A District Attorney (DA) is the prosecuting officer of a criminal case (i.e., the official who represents the government in the prosecution of criminal offenses). In South Carolina, the DAs are referred to as Circuit Solicitors and their job is to file charges and prosecute cases against criminal defendants in court. This means that they often work closely with law enforcement in obtaining evidence and building a case.
The Job of a Prosecutor
Prosecutors have some degree of discretion in deciding whether to bring charges and, if so, what charges to bring and what punishments to seek. There are definitely times when a defendant may have a say in that decision-making process, especially with a strong defense attorney advocating on their behalf. After all, prosecutors often do enter into plea negotiations with defendants to resolve cases before trial.
It's also important to remember that defendants don't have the burden to prove their innocence. Instead, it's prosecutors who have the burden to prove each element of a crime, beyond any reasonable doubt. In making their case, they have to rely on evidence that can be admitted in court. This is also where a strong advocate can be an advantage because it's up to a defendant and his counsel to challenge questionable evidence, that is, evidence which was not properly obtained (i.e. without a warrant), or which might be tainted or unreliable. Defendants can challenge evidence by making motions to the judge, but questionable evidence can also help make a stronger case for a plea bargain. In any event, if you plan on communicating with the prosecutor in your case, the best way to protect yourself is by doing so through your attorney.
South Carolina Prosecutors Offices by Circuit
Below are links to some of the prosecutor's offices in South Carolina. All of its counties are organized into 16 judicial circuits, each of which has a Circuit Solicitor's office and there is also a separate prosecutor's office for the city of Charleston. To suggest a resource for this page, please e-mail us.
Get Legal Help with Your Criminal Case in South Carolina
As you can see, the district attorney is the prosecuting officer of a criminal case, and DA has some discretion in whether to bring charges against someone. However, before you reach out to the district attorney's office, it's important to discuss your case with an experienced criminal defense lawyer who can give you an honest assessment of the evidence as well as strategies going forward.