Violent Crimes Versus Non-Violent Crimes in South Carolina – South Carolina Code Annotated Sections 16-1-60 and 16-1-70

South Carolina has a vast number of criminal offenses one can be charged with violating, some statutory (where you can actually “look them up in the code of laws”), and some at common law (essentially judge made law that has accumulated over time).  The news is full of stories of violent sounding crimes, both in South Carolina and in the rest of the United States; however, according to South Carolina law, only certain crimes are considered violent.  The South Carolina statute (written law created by our state legislature) on point was last amended, as of this writing, in June of 2010, and is located at S.C. Code Ann. Section 16-1-60.  The law is written as follows (as of this writing – February, 2012):

“For purposes of definition under South Carolina law, a violent crime includes the offenses of: murder (Section 16-3-10); attempted murder (Section 16-3-29); assault and battery by mob, first degree, resulting in death (Section 16-3-210(B)), criminal sexual conduct in the first and second degree (Sections 16-3-652 and 16-3-653); criminal sexual conduct with minors, first and second degree (Section 16-3-655); assault with intent to commit criminal sexual conduct, first and second degree (Section 16-3-656); assault and battery with intent to kill (Section 16-3-620); assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature (Section 16-3-600(B)); kidnapping (Section 16-3-910); trafficking in persons (Section 16-3-930); voluntary manslaughter (Section 16-3-50); armed robbery (Section 16-11-330(A)); attempted armed robbery (Section 16-11-330(B)); carjacking (Section 16-3-1075); drug trafficking as defined in Section 44-53-370(e) or trafficking cocaine base as defined in Section 44-53-375(C); manufacturing or trafficking methamphetamine as defined in Section 44-53-375; arson in the first degree (Section 16-11-110(A)); arson in the second degree (Section 16-11-110(B)); burglary in the first degree (Section 16-11-311); burglary in the second degree (Section 16-11-312(B)); engaging a child for a sexual performance (Section 16-3-810); homicide by child abuse (Section 16-3-85(A)(1)); aiding and abetting homicide by child abuse (Section 16-3-85(A)(2)); inflicting great bodily injury upon a child (Section 16-3-95(A)); allowing great bodily injury to be inflicted upon a child (Section 16-3-95(B)); criminal domestic violence of a high and aggravated nature (Section 16-25-65); abuse or neglect of a vulnerable adult resulting in death (Section 43-35-85(F)); abuse or neglect of a vulnerable adult resulting in great bodily injury (Section 43-35-85(E)); taking of a hostage by an inmate (Section 24-13-450); detonating a destructive device upon the capitol grounds resulting in death with malice (Section 10-11-325(B)(1)); spousal sexual battery (Section 16-3-615); producing, directing, or promoting sexual performance by a child (Section 16-3-820); lewd act upon a child under sixteen (Section 16-15-140); sexual exploitation of a minor first degree (Section 16-15-395); sexual exploitation of a minor second degree (Section 16-15-405); promoting prostitution of a minor (Section 16-15-415); participating in prostitution of a minor (Section 16-15-425); aggravated voyeurism (Section 16-17-470(C)); detonating a destructive device resulting in death with malice (Section 16-23-720(A)(1)); detonating a destructive device resulting in death without malice (Section 16-23-720(A)(2)); boating under the influence resulting in death (Section 50-21-113(A)(2)); vessel operator’s failure to render assistance resulting in death (Section 50-21-130(A)(3)); damaging an airport facility or removing equipment resulting in death (Section 55-1-30(3)); failure to stop when signaled by a law enforcement vehicle resulting in death (Section 56-5-750(C)(2)); interference with traffic-control devices, railroad signs, or signals resulting in death (Section 56-5-1030(B)(3)); hit and run resulting in death (Section 56-5-1210(A)(3)); felony driving under the influence or felony driving with an unlawful alcohol concentration resulting in death (Section 56-5-2945(A)(2)); putting destructive or injurious materials on a highway resulting in death (Section 57-7-20(D)); obstruction of a railroad resulting in death (Section 58-17-4090); accessory before the fact to commit any of the above offenses (Section 16-1-40); 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.”

At first glance, not all of the above offenses may seem “violent” or that they must contain violence to occur, while others clearly fit the stereotypical “profile.”  Nevertheless, it is important to remember that the above offenses will be considered violent offenses by a South Carolina Court for purposes of sentencing, which can also have an impact on one’s placement and other factors if/when incarcerated.  The last line of Section 16-1-60 is also instructive, and clarifying, as it makes it clear that, “Only those offenses specifically enumerated in this section are considered violent offenses.”

South Carolina Code Annotated Section 16-1-70 is essentially a restatement of the last sentence of Section 16-1-60.  It sets forth (as of this writing, February 2012):

“For purposes of definition under South Carolina law a nonviolent crime is all offenses not specifically enumerated in Section 16-1-60.”

I personally like that the legislature has included Section 16-1-70, despite its apparent redundancy.  In short, South Carolina Code Ann. Section 16-1-70 makes it extremely clear to judges, criminal defense attorneys, prosecutors, the Department of Corrections, and defendants, that if the offense one is charged with or may plead guilty to is not listed in Section 16-1-60, it it not considered a violent offense by statute (that one can look up without a fancy subscription based service normally reserved for attorneys).

If you would like to speak with an attorney from our firm concerning your South Carolina criminal charge, whether it is a violent or non-violent offense, please call us at (843) 474-0614 or (800) 996-0683.  We would be honored to speak with you.

Lee Law Firm, LLC is a South Carolina based law firm that advocates for and counsels clients throughout South Carolina and its Low Country, primarily in Beaufort and Jasper counties (including Hilton Head Island, Bluffton, Daufuskie Island, Ridgeland, Callawassie Island, Okatie, Hardeeville, and Beaufort).