When someone mentions “violent crime,” graphic images may appear in your mind of one person beating another with a tire iron in a dark alley, leaving that person bloodied and unconscious. That certainly is a fitting example, but it isn’t the only type of violent crime.
As a rule of thumb, a violent crime results in serious injury or death to someone, or there is a high likelihood that this would happen. Therefore crimes like murder, homicide by child abuse, and carjacking are clearly violent crimes.
But the list certainly doesn’t end there.
Which crimes are deemed violent crimes?
South Carolina law is very clear about which crimes are considered “violent,” and has listed them in full in South Carolina Code of Laws (16-1-60). Any crime not in that list is not a violent crime.
We’ll start with the more obvious, as some crimes are clearly violent, and few people would question such a designation:
- Murder (16-3-10)
- Attempted murder (16-3-29)
- Voluntary manslaughter (16-3-50)
- Assault and battery by mob, first degree, resulting in death (16-3-210(B))
- Assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature (ABHAN) (16-3-600(B))
- Armed robbery (16-11-330(A))
- Attempted armed robbery (16-11-330(B))
- Kidnapping (16-3-910)
- Trafficking in persons (16-3-930)
- Homicide by child abuse (16-3-85(A)(1))
- Aiding and abetting homicide by child abuse (16-3-85(A)(2))
- Inflicting great bodily injury upon a child (16-3-95(A)) or allowing it (16-3-95(B))
- Criminal domestic violence of a high and aggravated nature (16-25-65)
- Abuse or neglect of a vulnerable adult resulting in great bodily injury (43-35-85(E)) or death (43-35-85(F))
- Taking of a hostage while in jail (24-13-450)
Property crimes that often involve force are considered violent under SC law:
- Carjacking (16-3-1075)
- Arson in the second degree (16-11-110(B))
- Burglary in the first degree (16-11-311) or second degree (16-11-312(B))
Deliberate destruction of public property resulting in death is a violent crime:
- Detonating a destructive device upon the capitol grounds resulting in death with malice (10-11-325(B)(1))
- Detonating a destructive device resulting in death (16-23-720(A)(1)) and (16-23-720(A)(2))
- Damaging an airport facility or removing equipment resulting in death (55-1-30(3))
- Interference with traffic-control devices, railroad signs or signals resulting in death (56-5-1030(B)(3))
- Putting destructive or injurious materials on a highway resulting in death (57-7-20(D))
- Obstruction of a railroad resulting in death (58-17-4090)
Extreme drug crimes are violent crimes:
- 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 1st degree (16-11-110(A))
- Boating under the influence resulting in death (50-21-113(A)(2))
- Felony driving under the influence or felony driving with an unlawful alcohol concentration resulting in death (56-5-2945(A)(2))
Many sexual crimes are deemed violent crimes. These involve forcing or coercing others into performing sexual acts:
- Criminal sexual conduct in the second degree (16-3-652 and 16-3-653)
- Criminal sexual conduct with minors, 1st, 2nd and 3rd degree (16-3-655)
- Assault with intent to commit criminal sexual conduct, first and second degree (16-3-656)
- Engaging a child for a sexual performance (16-3-810);
- Spousal sexual battery (16-3-615)
- Producing, directing or promoting sexual performance by a child (16-3-820)
- Sexual exploitation of a minor first degree (16-15-395) or second degree (16-15-405);
- Promoting prostitution of a minor (16-15-415)
- Participating in prostitution of a minor (16-15-425)
- Aggravated voyeurism (16-17-470(C))
Some crimes that on their face appear to happen negligently or are not intended to cause serious injury or death are considered violent:
- Vessel operator’s failure to render assistance resulting in death (50-21-130(A)(3))
- Failure to stop when signaled by a law enforcement vehicle resulting in death (56-5-750(C)(2))
- Hit and run resulting in death (56-5-1210(A)(3))
Finally, South Carolina law includes a caveat about all these offenses. It’s also a violent crime to attempt any of these crimes. So even if you aren’t successful at pulling off one of these crimes, you could still be charged with it. Also, being an accessory to a violent crime can lead to you being charged with a violent crime.
That is quite an extensive list, and you’re bound to have questions about your particular situation.
Common questions about violent crimes:
Here are answers to some of the common questions our clients ask about their violent crime charges.
Are children who commit violent crimes tried as adults?
Sometimes children who commit violent crimes are tried as adults. Whether they are depends on what a prosecutor decides and what a judge allows. Each case is different.
How much jail or prison time will I receive if convicted of a violent crime?
The amount of jail time associated with a violent crime depends on the particular crime itself. The designation as a violent crime does not affect the length of a jail sentence, but it can affect where you are incarcerated if you are convicted.
What should I do if I’ve been charged with a violent crime?
As soon as you can, contact one of the criminal defense attorneys at the Kulp & Elliott to discuss your case. The sooner you have an attorney working on your side, the better.