Charleston Gun Crimes Lawyer
Both State and Federal law cover gun crimes in South Carolina so it’s important to consult with an experienced Charleston Gun Crimes Lawyer that is familiar with both court systems when seeking legal guidance in your South Carolina Gun Crime arrest. If you have been charged with a misdemeanor or Felony gun crime in South Carolina it’s important to understand your rights so you can effectively fight the charge. The Law on where and when you can lawfully carry a gun in South Carolina has changed recently (see Here) and there has been recent press covering (See Here) a push to make further changes through a bill called the “Constitutional Carry Act.” (see bill S.115).
What is a misdemeanor gun crime?
Unlawful carrying a handgun: This is the most common firearm offense that results in an arrest. See S.C.Code 16-23-20 Typically a driver is pulled over for a minor traffic offense and during the traffic stop the police ask “Are any weapons inside or something illegal that I should know about?” You tell them there’s a gun and learn the hard way that you had a lawfully possessed gun but it was stored in the wrong place. What does the state have to prove for a conviction?
- Carrying about the person;
- A handgun.
It’s really that simple. Mostly this charge arises where a person has a legal gun but has it stored in an unlawful area.
What does “About the Person” mean?
The Attorney General has interpreted “about the person” to mean ANY position where the pistol is readily accessible and convenient for immediate use, whether or not it actually touches the person.
Where can you carry a gun in a vehicle?
There are four (4) main areas that you can legally carry a handgun in your vehicle:
- Closed glove compartment;
- Closed console;
- Closed trunk;
- Closed container secured by a fastener and in the luggage compartment (trunk of a motor vehicle).
Don’t have a trunk?
If you own a vehicle that does not equipped with a trunk, which is more common in todays mid-sized SUV’s then the following will give you guidance:
- The area the manufacturer designed luggage to be carried or where luggage is customarily carried.
- In a station wagon, van, hatchback vehicle, or SUV, the area behind the rearmost seat.
- In a truck, the area behind the rearmost seat.
Can you carry a gun on a motorcycle?
Yes, in a closed saddlebag or other similar closed accessory container attached to the motorcycle.
Where not to carry a gun in a vehicle
The following areas are the most common areas where arrests are made for having a lawfully owned gun but storing it in the wrong place inside the vehicle.
- Under the front or back seat.
- In the pocket of any doors.
- In between the seat and center console.
- Sitting on top of the front or back seat.
16 gun crime defenses
There are 16 exceptions to the Unlawful Carrying a Handgun statute, contact Dale Savage a Charleston gun crimes lawyer to discuss your case and facts for a free case evaluation.
A misdemeanor gun conviction will result in a criminal record and carries a penalty of up to 0-1 year in prison and confiscation of the weapon.
Have a concealed weapons permit
The law changed on February 11, 2014 for those that hold a concealed weapons permit (See Bill 308). If you have a valid South Carolina CWP then it is lawful for you to carry a handgun under the seat or in an open container in the vehicle.
Can you carry a gun into a bar or restaurant?
The answer to that question is YES, but it depends. On February 11th, 2014 the governor of South Carolina signed Bill 308 (read more Here) a new law allowing guns in bars, restaurants etc. under certain conditions. First, you must possess a concealed weapons permit, second, you cannot consume any alcohol on the premises even if you are carrying a concealed weapon, and third, if the business posts a sign prohibiting weapons and you ignore it, you can be charged. Penalties under the new law is a up to 2 years in prison and/or a $2,000 fine, it is a misdemeanor offense.