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

February 22, 2024
Criminal Defense

The attorneys at Barboza Law know that facing a criminal charge in South Carolina can be overwhelming. The severity of the potential consequences greatly depends on whether you have been charged with a felony or a misdemeanor. Both can lead to hefty fines and jail/prison time.

If you have been charged with a felony or misdemeanor, contacting a Lancaster, South Carolina, criminal defense lawyer is crucial. An experienced attorney can represent your best interests and protect your rights.

What is a Felony?

Felonies are the most serious type of criminal charge. While these offenses are typically associated with violent crimes, felony charges also include a wide range of white-collar crimes.

Felony crimes involve assault and battery, homicide, most sex crimes, and high dollar-value thefts.

In addition, a person may be charged with a felony when they have been convicted of the same crime multiple times. For example, most DUIs are considered misdemeanors. However, a third DUI offense may result in felony charges in South Carolina.

Felony convictions can carry large fines, the loss of some constitutional rights, and harsher jail/prison sentences.

How Are Felonies Classified in South Carolina?

Felonies are classified by six levels of severity with designated labels. The levels range from Class A to Class F felonies, where Class A represents the worst types of crimes.

For example, Class A felonies include:

  • Voluntary Manslaughter
  • Attempted Murder
  • Kidnapping

In addition to large fines and penalties, a conviction may land a person in prison up to 30 years.

In contrast, a Class F felony may be punishable by up to 5 years in prison and thousands in fines. Class F felonies involve:

  • Involuntary manslaughter
  • Filing a false tax return
  • Perjury

It is not uncommon for an accused offender to be charged with multiple felonies of varying degrees. A skilled Lancaster criminal defense attorney can help you mitigate the damaging consequences of multiple charges.

What is a Misdemeanor in Indian Land, South Carolina?

Misdemeanors are a lesser criminal charge than a felony. Misdemeanors involve crimes of vandalism, fraud, theft offenses, etc.

There are some exempt misdemeanors. In this context, crimes like student communicating physical threats against another person, recklessly endangering the lift of another, and failing to register as a sex offender (1st offense) are not classified as a misdemeanor or a felony. Instead, they are separate types of offenses with their own penalties.

How Are Misdemeanors Classified in South Carolina?

Misdemeanors have three classifications, ranging from a Class A misdemeanor to a Class C misdemeanor.

Some Class A misdemeanors involve:

  • Shoplifting
  • A third offense for graffiti and vandalism
  • Assault and battery 2nd Degree

Class A misdemeanors can be punished by up to three years in prison.

Some examples of Class B misdemeanors include:

  • Using a firearm under the influence
  • Cruelty to animals
  • Possessing of a controlled substance

Class B misdemeanors can be punished by up to two years in prison.

Class C misdemeanors can involve:

  • Assault with concealed weapon
  • Prostitution
  • Theft of cable television

Class C misdemeanors can be punished by up to one year in prison.

How Can an Indian Land, South Carolina Criminal Defense Attorney Help My Case?

Having a felony or misdemeanor on your record can significantly impact your life. Reputations and relationships can be ruined, parents can lose their parental rights, and career opportunities can be severely limited.

Criminal law is complex. If you have been accused of a crime, you need an experienced attorney to help you navigate the complicated judicial system, protect your rights, and strategize the best defense. At Barboza Law, our criminal defense attorney in Indian Land, South Carolina, is here to fight on your behalf. Schedule a consultation today to discuss the details of your unique situation by calling (803) 973-6003.