Stephen L. Denton

Criminal Defense | Domestic Violence | Drugs | DUI/DUAC | Federal Crimes | Personal Injury | Traffic Violations | Vehicle Accident | White Collar Crimes

Steve Denton was formerly a narcotics and vice squad officer in the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Department. He worked his way into homicide investigations before he retired from law enforcement. He retired from law enforcement as a captain over the investigations division, supervising well over 100 detectives. He has maintained very important law enforcement contacts throughout the state based on his experience. At the age of 43, he went to law school, ventured over to the other side of the courtroom, and now represents defendants.

Through his law enforcement career, he knows first hand people need defending.  “Just because you are charged with a crime doesn’t mean you are guilty,” he says.

Steve grew up in Spartanburg, graduated from Spartanburg High School and went on to study criminal justice at Spartanburg Methodist College where he earned an Associates Degree, and followed that up with a Bachelor of Science from the University of South Carolina Upstate.

After college, he went straight to work at the Sheriff’s Department in his hometown, and after retiring with two decades of law enforcement on his resume, he entered the Charleston School of Law, receiving his Juris Doctor in 2010. He was admitted to the South Carolina State Bar that same year.

Steve practiced law on his own for a year before joining the law firm, where he practices criminal law. It is his dream job. He also teaches criminal justice, constitutional law and trial advocacy at Upstate.

Steve is also easy to find. Everyone has his phone number and few hesitate to use it. He has kept the same cell phone number for more than 20 years, dating all the way back to his law enforcement days. Call him, and he’ll answer his phone every time. Even at 2 or 3 o’clock in the morning.  “In law enforcement, you have to answer every call,” he says. “I have just kept up that practice.”

*Any result the law firm may have achieved on behalf of one client in one matter does not necessarily indicate similar results can be obtained for other clients.

Bar Admissions

South Carolina, 2010
U.S. District Court District of South Carolina, 2011


Spartanburg Methodist College, Spartanburg, South Carolina, 1982 – A.D.C.J. – Criminal Justice
University of South Carolina, Spartanburg, South Carolina, 1984 – B.A.
Charleston School of Law, Charleston, South Carolina, 2010 – J.D.

Professional Organizations

South Carolina Legal Elite Award, 2022
Charleston School of Law Forensic Club, 2010 – Present
South Carolina Bar
Southern Police Benevolence Association, 2010-Present

Honors and Recognition

South Carolina Legal Elite Award, 2022

Past Employment Positions

Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office, Criminal Investigator, 1986-2007
Founded the Major Crimes Unit in 2005
Captain of the Criminal Investigative and Forensic Unit, 2005-2007

Areas of Practice

Criminal Law
Federal Drug Crimes
South Carolina Drug Crimes
Speeding Tickets
White Collar Crimes

When I retired from the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Department I wanted to do something else that was meaningful. I always thought about being a lawyer, and I thought it was something I would enjoy. I know first-hand that people need defending because I saw it first-hand. Just because you’re charged with a crime doesn’t mean you’re guilty.

I like helping people—helping make people whole, helping make things right.

I like the people and the pace. I enjoy interacting with law enforcement, and a friendly fight—or battle—is never a bad thing. I love to ride my motorcycle, and I love the biker community—in fact, I’m often known as the “bikers lawyer,” and I appreciate that!

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