What is a Violent Crime and What Does That Mean for My Greenville Criminal Defense Case?

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In the State of South Carolina, “violent” crimes are crimes enumerated by statute and classified as “violent.” Whether the crimes themselves actually involved acts of physical violence does not inform whether the crime is “violent” pursuant to South Carolina Code of Laws Section 16-1-60.

“Violent” Crimes That Involve Violent Conduct

Murder, attempted murder, assault and battery by mob resulting in death, voluntary manslaughter, assault and battery with the intent to kill, domestic violence of a high and aggravated nature, armed robbery, attempted armed robbery, and kidnapping are all “violent” pursuant to SC Code Section 16-1-60. These offenses inherently involve a violent act or the threat of a violent act, so most people do not recoil when informed that the aforementioned offenses are “violent.”
Some crimes that would appear to be violent based on the elements of the offense or even the title of the offense, however, are not “violent” pursuant to SC Code Section 16-1-60. For instance, domestic violence third degree and domestic violence second degree both penalize violence or threats of violence between household members, but neither are “violent” crimes as neither are enumerated in 16-1-60. 

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Learn more about violent crime laws in Greenville when you contact David R. Price, Jr., P.A. today!

“Violent” Drug Crimes

Some drug crimes involve the use of firearms or threats of force, but a great many drug crimes only relate to a person’s possession of a certain quantity of a controlled substance in violation of the law. If a person trafficks drugs, including cocaine base, methamphetamines, or cocaine, or if a person manufactures methamphetamines, then that person has committed a “violent” crime pursuant to 16-1-60.

“Violent” Sex Crimes

While there are some sexual crimes that are not considered to be violent, such as indecent exposure, the majority of sexual crimes are considered to be violent crimes in South Carolina. Examples include criminal sexual conduct in both the second and first degree, and criminal sexual conduct with a minor of any degree. Assault with intent to commit sexual conduct and engaging a child for sexual performance are also violent crimes. To round out South Carolina’s “violent” sex crimes, sexual battery against a spouse, promoting sexual performance by a child, sexual exploitation or prostitution of a minor, and aggravated voyeurism are all “violent” crimes in South Carolina.

“Violent” Crimes Against Property or Against Property Interests

Burglary in the first degree, burglary in the second degree of a building rather than a dwelling, and arson in the first degree are all crimes relating to property, property rights, or a person’s interest in a particular piece of real property and all are classified as “violent” in South Carolina.

“Violent” Crimes involving Death (Often involving the Operation of a Motor Vehicle)

Also included in the statutory definition of violent crimes are crimes involving the negligent, reckless, and drunken operation of motor vehicles and motor boats resulting in a person’s death. These offenses include felony DUI resulting in death, felony BUI resulting in death, a vessel operator’s failure to render assistance resulting in death, and failure to stop for blue light resulting in death.
Ordinary driving under the influence, driving with an unlawful alcohol concentration, and reckless driving, however,  are not “violent” pursuant to SC Code Section 16-1-60.

How does a “violent” crime affect a Greenville Citizen’s bond?

When a person is charged with a crime classified as “violent” pursuant to SC Code Section 16-1-60, if the offense is not punishable by life in prison or death, that individual is brought before a magistrate or arraignment where a bond is set which the court believes to be sufficient to ensure that person’s appearance in court.  Magistrates have the authority to deny bond on “violent offenses” having given due weight to the evidence and the nature and circumstances surrounding the offences charged.  
If a person is out on bond having been accused of committing a “violent” offense and that person is charged with a subsequent “violent” offense stemming from a new and distinct incident, then the Circuit Court can revoke the original bond and hold the person in jail on no bond on either set of “violent” offenses until a resolution to the cases can be reached.  

How can a “violent” crime affect other charges?

If a person is accused of committing a “violent” offense while armed with a firearm, then that person may be prosecuted for possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent offense. Possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent offense is a felony punishable by five years of incarceration. This is true even if the underlying offense, drug trafficking for instance, did not require that a firearm be possessed or otherwise utilized to be accomplished.  

What should I do if I am accused of committing a “violent” offense in South Carolina?

Call a lawyer. Anyone accused of committing a “violent” crime is likely looking at a felony criminal conviction and potentially not insubstantial terms of imprisonment. It is worth the time and effort to consult with a competent criminal defense attorney. Contact the lawyers at David R. Price, Jr., P.A. if you stand accused of committing a violent offense in the Upstate of South Carolina.  

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