In general, states divide crimes into two broad categories: felonies and misdemeanors. Felonies are the more serious crimes, while misdemeanors are less serious and have less serious penalties. In addition to recognizing the difference between felonies and misdemeanors, South Carolina also distinguishes among different kinds of misdemeanors, by organizing them into three categories: Class A, B, and C. Class A misdemeanors are the most serious, while Class C misdemeanors are the least serious.
For information on felonies, see South Carolina Felony Crimes by Class and Sentences.
Other Misdemeanor Crimes
Some crimes in South Carolina are not given misdemeanor classification. These crimes have their own possible penalties as detailed in the individual laws.
Additionally, some South Carolina misdemeanors that allow for maximum penalties of less than one year in jail are specifically exempt from the classification system.
Sentence Range For Each Level
Anyone convicted of a misdemeanor offense in South Carolina faces a range of potential penalties. Courts can impose a maximum incarceration penalty for anyone convicted of a misdemeanor based on the class of misdemeanor involved.
- Class A. Incarceration for no more than three years.
- Class B. Incarceration for no more than two years.
- Class C. Incarceration for no more than one year.
Anyone convicted of a misdemeanor in South Carolina may also have to pay a fine. Unlike incarceration periods, each crime includes specific possible fines. For example, someone convicted of second-degree assault and battery, a Class A misdemeanor, faces a potential fine of not more than $2,500. On the other hand, someone convicted of the unauthorized use of a microwave radio or television facility, a Class C misdemeanor, faces a fine of up to $1,000.
Each exempted misdemeanor crime not given a specific classification has its own penalties associated with it. For example, the crime of making a false claim is a misdemeanor punishable by no less than one year in jail and a fine of at least $500.
Examples of Crimes in Each Level
The following is a list of misdemeanor crimes and their associated classes, though it does not represent all South Carolina misdemeanors.
- Vandalism, third offense in 10 years
- Use of threats of physical violence by a gang member against a minor
- Communicating of seeing messages to others without consent
- Making false statements about income to obtain public housing
- Assault or intimidation on account of political opinions or exercise of civil rights
- Enticing a child from attendance in school
- Vandalism, second offense in 10 years
- Falsifying or altering a transcript or diploma
- Disturbing religious worship
- Carrying fire on lands of another without a permit
- Destruction of sea oat or Venus flytrap plants
- Vandalism, first offense
Find a Lawyer in Your Area
Even though misdemeanor charges can seem minor, you need to talk to a South Carolina criminal defense lawyer if you are ever charged with a crime. Only a local lawyer with experience handling cases in local criminal courts is capable of providing you with legal advice. If you have been charged with a crime, or believe you need legal advice, you should contact a local South Carolina criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.