Coming under suspicion for involvement in a federal crime can be damaging to anyone’s prospects. However, for someone in a position of power or influence, it can be particularly devastating. Even suspected criminality can be highly damaging to their reputation and may even cost them their post. Furthermore, all this is before you even consider the possibility of conviction and the legal repercussions thereof.
In South Carolina, the sheriff of Lexington County is facing charges of fraud and federal bribery. The longest-serving sheriff in the state, he is the eighth to face legal troubles within the past four years. The other seven have been charged with or convicted of a number of offenses, including distributing firearms, falsifying police reports and even assault.
Holding such an important position within the state, sheriffs often come under scrutiny, so they have a particular obligation to keep their records clean. Even a small slip-up could be enough to cost them their job and their reputation. This particular sheriff has been accused of taking bribes to assist people who were illegally in the country. He is also alleged to have sold favors to friends. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges against him, but if convicted he could face serious penalties.
It is important to act quickly and sensibly when faced with criminal charges. You will want to ensure that the court hears your side of the story, especially if you are attempting to clear your name. An attorney could be helpful in building your defense and advising you on how best to present yourself to the court. With the right guidance, you may be able to avoid conviction, or at least pursue a lighter sentence for the charges laid against you.
Source: Huffington Post, “A Look At 7 South Carolina Sheriffs In Legal Trouble,” July 2, 2014