There are many different individuals who need assistance with criminal defense in South Carolina. They include anyone who has been accursed of a drug related crime (possession, trafficking, intending to sell), those charged with sexual crimes or white collar crimes, and drunk driving. If your crime falls under one of these areas, you'll need to find a good criminal defense attorney in South Carolina as soon as possible. However, affording legal representation may be difficult if you don't have many financial resources or assistance.
Finding a lawyer for criminal defense in South Carolina is no easy task. A court appointed attorney may not be exactly what you need. Often, these public defenders are more of a "one size fits all" defense lawyer and not specialized in criminal defense. If you need a good referral, one of the first places to contact is the South Carolina Bar Association. They maintain a Lawyer Referral Service that features a list of lawyers in South Carolina who are in good standing with the Bar. These lawyers work in all areas of legal defense and counsel.
When you are referred to legal counsel by the South Carolina Bar, you will have to pay a small fee for your first thirty minute consultation. However, this consultation will cost no more than $50, and it may, in fact, be free—the individual lawyer sets the charge, but all attorneys on the referral list have agreed to charge $50 or less for this first interview. If the first attorney isn't able to help you, you can contact the referral service again for another referral.
In addition to being referred to a lawyer through the bar association, you can seek out and final legal representation yourself. In this case, you'll be expected to pay all of your legal costs. If you can't afford an attorney and do not wish to work with the court appointed representation, you may be able to find a pro-bono attorney willing to take on your case. However, this rarely happens—pro-bono lawyers tend to work only with the very, very poor or those whose cases are expected to be unique or set precedent. In some cases, your only option may be to either accept the free court appointed legal representation or to pay for your own lawyer.