What is the Difference Between a Felony and Misdemeanor in South Carolina?

At the David W. Martin Law Group, our criminal defense attorney in Rock Hill knows there is a lot of confusion in our communities about what constitutes a misdemeanor charge and a felony charge.

Since South Carolina has statutory misdemeanors that can carry a sentence of more than one year in prison, our clients are often worried their charges may turn from a lesser charge to a felony, leaving them in danger of having a significant criminal record that can keep them from getting a job, financial aid, or even a loan.

Our Greenville criminal defense lawyer wants to help our residents understand the details — and the potential punishments — of the different misdemeanors and felonies, so they can make informed decisions about choosing a skilled defense attorney and how their future unfolds.

What is a Misdemeanor in South Carolina?

Of the two charges, a misdemeanor is a lesser criminal charge than a felony and is often accompanied by lesser penalties than felonies.

However, one major misconception in South Carolina is that misdemeanors cannot lead to jail time.

They absolutely can. And depending on the charge(s), misdemeanors may bring heavy fines, restitution, community service, mandatory counseling sessions for alcohol assessments or anger management, and the loss of driving privileges.

This is especially true if you choose to face the charges alone, without an experienced criminal defense attorney Fort Mill, South Carolina classifies misdemeanors at four different levels: Class A, B, C & Exempt Misdemeanors.

The charge, offenses, and penalties are as follows.

Charge: Class A Misdemeanors

Penalties: Punishable by up to 3 years in jail and a fine up to $3,000.

Offenses:

  • Contributing to the delinquency of a minor
  • Shoplifting(first offense)
  • Assault and battery(second degree)
  • Graffiti vandalism (third offense)
  • Receiving stolen goods (value over $2,000 up to $10,000)
  • Trespassing on the grounds of a domestic violence shelter

Charge: Class B Misdemeanors

Penalties: Punishable by up to 2 years in jail and a fine up to $5,000.

Offenses:

  • False statement or representation about income to a public housing agency
  • Possession of a narcotic controlled substance (first offense)
  • Cruelty to animals (third or subsequent offense)
  • Use of a firearm while under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance

Charge: Class C Misdemeanors

Penalties: Punishable by up to 1 year in jail and a fine up to $5,000.

Offenses:

Charge: Exempt Misdemeanors  

Penalties: Punishable by less than 12 months in jail

Offenses:

  • Child endangerment
  • Possession of marijuana
  • Possession of alcohol under age 21
  • Failure to register as a sex offender
  • Unlawfully passing a stopped school bus and causing great bodily injury

If you have been charged with a misdemeanor in South Carolina, contact our experienced criminal defense attorneys in Rock Hill today to learn how we can help you counter these charges, and pursue the best outcome for your unique circumstances.

What is a Felony in South Carolina?

Felonies are serious crimes that have severe consequences that are much harsher than misdemeanors.

Depending on the charge(s), felonies may bring steep fines, loss of certain privileges including the right to possess a firearm or vote, or, depending on the crime, registering as a sex offender.

South Carolina classifies felonies at six different levels: Class A, B, C, D, E & F felonies.

The charges, offenses, and penalties are as follows.

Charge: Class A Felony

Penalties: Punishable by up to 30 years in prison

Offenses:

  • Kidnapping
  • Bank robbery
  • Criminal sexual conduct, first degree (Rape)
  • Carjacking (with great bodily injury)
  • Robbery while armed with a deadly weapon
  • Murder

Charge: Class B Felony

Penalties: Punishable by up to 25 years in prison

Offenses:

  • Arson (second degree)
  • Drug trafficking
  • Money laundering
  • DWI resulting in a death
  • Failure to stop after a fatal car accident

Charge: Class C Felony

Penalties: Punishable by up to 20 years in prison

Offenses:

  • Robbing a person at an ATM
  • Sexual exploitation of a minor
  • Inflicting great bodily injury upon a child
  • Aggravated assault and battery
  • Unlawful driving by habitual offender resulting in death

Charge: Class D Felony

Penalties: Punishable by up to 15 years in prison

Offenses:

  • Burglary (second degree)
  • Common law (strong arm) robbery
  • Stalking within ten years of a conviction of harassment or stalking
  • Abuse or neglect of a vulnerable adult resulting in great bodily injury

Charge: Class E Felony

Penalties: Punishable by up to ten years in prison

Offenses:

  • Blackmail
  • Spousal sexual battery
  • First degree assault and battery
  • Accepting a bribe or bribing a public official
  • Receiving stolen goods (value $10,000 or more)
  • Malicious injury to real property (value $10,000 or more)
  • Malicious injury to animals and personal property (value $10,000 or more)

Charge: Class F Felony

Penalties: Punishable by up to five years in prison

Offenses:

  • Stalking
  • Filing a false tax return
  • Involuntary manslaughter
  • Perjury and subordination of perjury
  • Carrying weapons on school property
  • Voyeurism (second or subsequent offense)
  • Violation of a restraining order if order imposed due to a felony
  • Grand larceny (value over $2,000 up to $10,000)

If you have been charged with a crime in South Carolina, do not face the solicitor’s office alone. Contact our criminal defense attorneys in Fort Mill at the David W. Martin Law Group today by calling (803) 548-2468 to review your case with our experienced lawyers who are here to help you pursue positive results.

 

 

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