our six attorneys have a wide range of practice areas. While each case we handle is unique, all of our clients benefit from our more than 100 years of shared legal experience.

Will I work with an attorney directly?

Yes. Your attorney will work with you from the beginning of your case through its resolution. We focus on personal, individualized service, and we will never see you as just another case number. You will get to know your lawyer as a person and work together as partners.

Who else will be involved in my case?

We work with various experts, including investigators, consultants, and medical experts who can supply vital information for your injury case. We mount a coordinated effort by a team dedicated to your case.

Will you be accessible and keep me informed about the progress of my case?

We believe that it is important to have a close working relationship with those we represent. We are available to answer your questions and concerns. Personal injury cases vary in the time it takes to reach a resolution, and there may be settlement offers, challenges,or other issues that arise. We will keep you fully informed as your case progresses toward resolution.

What should I bring to our first meeting?

If you have medical records, police reports, copies of claims you have filed, communications from the insurance companies, or other documents that could be helpful to your case, we urge you to bring then to our initial meeting.

How much is my case worth?

There is no way to determine the value of a case until we review the facts. Cases of serious or catastrophic injury involve large damages. A person who can no longer function as in the past may require ongoing medical care, years of rehabilitation, medical equipment, and a refit of the home, among other necessities. Pain and suffering and loss of quality of life also must be evaluated in monetary terms.

What if the insurance company offers a low settlement? What will your firm do?

We are steadfast in the pursuit of justice for our clients. Should the insurance company fail to make a fair offer within a reasonable period of time, we are more than willing to take the case to court for a decision. We know you deserve a fair settlement, and we don’t back down.

Should I give the insurance company access to my medical records?

Insurance companies are extremely interested in finding any way to reduce the value of your claim and will attempt to identify any medical condition that you had prior to the accident. We recommend that you refer any insurance company requests for records to your lawyer at Jebaily Law Firm where you rights and interests will be protected.