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Curious how much jail time a person could receive for a SC violation?

South Carolina laws set out the maximum sentences charges can carry. The more serious the charge, the longer the allowable sentence. Felonies carry stiffer sentences than misdemeanors, and there is further breakdown within both categories. For some felonies, the law also establishes minimum sentences.

The number of times you have been convicted can also bear on the length of your sentence. For instance, drug crimes have harsher penalties as you accumulate convictions.

When you speak with a criminal defense attorney about how to handle your charges, it’s important to understand the potential jail sentence and other punishments you face so you can make an informed decision.

The tables below summarize the jail sentences and fines associated with common criminal charges in SC.

Jail time for assault

If you think a fist fight is the only way to be charged with an assault, think again. “Talking with your fists” is certainly one way to get yourself an assault charge, but assault under SC law encompasses more than physical altercations. It also includes making credible threats of violence, attempting to physically harm someone and unwanted touching of another person’s private areas.

ChargeClassificationJail TimeFine
Assault and Battery of a High and Aggravated Nature (ABHAN)FelonyUp to 20 yearsNone
Assault, 1st DegreeFelonyUp to 10 yearsNone
Assault, 2nd DegreeMisdemeanorUp to 3 yearsUp to $2,500
Assault, 3rd Degree (Simple Assault)MisdemeanorUp to 30 daysUp to $500
Assault with a Deadly WeaponMisdemeanor3 to 12 months on, top of the sentence for whichever degree fits the crimeAt least $200

Jail time for domestic violence

A domestic violence charge is brought when a person causes, offers or attempts to cause physical harm to a person’s own household member. South Carolina’s domestic violence laws got a lot tougher in 2015, including the punishments a judge can hand down upon conviction.

ChargeClassificationJail TimeFine
Domestic Violence of a High and Aggravated Nature (DVHAN)FelonyUp to 20 yearsNone
Domestic Violence, 1st DegreeFelonyUp to 10 yearsNone
Domestic Violence, 2nd DegreeMisdemeanorUp to 3 years$2,500 to $5,000
Domestic Violence, 3rd DegreeMisdemeanorUp to 90 days$1,000 to $2,500

Jail time for theft

Punishment for theft under SC law depends on the value of what is stolen. As the value of the property or services stolen increases so does the amount of jail time possible for the person convicted.

ChargeClassificationJail TimeFine
Grand Theft/Grand Larceny ($10,000 or more)FelonyUp to 10 yearsUp to $1,000
Grand Theft/Grand Larceny (more than $2,000 but less than $10,000FelonyUp to 5 yearsAt the discretion of the court
Petty Theft/Petit Larceny ($2,000 or less)MisdemeanorUp to 30 daysAt the discretion of the court

Fines let to the discretion of the court are precisely what they indicate. The law grants the judge the leeway to decide what an appropriate fine is in each case.

Jail time for DUI

A person is charged with driving under the influence, or DUI, when the police believe that person is operating a vehicle while impaired by the use of alcohol or drugs. The more often a person is convicted of DUI, the harsher penalties this person faces with each subsequent conviction.

ChargeClassificationJail TimeFine
DUI, 4th offenseFelony1 to 7 yearsUp to $10,000
DUI, 3rd offenseMisdemeanor60 days to 5 years$3,800 to $10,000
DUI, 2nd offenseMisdemeanor5 days to 3 years$2,100 to $6,500
DUI, 1st offenseMisdemeanor48 hours to 90 days$400 to $1,000


Along with jail time and fines, South Carolina proscribes a driver’s licenses suspension for a DUI conviction. The time of that suspension increases with each new conviction.

Jail time for sex offenders

Part of the punishment for conviction for criminal sexual conduct and other similar offenses is being forced to register with the state as a sex offender. This has implications for where a person can live and work and causes embarrassment when a person is required to reveal his or her sex offender status to others.

The most common crime causing someone to become a registered sex offender is criminal sexual conduct. In addition to registration, sexual conduct offenses have the following punishments.

ChargeClassificationJail TimeFine
Criminal Sexual Conduct, 1st DegreeFelonyUp to 30 yearsNone
Criminal Sexual Conduct, 2nd DegreeFelonyUp to 20 yearsNone
Criminal Sexual Conduct, 3rd DegreeFelonyUp to 10 yearsNone
Criminal Sexual Conduct with a Minor, 1st DegreeFelony25 years to lifeNone
Criminal Sexual Conduct with a Minor, 2nd DegreeFelonyUp to 25 yearsNone
Criminal Sexual Conduct with a Minor, 3rd DegreeFelonyUp to 15 yearsAt the discretion of the court

Jail time for child support

In addition to administrative penalties, those convicted may endure liens on property and/or loss of professional licenses. Not to mention, failure to pay child support can result in jail time and fines. A judge can order a fine of up to $1,500 and a jail sentence of up to one year.

Jail time for marijuana charges

Getting involved with marijuana can get you several sorts of criminal convictions. Whether you grow it, sell it or just have it, drug charges in SC can get you into trouble.

ChargeClassificationJail TimeFine
Possession, 1 ounce or less, first offenseMisdemeanorUp to 30 daysUp to $200
Possession, 1 ounce or less, subsequent offenseMisdemeanorUp to 1 yearUp to $2,000
ParaphernaliaCivil CitationNoneUp to $500
Sale or Trafficking, Less than 10 poundsFelonyUp to 5 yearsUp to $5,000
Sale or Trafficking, 10 to 100 pounds, first offenseFelony1 to 10 yearsUp to $10,000
Sale or Trafficking, 10 to 100 pounds, second offenseFelony5 to 20 yearsUp to $25,000
Sale or Trafficking, 10 to 100 pounds, third offenseFelonyAt least 25 yearsUp to $25,000
Sale or Trafficking, 100 to 2,000 poundsFelonyAt least 25 yearsUp to $25,000
Sale or Trafficking, 2,000 to 10,000 poundsFelonyAt least 25 yearsUp to $50,000
Sale or Trafficking, more than 10,000 poundsFelonyAt least 25 yearsUp to $200,000
Sale or Trafficking, to a minor, or within a 1/2 mile of a school, playground, or public parkFelonyUp to 10 yearsUp to $10,000
Cultivation, less than 100 plantsFelonyUp to 5 yearsUp to $5,000
Cultivation, 100 to 1000 plantsFelonyAt least 25 yearsUp to $25,000
Cultivation, 1000 to 10,000 plantsFelonyAt least 25 yearsUp to $50,000
Cultivation, more than 10,000 plantsFelonyAt least 25 yearsUp to $200,000

Jail time for driving on a suspended license

Driving on a suspended license may seem like no big deal. But the consequences for getting caught are painful. You can even wind up with a jail sentence.

ChargeClassificationJail TimeFine
Driving on a suspended or revoked license, first offenseMisdemeanorUp to 30 days$300
Driving on a suspended or revoked license, second offenseMisdemeanorUp to 60 days$600
Driving on a suspended or revoked license, third offenseMisdemeanor90 days to 6 months$1,000

Jail time for burglary

Burglary is entering a building without consent with the intent to commit a crime. There are several levels of burglary charges.

ChargeClassificationJail TimeFine
Burglary, 1st DegreeFelony15 years to lifeNone
Burglary, 2nd Degree, violentFelonyUp to 15 yearsNone
Burglary, 2nd Degree, non-violentFelonyUp to 10 yearsNone
Burglary, 3rd Degree, 2nd offenseFelonyUp to 10 yearsNone
Burglary, 3rd Degree, 1st offenseFelonyUp to 5 yearsNone

Jail time for robbery

Robbery is taking something from a person by force or the threat of force. Robbery is considered a violent crime, but the commission of a robbery does not have to result in someone’s injury.

ChargeClassificationJail TimeFine
RobberyFelonyUp to 15 yearsNone
Attempted Armed RobberyFelonyUp to 20 yearsNone
Armed RobberyFelony10 to 30 yearsNone

Jail time for manslaughter

Manslaughter is the unlawful killing of a person by someone without ill will toward the victim. The charge is not the same as murder; however, manslaughter is a very serious crime with a very serious jail sentence.

ChargeClassificationJail TimeFine
ManslaughterFelony2 to 30 yearsNone
Involuntary ManslaughterFelonyUp to 5 yearsNone

Jail time for identity theft

Identity theft is the use someone else’s personal information without that person’s permission for a benefit or to commit other crimes.

ChargeClassificationJail TimeFine
Identity FraudFelonyUp to 10 yearsAt the discretion of the court

Commonly asked questions about jail time in SC

If you’re facing jail time, you undoubtedly have questions. Here are answers to some of the most common questions from people who may be charged with a crime that can be punished with a jail sentence.

Is jail time mandatory for a felony?

Usually yes, many felonies have mandatory sentences. Some felonies also come with fines, but it is most common for a felony to just have a jail sentence as punishment.

Can you get jail time for misdemeanors?

Yes, many misdemeanors come with jail time, fines or both as potential punishments. The jail sentences are not nearly as harsh as jail sentences for felonies.

Can you pay a fine instead of going to jail?

No. It doesn’t really work like that. The judge determines punishment based on the circumstances of the crime and what is allowable by law. People without a criminal history are more likely to be ordered to pay a fine rather than going to jail.

Get in touch with Kent

If you or someone you love has been charged with a crime, there is no time to waste. Kent Collins is an experienced criminal defense attorney in Lexington, SC who can help you understand the charges and potential jail time associated with those charges.

For a free, no-obligation consultation, contact Kent by phone at 803-808-0905 or use this form to reach him online.

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