In a separate article (Sexual Assault, Rape & Criminal Sexual Conduct Charges in SC) we go into great detail discussing the charges associated with CSC/Rape in SC.

The attorneys at Kulp & Elliott understand that you probably have additional questions that go beyond the basic charges.

In this article we’re going to cover the most commons questions we routinely get asked about CSC/Rape in SC.

If you have been charged with CSC or rape in South Carolina, it’s critical that you consult with a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.

Let’s get started!

1. What is criminal sexual conduct?

Criminal sexual conduct (CSC), also known as rape, is when you engage in sexual battery with the victim. Generally, crimes that involved unwanted touching.

Sexual battery occurs when an individual uses force to enter, or penetrate, any part of a non-consenting individual’s body. This is done against that person’s will. This can occur with or without clothing on. Examples include sexual intercourse of both anal and oral sex, among others as well.

2. What are the charges for criminal sexual conduct?

There are three levels of charges for CSC: first, second and third degree.

A first degree charge applies if you engage in sexual battery and one or more of the following three scenarios can be proven:

  • Aggravated physical or violent force is used to overpower the victim, or threat of a deadly weapon.
  • Sexual battery occurred while the victim was also a victim of kidnapping, people trafficking, robbery, extortion, burglary, housebreaking, forcible confinement or another similar crime(s).
  • The accused causes the victim to become either mentally or physically incapacitated. For example, intentionally putting a drug in the victim’s drink.

A second degree CSC charge applies when the accused commits sexual battery with aggravated coercion. This means with force, violence, or even a threat of immediate or future force or violence.

A third degree CSC charge applies when you commit sexual battery and one or both of the following points can be proven:

  • Force or coercion was used to overpower the victim
  • The victim was either mentally incapacitated, mentally defective, or physically helpless and therefore, no aggravated force or corecion was used.

The key difference between second and third degree CSC is that second degree CSC involves aggravated force or coercion.

3. Is rape a felony or misdemeanor?

All rape charges are considered felonies in South Carolina.

4. Is rape the same thing as criminal sexual conduct?

Yes, rape and CSC are considered the same charge in South Carolina.

5. What are the penalties for rape?

The penalty for rape in South Carolina is jail time–no fines are enforced. However, it is important to note that the penalty assigned to you is up to the judge who oversees the case. The judge can freely decide to assign whatever duration of jail time they deem appropriate within the following ranges:

ChargeJail time
1st degree Up to 30 years
2nd degree Up to 20 years
3rd degree Up to 10 years

6. Can rape charges be dropped by the victim?

No. Once the victim decides to prosecute and the prosecutor files the charges, the case is no longer in the hands of the victim.

However, the victim’s involvement is important to the prosecution’s case. The prosecutor’s case can suffer or be negatively impacted if the victim no longer wants to prosecute. If a victim no longer wants to cooperate, the case can be either dropped or dismissed due to a lack of evidence.

7. What is aggravated rape?

In some states, the term “aggravated rape” is a term given to a more severe nature of rape. This will warrant greater penalties. For example, rape is considered aggravated when it involves weapons, minors, the elderly, more than one perpetrator, etc.

However, South Carolina statutes do not distinguish between rape and aggravated rape; therefore, aggravated rape is not a separate or more punishable crime in SC.

8. If I am convicted of CSC, will I go on the sex offender registry?

Yes, you will most likely appear on the sex offender registry.

9. What is the statute of limitations for rape?

There is no statute of limitations in South Carolina. A victim can come forward at any point in their life and press charges against you.

10. Do I need a lawyer to fight a CSC charge?

Yes, a CSC conviction can impact the rest of your life. Courts treat CSC cases very seriously and therefore, these convictions can never be expunged or removed from your criminal record. The charge(s) will remain with you for life.

An experienced attorney can fight for you

A CSC charge can turn into a conviction that may later limit your career opportunities and ruin personal relationships. If you have been charged with CSC, consider partnering with an attorney. To talk with us in more detail about your case, call us at 843-853-3310 or contact us through our online form.

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