Falsifying Information to Police

Falsifying Information to Police

What happens if you give false information to police in South Carolina? 

There are several criminal charges in South Carolina for giving false information to police in different situations. If you have been charged with a crime for lying to police, you may have defenses to the charges – or there may be options available to you that would allow you to avoid a conviction. 

Below, we will discuss what might happen if you give false information to police including:

  • Charges for filing a false police report,
  • Charges for making a false complaint to the police, 
  • Charges for misrepresenting your identification to a police officer, and
  • Potential penalties for giving false information to police. 

What Happens if You Give False Information to Police in South Carolina? 

Did you know that police are allowed to lie to you? If it will help them to get a “confession” in an interrogation, the courts have no problem with cops lying to us. 

If you lie to the police, however, that’s something different entirely. You could be arrested and charged with:

  • Filing a false police report,
  • Making a false complaint, or
  • Misrepresenting your identification to the police.

Filing a False Police Report

It is against the law to falsely report a crime – whether it is a felony or misdemeanor – in South Carolina. To be convicted of filing a false police report, you must have knowingly made the false report of a crime. 

For example, what if you called the police and reported that your neighbor broke into your house (because you thought you saw your neighbor breaking into your house and running away through the backyard), but, when the police arrive, they discover that your neighbor was actually chasing his dog who had escaped into your yard? 

You made a false report, but it was not made knowingly, so you are not guilty of filing a false police report. 

On the other hand, if you call the police and report that your neighbor broke into your house, and the police discover that 1) there is no evidence that your neighbor broke into your house and 2) there is evidence that you had a grudge against your neighbor and made the false police report to have him wrongfully arrested, you could be convicted of filing a false police report. 

False Complaints to Police, Rescue Squad, Fire Department

A related charge is making a false complaint to police, a rescue squad, or a fire department. 

If you 1) falsely tell a law enforcement officer (even if no police report is filed) that someone has committed a crime, or 2) falsely tell a rescue squad or fire department that there is a health emergency or a fire, you can be arrested and charged with making a false complaint. 

What if you just pull a fire alarm as a joke? 

South Carolina has a separate criminal law that prohibits causing a false alarm with a fire alarm or police alarm box, that carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 60 days in jail. 

Misrepresenting Identification to Police

It is also a crime to misrepresent your identification to a police officer “during a traffic stop or for the purpose of avoiding arrest or criminal charges.”

This could mean giving the officer a fake ID (which may result in additional charges) or just lying to the officer about your identity if it is done 1) during a traffic stop or 2) for the purpose of evading arrest. 

Potential Sentences for Providing False Information to Police

What are the potential penalties for providing false information to police in South Carolina? 

Filing a False Police Report

SC Code § 16-17-722 says that filing a false police report is a felony that carries up to five years in prison and/or a one thousand dollar fine if the false report was concerning a felony. 

If the false report was concerning a misdemeanor, the charges are also a misdemeanor that is punishable by up to 30 days in jail and/or a $500 fine. 

False Complaints to Police, Rescue Squad, Fire Department

SC Code § 16-17-725 says that making a false complaint to a police officer about the commission of a crime (when no police report is filed) or giving false information to a rescue squad or fire department about a health emergency or fire is a misdemeanor that carries up to 30 days in jail or a $200 fine. 

Misrepresenting Identification to Police

Misrepresenting your identification to a police officer is also covered by SC Code § 16-17-725. Whether the false information was given to the officer 1) during a traffic stop or 2) to evade arrest or avoid criminal charges, it is a misdemeanor that carries up to 30 days in jail or a $200 fine. 

Questions About Criminal Charges for Giving False Information to Police in South Carolina? 

If you have been arrested and charged with giving false information to police in South Carolina, whether it involves filing a false police report, making a false complaint, or misrepresenting your identification to police, you may have defenses that you aren’t aware of. 

Get an experienced criminal defense lawyer on your side immediately who can begin preparing your defense, work to get your case dismissed, negotiate on your behalf, and try your case to a jury when necessary. 

Call 843-761-3840 or use this form to contact us today to discuss your case and start working towards the best possible outcome for you.

Ready To Speak With An Attorney?

Let’s discuss the details of your case and see if we can help.

Weapons Charges in SC: Pointing & Presenting & Unlawful Carry

Weapons Charges in SC: Pointing & Presenting & Unlawful Carry

Weapons charges in South Carolina cover a broad range of criminal offenses based on the unlawful possession or unlawful use of firearms.

 

If you are a gun owner, you should know South Carolina’s gun laws – even a simple mistake involving carrying a firearm in the wrong manner or firing it in the wrong place could result in weapons charges, potential jail time, and the loss of your right to own and carry a firearm. 

Below, we will cover some of the more common weapons charges that we see in South Carolina, including:

  • Unlawful carry – carrying or storing your firearm in the wrong place,
  • Unlawful possession – possession of a firearm by someone who is prohibited,
  • Pointing or presenting – just showing your firearm in a threatening manner can be a crime, and
  • Discharging a firearm at or into a home or vehicle. 

Criminal Weapons Charges in South Carolina

When and where can you carry a handgun in South Carolina? When and where can you shoot your handgun in South Carolina?

There are very specific laws regarding the answers to these questions. Keep reading to find out what you can’t do.

South Carolina Weapons Charges: Unlawful Carry and Unlawful Possession

As a starting point, it is a crime in South Carolina to carry a handgun, whether it is concealed or openly carried, unless you fall within one of the statutory exceptions

What are the exceptions? 

Unlawful Carry Charges in South Carolina

SC Code Section 16-23-20 lists the circumstances when someone can carry a handgun in South Carolina, including:

  • Law enforcement officers when they are carrying out their official duties, 
  • Members of the armed forces when they are on duty,
  • Members of gun clubs and their guests when authorized by law to purchase or receive firearms for the purpose of target shooting or gun collecting when they are at or traveling to or from target practice, shows, or exhibits,
  • Licensed hunters or fisherman while hunting or fishing or while traveling to or from the place where they are hunting or fishing,
  • Persons “regularly engaged in the business of manufacturing, repairing, repossessing, or dealing in firearms” when they are “possessing, using, or carrying a handgun in the usual or ordinary course of the business,”
  • Guards who are authorized by law to carry handguns while protecting US government property,
  • Military or civil organizations while parading or traveling to and from meeting places, and
  • Prison guards while on duty. 

Can you carry a handgun in your home? 

You can possess or carry a handgun in your home, on your property, or on someone else’s property if you have the property owner’s permission. 

Can you carry a handgun in your car? 

You can have a handgun in your car, but, if you do not have a concealed weapon permit (CWP), the handgun must be in a:

  • Closed glove compartment,
  • Closed console,
  • Closed trunk, or
  • Closed and secured container in the luggage compartment. 

To simplify things even further, the handgun MUST be in a latched container unless you have a CWP.

You are also allowed to carry a handgun from your vehicle to another place where it is legal to have it, like your home, a firing range, or your business. 

Can you carry a handgun on your motorcycle? 

You can carry your handgun on a motorcycle if it is secured in the saddlebags or another closed accessory container attached to the motorcycle. 

What if I have a concealed weapon permit?

If you have a CWP, you can carry a firearm, whether concealed or openly carried (see South Carolina’s Open Carry with Training Act that went into effect August 15, 2021), in all locations that are not otherwise prohibited by South Carolina law. 

In a vehicle, your CWP also allows you to secure your weapon under a seat or in any open or closed container in the passenger compartment. 

What are the Penalties for Unlawful Carry? 

SC Code Section 16-23-50(A)(2) makes unlawful carry a misdemeanor punishable by one year in prison and/or a fine of up to one thousand dollars. 

Unlawful Possession of a Handgun

Weapons charges in South Carolina include the possession of a handgun by someone who is prohibited, and it is also a crime to “knowingly sell, offer to sell, deliver, lease, rent, barter, exchange, or transport for sale into this State” a handgun to a prohibited person. 

This includes anyone who:

  • Has been convicted of a crime of violence,
  • Is a fugitive from justice,
  • Is a habitual drunkard, drug addict, or has been “adjudicated mentally incompetent,”
  • Is a member of a subversive organization,
  • Is under the age of eighteen (but this does not apply to minors under the supervision of a parent or adult instructor), or
  • Has been declared unfit to carry a firearm by order of a circuit court judge or county court judge. 

Unlawful possession weapons charges also apply to the possession of guns “from which the original serial number has been removed or obliterated.” 

Unlawful possession of a weapon in South Carolina is a felony that carries up to five years in prison and/or a fine of up to two thousand dollars. 

South Carolina Weapons Charges: Pointing or Presenting and Illegal Discharge 

There are several other weapons charges in South Carolina – two of the more common charges we see are pointing and presenting and illegal discharge (or drive-by shooting). 

Pointing or Presenting Charges in South Carolina

SC Code Section 16-23-410 states if you “present” (display) a firearm to someone, or if you point a firearm at someone, it is a felony punishable by up to five years in prison or a fine at the court’s discretion. 

It doesn’t matter if the firearm is loaded or unloaded, but you cannot be convicted of pointing or presenting if you were acting in self defense or if you were pointing or presenting the firearm as part of a theatrical performance. However, that does not mean you cannot be charged for such.

Illegal Discharge 

The South Carolina law that covers “drive-by shootings,” SC Code Section 16-23-440(A), makes it a crime to fire a gun (or cause the gun to be fired) at or into:

  • A “dwelling house, other building, structure, or enclosure regularly occupied by persons,” or
  • A “vehicle, aircraft, watercraft, or other conveyance, device, or equipment while it is occupied.”

In either case, illegal discharge of a firearm is a felony punishable by up to ten years in prison and/or a fine of up to one thousand dollars. 

Questions About Weapons Charges in South Carolina? 

If you own a firearm, make sure you know the gun laws in South Carolina. And, if you have been charged with a weapons charge in South Carolina, get an experienced criminal defense lawyer on your side immediately who can begin preparing your defense, work to get your case dismissed, negotiate on your behalf, and try your case to a jury when necessary. 

Call 843-761-3840 or use this form to contact us today to discuss your case and start working towards the best possible outcome for you.

Ready To Speak With An Attorney?

Let’s discuss the details of your case and see if we can help.

What You Need to Know About Administrative Hearings in SC

What You Need to Know About Administrative Hearings in SC

If you have been arrested for DUI, you may not realize that you will lose important rights if you do not request an administrative hearing within 30 days. 

If you refused the breathalyzer test or if you took the test and the result was .15% or greater, your license was immediately suspended. That suspension, as well as ADSAP and ignition interlock device (IID) requirements, is separate from your criminal case and is heard in a different courtroom. 

In this article you will learn:

  • When you need an implied consent hearing, 
  • What an implied consent hearing is, 
  • How to request the hearing, and 
  • How to get a temporary license that allows you to drive until your hearing. 

Administrative Hearings in South Carolina: One DUI, Two Courts

DUI law in South Carolina can be complex and difficult to navigate. 

One example of this is the procedure for requesting administrative hearings in South Carolina when you have an implied consent violation – your criminal charges for DUI and your administrative hearing for implied consent will be in two different courtrooms, on two different dates, with two separate sets of penalties if you lose. 

DUI Charges in the Criminal Court

Your DUI charge will be heard in a criminal court – the magistrate or municipal court if it is a DUI or DUAC 1st offense, and General Sessions Court for all other DUI offenses. Your case will automatically be scheduled for an initial court date if it is in the lower courts or an initial appearance (roll call) if it is in General Sessions Court. 

Implied Consent Hearings in the Administrative Court

If you have an implied consent violation because you refused the breathalyzer or because your breath test result was .15% or greater, your administrative hearing date is not automatically scheduled, and your license is immediately suspended in SC.

You will get a notice of suspension from the arresting officer, and you have only 30 days to request an administrative hearing, or you will lose your right to contest the implied consent suspension. The proceedings and the penalties if you lose the hearing are separate from your DUI charges – one has no impact on the other. 

Whether you win or lose your administrative hearing, you must still fight the DUI charge in another courtroom on another day. 

Notice of Suspension

The arresting officer (or Datamaster operator, if they are not the same person) will give you a “Notice of Suspension” along with your other paperwork. 

You will need the original Notice to request an administrative hearing, and it contains instructions for how to request an administrative hearing to contest the implied consent suspension, the address to which you must mail the request, and the fee that you must pay. 

Do not lose your original Notice of Suspension, and make sure you bring it to your attorney at your first meeting. 

Implied Consent – What Does it Mean? 

South Carolina’s implied consent statutes say any person who drives a motor vehicle in the State of South Carolina has “impliedly consented” to a breath, blood, or urine test to determine whether they are under the influence. 

Of course, you didn’t really consent to that. Nevertheless, if you refuse the breathalyzer (or a blood or urine test), you may suffer administrative penalties including a license suspension, enrollment in ADSAP, and an ignition interlock device (IID) requirement. 

The officer will read your “implied consent rights” to you and provide you with a written copy of your implied consent rights before offering you the breath test. You have the right to refuse the test. 

If you refuse the test, your license is suspended. If you take the test and the result is .15% or greater, your license is still suspended. The length of suspension depends on how many prior DUI convictions you have had and whether the suspension is for a refusal or a result greater than .15%: 

Prior Convictions During Past 10 Years License Suspension Period for BAC of .15% or higher License Suspension Period for Refusing the Breathalyzer
0 1 month 6 months
1 2 months 9 months
2 3 months 12 months
3 4 months 15 months

You can request an administrative hearing, however, where you can ask the administrative law court to “overrule” the officer’s decision to suspend your license. 

Temporary Licenses

Once you have requested an administrative hearing for an implied consent violation, you can get a temporary, “alcohol restricted” license that will allow you to drive anywhere (as long as there is no alcohol in your system) until the hearing date. 

The Implied Consent Hearing

At the implied consent hearing, your attorney can ask an administrative hearing officer to “rescind the suspension” because:

  • There was no probable cause for the arrest, 
  • The officer did not follow SLED policy and procedure when administering the test, 
  • The officer who administered the test was not qualified,
  • The machine was not working properly, or 
  • The officer did not comply with SC’s implied consent laws when administering the test. 

If the hearing officer agrees, you get your license back (but you must still appear in the criminal court for the DUI charges). If the officer doesn’t appear on the hearing date or if the officer does not enter testimony, you get your license back. 

If you lose the administrative hearing or if you do not request the hearing, your license will be suspended, you will need to enroll in the ADSAP program, and you may be required to install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle before you can drive again. 

These penalties are separate and in addition to any penalties that you face if you are convicted of the DUI. For example, if you lose your administrative hearing and you are convicted of DUI, you will have two consecutive license suspensions. 

Questions About Administrative Hearings in South Carolina? 

If you have been charged with DUI in South Carolina, get an experienced DUI defense lawyer on your side immediately who can begin preparing your defense and ensure that you do not miss important deadlines.

Call 843-761-3840 or use this form to contact us today to discuss your case and start working towards the best possible outcome for you.

Ready To Speak With An Attorney?

Let’s discuss the details of your case and see if we can help.

Expungements in South Carolina: What You Need to Know

Expungements in South Carolina: What You Need to Know

There is a wide range of minor criminal offenses that are eligible for expungement in South Carolina, including minor drug offenses, magistrate or municipal court offenses, and charges that are dismissed through pretrial diversion programs. 

What is an expungement? 

If your South Carolina convictions are eligible for expungement, you can have all records of your arrest, prosecution, and conviction destroyed, including records held by the police department, jail, prison, clerk’s office, and solicitor’s office. 

In this article, you will learn:

  • What types of charges are eligible for expungement in South Carolina,
  • What an expungement means in South Carolina, and
  • The process for getting an expungement in South Carolina. 

Basics of Expungements in South Carolina

There is a broad range of criminal offenses that are eligible for expungement in South Carolina, including minor drug offenses, magistrate or municipal court offenses, Youthful Offender Act (YOA) convictions, and charges that have been dismissed or acquitted at trial. It is important to remember that expungements are not guaranteed – you apply for an expungement. 

What Types of Charges are Eligible for Expungement in South Carolina?

Dismissals and Acquittals

If your case was dismissed by the court or the prosecutor, all records of the arrest, prosecution, and dismissal can be expunged from your record. Similarly, if you are acquitted at trial, you can have all records of the arrest, prosecution, and trial expunged from your record. 

Pre-Trial Diversion Programs

There are various pretrial diversion programs in South Carolina that will result in dismissal and expungement of your charges once you successfully complete the program. These include:

  • Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI),
  • The Alcohol Education Program (AEP),
  • The Traffic Education Program (TEP),
  • Drug Court, and
  • Conditional discharges

If you complete a pretrial diversion program, you must also get your expungement through that program (and pay the associated fees). 

Magistrate and Municipal Court Offenses

A first offense conviction for most magistrate or municipal court offenses can be expunged if there are no other convictions for three years – this only includes magistrate or municipal court level offenses where the potential penalty does not exceed 30 days. 

This does not include domestic violence convictions or traffic offenses – a first offense domestic violence third degree conviction can be expunged after five years, and traffic offenses (with the exceptions of first offense failure to stop for a blue light, reckless driving through PTI, or other traffic offenses through the TEP) cannot be expunged. 

Drug Offenses

A 2018 amendment to South Carolina’s expungement laws expanded the types of drug convictions that can be expunged. Under the new law, a first offense conviction for:

  • Possession of any controlled substance can be expunged after three years,
  • Unlawful possession of a prescription drug can be expunged after three years, and
  • Possession with intent to distribute any controlled substance can be expunged after 20 years. 

Youthful Offender Act (YOA) Offenses

South Carolina’s expungement laws for Youthful Offender Act convictions have been through several revisions over the years. Under the current law:

  • A YOA conviction can be expunged after five years if there are no other convictions; 
  • If you were not sentenced under the Youthful Offender Act, even if you would have qualified, you are not eligible for a YOA expungement; but
  • If you were convicted before June 2, 2010, and you would have been eligible for a YOA sentence, you can now have your record expunged. 

YOA expungements do not apply to statutory violent crimes (listed in SC Code Section 16-1-60), traffic offenses, or sex offenses that require registration on the sex offender registry. 

Miscellaneous Offenses

There are other miscellaneous offenses that are eligible for expungement in South Carolina, including:

  • First offense misdemeanor fraudulent check charges,
  • First offense failure to stop for a blue light,
  • Juvenile expungements, and
  • Expungements pursuant to the Youth Challenge Academy and Jobs Challenge Program. 

What if I’m Not Eligible for an Expungement in South Carolina?

If your conviction is not eligible for an expungement (and your deadline has passed to seek post-conviction relief (PCR)), your only option may be to apply for a pardon. 

A pardon does not destroy or erase your criminal record, but it will restore your civil rights (including your right to own and carry a firearm and to obtain occupational licenses), and your criminal history will show that your offenses have been pardoned. 

How Do You Get an Expungement in South Carolina?

You can apply for an expungement:

  • Through the solicitor’s office in the county where you were convicted, 
  • Through the pretrial diversion program where your charges were dismissed, or
  • You can retain an attorney to assist you with the expungement process. 

What is the Process for Expungements in South Carolina?

Once your application is completed and any associated fees have been paid, the solicitor’s office will process your application. 

If the solicitor’s office approves the application, it is forwarded to SLED for their review and signature – SLED keeps a record of all expungements so that you cannot complete pretrial diversion or obtain an expungement of a minor conviction more than once. 

Once SLED approves the application, it is returned to a circuit court judge in the county where you were convicted. The judge then signs an Expungement Order that orders all government agencies to destroy your records (with some non-public exceptions like SLED’s records to prevent multiple expungements and copies of reports that police departments can retain for a period of time to defend against potential lawsuits). 

Once the Order is signed, it must be forwarded to the police department that made the arrest, the jail where you were held, SLED, the solicitor’s office that prosecuted you, the Department of Corrections, and any other agencies that were connected with your case. 

Are Expungements Automatic? 

If your case was dismissed or if you were acquitted in the magistrate or municipal court, the expungement process is supposed to be automatic. Despite this, many courts do not automatically process expungements – if your magistrate or municipal court dismissal has not been expunged within a reasonable period of time, you may need to take further action. 

If your case was dismissed or if you were acquitted in General Sessions Court, the expungement is not automatic – you must apply for an expungement through the solicitor’s office in the county of conviction. 

If your case was dismissed through a pretrial diversion program, the expungement is not automatic, and you must apply for expungement through that program. 

If you want to expunge a conviction after the waiting period, it is not automatic, and you must apply for an expungement through the solicitor’s office in the county of conviction. 

Questions About Expungements in South Carolina?

If you believe that you have a conviction, dismissal, or acquittal that is eligible for expungement in South Carolina, we can help you to determine whether your charges can be expunged, complete the application process on your behalf, and follow through with the various agencies to ensure that all records of your case are destroyed.  

Call 843-761-3840 or use this form to contact us today to discuss your case and start working towards the best possible outcome for you.

Ready To Speak With An Attorney?

Let’s discuss the details of your case and see if we can help.

Stand Your Ground and Self-Defense Law in SC

Stand Your Ground and Self-Defense Law in SC

What are the rules for self-defense in South Carolina, and how does South Carolina’s Stand Your Ground law work? 

You have a legal right to defend yourself, but the rules for how and when you are permitted to defend yourself can be different from state to state. In one state, you could avoid arrest altogether, while in another state you could find yourself in jail awaiting trial for murder under the exact same set of facts. 

In this article, you will learn the basics of self-defense in South Carolina, including:

  • The elements of self-defense,
  • The rules for “defense of others,”
  • What the Castle Doctrine is, and
  • How South Carolina’s stand your ground law works.

What are the Rules for Self-Defense in South Carolina?

In any jurisdiction, you may find yourself arrested and charged with murder (or assault and battery) even though you followed the rules.  Self-defense is, unfortunately, often your defense at trial rather than the prosecution’s reason for leniency before trial. 

This is why every person should know the basics of self-defense and whether your state has a stand your ground law – you never know when you will have to defend yourself. Self-defense is often used in response to a sudden and unexpected situation, and your goal is not only to defend yourself, or others, from an attacker, but also to avoid arrest and prosecution.

The Elements of Self-defense in South Carolina

There are four elements of self-defense in South Carolina. If you raise the defense of self-defense and the prosecution can’t disprove one or more of these elements beyond a reasonable doubt, jurors must acquit you at trial. They are as follows:

1. You were “without fault in bringing on the difficulty” – you cannot instigate or attack another person and then claim self-defense;

2. You were, or you believed that you were, “in imminent danger of losing [your] life or sustaining serious bodily injury;”

3. “[A] reasonably prudent man of ordinary firmness and courage” would have believed they were in imminent danger if they were in your place – your belief that you were in danger must be objectively reasonable; and

4. There was “no other probable means of avoiding the danger” – before South Carolina’s stand your ground law was passed, there was a duty to retreat unless you were in your own home.

In every case where it applies, South Carolina’s stand your ground law replaces self-defense law in South Carolina. The most important distinction between stand your ground laws and the “old” elements of self-defense law in South Carolina is that element #4, “no other probable means of avoiding the danger,” no longer applies. 

There is no longer a “duty to retreat” in South Carolina if you are attacked in a place where you have a legal right to be, whether that is your home, your business, the sidewalk, or the corner grocery.  

The Castle Doctrine

What is the “Castle Doctrine?” 

Before South Carolina’s stand your ground law was passed, you had a duty to retreat before defending yourself – everywhere except in your own home

The Castle Doctrine is the idea that “your home is your castle,” and you should never be required to retreat from your own castle. If you are forced to defend yourself in your own home, that is where you make your stand to defend yourself, your family, and your property.

Defense of Others

“Defense of others” is another common-law principle that is similar to self-defense. If you see someone else being attacked, you have the right to defend that person to the same extent that they would have had the right to defend themselves. 

Just as an individual has the right to make their stand and defend themselves against attack under South Carolina’s Stand Your Ground Law, you also have the right to defend another person who is being attacked – without first attempting to retreat. 

On the other hand, if you misunderstood that situation, and the person you are defending was not acting lawfully, defense of others may not be an available defense.

Burden of Proof

Once you have raised self-defense, the State has the burden of disproving, beyond a reasonable doubt, at least one of the elements listed above.

South Carolina’s Stand Your Ground Law

South Carolina’s stand your ground laws essentially codified and expanded the Castle Doctrine and self-defense law, removing the duty to retreat if you are attacked outside of home. 

South Carolina’s stand your ground law is also called the “Protection of Persons and Property Act.”

South Carolina’s Protection of Persons and Property Act

The South Carolina Protection of Persons and Property Act replaces the common law elements of self-defense and defense of others described above. The stand your ground law made three important changes to South Carolina’s rules for self-defense:

1. You no longer have a duty to retreat if you are attacked in any place where you have a legal right to be and if there is a reasonable fear of death or great bodily injury to either yourself or another person. You can hold your ground and defend yourself.

2. If a person is “in the process of unlawfully and forcefully entering, or has unlawfully and forcibly entered a dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle, or if he removes or is attempting to remove another person against his will from the dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle,” then there is a presumption that someone who uses deadly force against them has “a reasonable fear of imminent peril of death or great bodily injury to himself or another person.”

3. A person who uses deadly force pursuant to the stand your ground law is immune from criminal prosecution or civil actions. If they can make a prima facie case that they are immune from prosecution, they are entitled to a hearing where the court will determine whether the stand your ground law applies before they are subjected to a trial.

South Carolina’s self-defense laws still apply, but, in most cases, they must now be interpreted in the context of the Protection of Persons and Property Act – there is no longer a duty to retreat, the “reasonable fear” element of self-defense is presumed when someone is forcibly entering your house or vehicle, and you are immune from prosecution if the Act applies to your situation.

Questions About Self-defense in South Carolina?

If you have been charged with a crime in South Carolina, get an experienced criminal defense lawyer on your side immediately who can begin preparing your defense, work to get your case dismissed, negotiate on your behalf, and try your case to a jury when necessary. 

Call 843-761-3840 or use this form to contact us today to discuss your case and start working towards the best possible outcome for you.

Ready To Speak With An Attorney?

Let’s discuss the details of your case and see if we can help.

Where Can You Carry a Concealed Weapon in SC?

Where Can You Carry a Concealed Weapon in SC?

The answer depends on whether you have a concealed weapon permit (CWP) or not. A CWP in South Carolina allows you to carry a concealed weapon in most places, although there is a long list of locations that are prohibited. 

Without a CWP, your options for where you can carry a concealed weapon are extremely limited. 

Whether you have a concealed weapon permit or not, it is important that you know the rules because, if you are carrying a concealed weapon in a prohibited area, you may be subject to arrest and prosecution for unlawful carrying of a handgun. 

In this article, you will learn:

  • What a concealed weapon permit is in South Carolina,
  • How to get a concealed weapon permit in South Carolina,
  • Where you can carry a concealed weapon with a CWP,
  • Where you cannot carry a concealed weapon, and 
  • The potential penalties for unlawful carrying of a handgun in South Carolina. 

Concealed Weapons in South Carolina

Where can a concealed weapon be carried in South Carolina? 

Do you have a concealed weapons permit? If you have a CWP, you can carry a concealed weapon anywhere – but – there are many exceptions that we will discuss below.

If you do not have a CWP, your options are limited. 

Where Can I Carry a Firearm in South Carolina if I Do Not Have a CWP? 

South Carolina gun laws make it a crime to carry a firearm in South Carolina unless you fall into one of the exceptions listed in the statute. I won’t list all of the exceptions here, but the most important ones for most people include:

  • If you have a CWP (but see the exceptions below);
  • If you are in your home or on your property, you can carry a handgun and it doesn’t matter if it is open carry or concealed;
  • If you are at your place of business (that you own), you can carry a handgun and it doesn’t matter if it is open carry or concealed;
  • If you are on someone else’s property, in their home, or at their place of business and you have their permission, you can carry a handgun and it doesn’t matter if it is open carry or concealed;
  • You can carry a handgun in your vehicle, but only if it is secured in a closed glove box, center console, trunk, or container in the luggage compartment; and
  • You can carry a handgun on your motorcycle if it is secured in a saddlebag or other container attached to the bike. 

What happens if police see a handgun on your person or on the floorboard of your car? Keep reading to find out.

Concealed Weapon Laws in South Carolina

If you are convicted of unlawful carrying of a handgun in South Carolina, police will confiscate your weapon and you are not likely to get it back from them. It is also a misdemeanor offense that carries up to a year in prison, a fine of $1000, or both. 

Other firearm violations, like the sale of a firearm to a prohibited person, possession of a stolen handgun, or felon in possession of a handgun, are felony offenses that are punishable by up to five years in prison. 

Is South Carolina an Open Carry State? 

South Carolina is not an open carry state. 

Whether you have a CWP or not, you are not permitted to open carry unless you are on your own property, you have the permission of the property owner, or are in the process of hunting/fishing.

Concealed Weapon Permits in South Carolina

How can you avoid an arrest for unlawful carry? Know the gun laws in South Carolina, and get a concealed weapon permit. Let’s look at how you apply for a CWP, and what the rules are for a CWP in South Carolina. 

How to Apply for a CWP in South Carolina

You are required to take a firearms safety class before SLED will issue a CWP – in many cases, your instructor will help you to complete the remaining steps to apply for your permit. 

SLED will require you to provide them with:

  • An application,
  • Your photo ID,
  • Proof of residency,
  • Proof of 20/40 vision or better,
  • Documentation that you completed the required firearms training,
  • A fingerprint card from your local sheriff’s office, and
  • A $50 application fee. 

If you meet all requirements, SLED must issue the permit. If they deny the permit, there is an administrative appeal process with strict deadlines – contact your attorney for help appealing the decision. 

Where You Can Use Your CWP

Your CWP allows you to carry a concealed firearm in any location except those listed below. South Carolina is not an open carry state, so the weapon must be concealed at all times. 

Where You Cannot Use Your CWP

SC Code Section 23-31-215 (M) contains a list of the locations where firearms are prohibited, even with a CWP, including:

  • Police stations,
  • Prisons,
  • Jails,
  • Polling places,
  • Offices or business meetings of counties, municipalities, or public school districts,
  • School athletic events,
  • Churches without permission,
  • Hospitals or medical offices without permission, and
  • Any place that is marked with a sign prohibiting concealed weapons. 

A violation of this section is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in prison and revocation of the concealed weapon permit for 5 years. 

Questions About Concealed Weapons in South Carolina? 

If you have been charged with a crime under South Carolina’s gun laws, get an experienced criminal defense lawyer on your side immediately who can begin preparing your defense, work to get your case dismissed, negotiate on your behalf, and try your case to a jury when necessary. 

Call 843-761-3840 or use this form to contact us today to discuss your case and start working towards the best possible outcome for you.

Ready To Speak With An Attorney?

Let’s discuss the details of your case and see if we can help.