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Russell D. Hilton, Attorney at Law, LLC

What offenses are “Violent” in South Carolina?

When we think of a “violent” offense we think of someone getting beaten, shot, or otherwise seriously injured.  That type of injury is a good indicator of what might be or might not be a violent offense in South Carolina.  As is true with many areas of the law, such as sentencing, there are multiple statutes, cases, and charts that one has to consult to find what they are looking for.  Whether an offense is “violent” or non-violent is fortunately one of those areas where it’s pretty easy. 

What is a Violent offense in South Carolina?

Simple - whatever the legislature says it is.  That list can be found in 16-1-60, of the SC Code of Laws, as amended.

SECTION 16-1-60. Violent crimes defined.

For purposes of definition under South Carolina law, a violent crime includes the offenses of: (numerical list added)

1.     murder (Section 16-3-10);

2.     attempted murder (Section 16-3-29);

3.     assault and battery by mob, first degree, resulting in death (Section 16-3-210(B)),

4.     criminal sexual conduct in the second degree (Sections 16-3-652 and 16-3-653);

5.     criminal sexual conduct with minors, first, second, and third degree (Section 16-3-655);

6.     assault with intent to commit criminal sexual conduct, first and second degree (Section 16-3-656);

7.     assault and battery with intent to kill (Section 16-3-620);

8.     assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature (Section 16-3-600(B));

9.     kidnapping (Section 16-3-910);

10. trafficking in persons (Section 16-3-930);

11. voluntary manslaughter (Section 16-3-50);

12. armed robbery (Section 16-11-330(A));

13. attempted armed robbery (Section 16-11-330(B));

14. carjacking (Section 16-3-1075);

15. drug trafficking as defined in Section 44-53-370(e) or trafficking cocaine base as defined in Section 44-53-375(C);

16. manufacturing or trafficking methamphetamine as defined in Section 44-53-375; arson in the first degree (Section 16-11-110(A));

17. arson in the second degree (Section 16-11-110(B));

18. burglary in the first degree (Section 16-11-311);

19. burglary in the second degree (Section 16-11-312(B));

20. engaging a child for a sexual performance (Section 16-3-810);

21. homicide by child abuse (Section 16-3-85(A)(1));

22. aiding and abetting homicide by child abuse (Section 16-3-85(A)(2));

23. inflicting great bodily injury upon a child (Section 16-3-95(A));

24. allowing great bodily injury to be inflicted upon a child (Section 16-3-95(B));

25. criminal domestic violence of a high and aggravated nature (Section 16-25-65);

26. abuse or neglect of a vulnerable adult resulting in death (Section 43-35-85(F));

27. abuse or neglect of a vulnerable adult resulting in great bodily injury (Section 43-35-85(E));

28. taking of a hostage by an inmate (Section 24-13-450);

29. detonating a destructive device upon the capitol grounds resulting in death with malice (Section 10-11-325(B)(1));

30. spousal sexual battery (Section 16-3-615);

31. producing, directing, or promoting sexual performance by a child (Section 16-3-820);

32. sexual exploitation of a minor first degree (Section 16-15-395);

33. sexual exploitation of a minor second degree (Section 16-15-405);

34. promoting prostitution of a minor (Section 16-15-415);

35. participating in prostitution of a minor (Section 16-15-425);

36. aggravated voyeurism (Section 16-17-470(C));

37. detonating a destructive device resulting in death with malice (Section 16-23-720(A)(1));

38. detonating a destructive device resulting in death without malice (Section 16-23-720(A)(2));

39. boating under the influence resulting in death (Section 50-21-113(A)(2));

40. vessel operator's failure to render assistance resulting in death (Section 50-21-130(A)(3));

41. damaging an airport facility or removing equipment resulting in death (Section 55-1-30(3));

42. failure to stop when signaled by a law enforcement vehicle resulting in death (Section 56-5-750(C)(2));

43. interference with traffic-control devices, railroad signs, or signals resulting in death (Section 56-5-1030(B)(3));

44. hit and run resulting in death (Section 56-5-1210(A)(3));

45. felony driving under the influence or felony driving with an unlawful alcohol concentration resulting in death (Section 56-5-2945(A)(2));

46. putting destructive or injurious materials on a highway resulting in death (Section 57-7-20(D));

47. obstruction of a railroad resulting in death (Section 58-17-4090);

48. accessory before the fact to commit any of the above offenses (Section 16-1-40);

49. and attempt to commit any of the above offenses (Section 16-1-80).

Only those offenses specifically enumerated in this section are considered violent offenses.

Section 16-1-70 makes it just as clear that “for purposes of definition under South Carolina law a nonviolent crime is all offenses not specifically enumerated in Section 16-1-60.”

What are the implications of a violent offense?

Oftentimes people believe that the “violent” classification of an offense somehow changes the penalty.  Realistically, the “violent” status affects the placement of the offender within the department of corrections.  Sentencing is affected by other things, including whether the offense is considered “serious” or “most serious”, the prosecutor’s recommendation and the nature of the offense.

What to do if you’ve been charged with a violent offense?

While the classification of a violent offense has a small impact, it does very likely mean that the sentence for a violent offense can be extreme.  Hiring the right attorney to represent you or a loved one is an absolute must.  Find an attorney that will return your calls, is concerned about your case and most importantly, find and attorney experienced in handling violent offenses.  

If you or someone you know has been charged with a violent crime, contact me today.


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