Possession of a gun during a violent crime in South Carolina
Did you know that being in possession of a gun during a violent crime creates an additional crime with mandatory prison time in South Carolina? Hi, my name is Dale Savage and I’m a criminal defense attorney here in Charleston, South Carolina and today we’re talking about a South Carolina’s gun law that makes it a felony to possess a firearm during a violent crime.
What is the Law?
So how does this law apply and how do you defend it? In South Carolina there is a statute that classifies certain crimes as violent. That means if you commit one of these statutory violent crimes and had a gun or knife in your possession at the time, you can be charged with an additional felony crime that carries a 5-year mandatory prison sentence.
When we are talking about crimes such as murder, attempted murder, armed robbery, kidnapping or assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature most people aren’t surprised to learn of the additional firearm charge.
But in my experience the same is not true when it comes to drug trafficking. If you are charged with drug trafficking, which is possession of a certain threshold weight of drugs, and you have possession of a firearm as well, you now have an additional felony gun charge.
The reason this surprises a lot of people is that the gun can be lawfully owned, you may never have threatened or pointed the gun at anyone, but by simply having possession of that gun at the time of being in possession of drugs that meet the threshold weight for drug trafficking, creates an additional crime.
So, if police execute a search warrant on your home and find illegal narcotics that meet that threshold trafficking weight and there is a firearm in the home, you now have an additional gun charge that sometimes can carry more jail time than the underlying drug trafficking charge. The gun does not even need to be in the same room as the drugs.
So how do you challenge these cases? Because this particular gun charge arises from the underlying violent crime, if you can resolve that violent crime charge by either by showing you are not guilty or pleading to some other offense that is not a violent crime, then the gun charge is automatically dismissed b/c there is no longer a violent crime that triggers the additional punishment for this charge. So, it’s vital that your lawyer reviews any possible options you may have to fight the underlying violent offense.
If you’ve been charged with possession of a weapon during a violent crime and would like to discuss your options, call me at (843) 530-7813. I hope this video was helpful and thanks for watching.