Strong representation for York, Lancaster, and Chester County weapons offenses
In South Carolina, protecting gun rights ranks pretty high on the list for many citizens, which often leads to controversy with the increase in violent crime. There are many levels of weapon-related crimes that can be committed in any given scenario – and you may not even realize you're committing one. I take your case and your freedoms seriously. If you are facing weapons charges, contact Holland Law in Fort Mill or Rock Hill today.
Common weapons charges you may face in South Carolina
Some of the more frequently seen gun charges you can be arrested and tried in a court of law for include:
- Unlawful carrying of a handgun. While there are exceptions under C. Code § 16-23-20, if you are under the age of 18, it is illegal to carry any handgun in our state without first obtaining a valid concealed weapons permit. This is a misdemeanor crime carrying a maximum sentence of a $1,000 fine and/or 1 year in prison.
- Sale of a handgun/possession of a handgun. No one listed under S.C. Code § 16-23-30 may be sold or own a handgun. If convicted for this felony crime, you face a fine of up to $2,000 and/or up to 5 years in
- Unlawful transportation. If you are convicted of the felony crime of illegally transporting a machine gun, military firearm, or sawed-off shotgun or rifle within South Carolina, you face a fine of up to $10,000 and/or 10 years in prison.
- Unlawful possession. If you are convicted of the felony crime of illegally storing, keeping, or possessing a machine gun, military firearm, or sawed-off shotgun or rifle, you face a fine of up to $10,000 and/or 10 years in prison.
- Unlawful sale. If you are convicted of the crime of illegally selling, rental, or giving away of machine gun, military firearm, or sawed-off shotgun or rifle, you face a fine of up to $10,000 and/or 10 years in prison.
- Pointing or presenting firearm at another person. If you are convicted of this felony crime, you will be fined in the discretion of the court or receive a prison sentence of up to 5 years.
Why do courts take weapons charges so seriously?
South Carolina ranks 12th in the nation for gun deaths, 8th in firearm homicides, and gun violence is our second leading cause of death for children under 17 years of age.
That means a lot of weapons charges passing through our courts. As the legislature feels pressure to crack down on these crimes, more citizens could face arrest for weapons charges they didn't even know existed. If you are arrested for unlawful use of a weapon, you need to hire a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney to protect your rights and your freedom.
Weapons crimes on school grounds
If you are a student needing representation for possession of a gun on school grounds, don't risk the next five years of your life on a public defender. Call me to discuss how I can assist with your case.
- Possession of firearm on school property. This felony crime carries a stiff penalty of a fine up to $5,000 and/or serving up to 5 years in prison.
- Carrying weapon on school property. It is a felony to bring onto school grounds a knife with a blade over two inches long, a blackjack, a metal pipe or pole, firearms, or any other type of weapon, device, or object which may be used to inflict bodily injury or death. If convicted, you could be fined up to $1,000 and/or be sentenced to up to 5 years in prison.
There can be additional consequences for being convicted for certain handgun violations beyond your sentence. Your gun may be confiscated and could be retained by the state for use, traded for another gun or equipment for use by law enforcement, or destroyed. There also may be exceptions to certain weapons crimes that can offer you a defense to the charges.
As former General Counsel for the Lancaster County Sheriff's Office and Special Assistant United States Attorney with the Sixth Circuit Solicitor's Office, I have prosecuted many weapons-related charges. I know which charges can be negotiated more easily, and which ones may be thrown out entirely. During our consultation, I will advise you as to whether any additional consequences or exceptions are applicable to your case and how I can assist you.
Harsher sentencing could apply for certain weapons-related crimes
While some weapons crimes are related more to inexperience and lack of proper knowledge as to gun safety and handling, other more serious gun crimes may arise out of heated altercations. If convicted on a greater offense, a judge may enhance your sentence just for a weapon being involved.
- South Carolina Code § 16-3-610. If a person is convicted of attempted murder, assault and battery, or manslaughter, and the crime was carried out through use of a carried or concealed deadly weapon you face an additional misdemeanor sentence of 3 to 12 months in prison and/or a fine of at least $200.
- South Carolina Code § 16-3-625. If you resist arrest by threatening the use of a deadly weapon against the office, you face a felony charge. If convicted, you will spend 2 - 10 years of your life in prison without eligibility for parole for at least 6 months. Even for a first offense, you will spend at least 6 months behind bars. If this is at least your second offense, you will spend a minimum of 2 years in prison before being eligible for parole.
Rules for open and concealed carry in SC
In South Carolina, carrying a concealed weapon has been permissible for years; however, the state prohibits open carrying even of licensed weapons. That means even if you are traveling through or vacationing here from a state that allows open carry, even if you're properly certified to do so, you can be arrested for it within the borders of South Carolina. That means no easily accessible, unsecured weapons, even in your vehicle.
One exception to the rule is if you've been issued a valid concealed weapon permit under S.C. Code § 23-31-215. Then you may secure your weapon under a seat in a vehicle, in any open or closed storage compartment within the vehicle's passenger compartment, or concealed on or about your person.
Aggressive advocacy for your right to bear arms
No one should face harsh criminal charges or a wrongful conviction for a gun crime. If you or a loved one has been arrested on gun charges, seek the right criminal defense representation that will stand by you and fight for a fair outcome. At Holland Law, I work hard protecting the rights of York, Lancaster, and Chester County citizens who face life-altering consequences for what is often just a mistake. To schedule a consultation with me in either my Fort Mill office on Gold Hill Road, or in my Rock Hill office on Oakland Avenue, please call 803-676-1128 or reach out to me through my contact page.