South Carolina Sentencing Considerations

South Carolina has a very complexed sentencing scheme. The ability to be paroled is very expansive and many defendants are out of prison very quickly. Understanding this system cannot be extremely confusioning, even for a good South Carolina Criminal Defense Lawyer. South Carolina breaks down the criminal statutes into 9 seperate catagories. There are 6 felony levels and 3 misdemeanor levels in South Carolina. The following is how the offenses are catagorized:

  1. Class A felonies provide for not more than 30 years in prison
  2. Class B felonies provide for not more than 25 years in prison
  3. Class C felonies provide for not more than 20 years in prison
  4. Class D felonies provide for not more than 15 years in prison
  5. Class F felonies provide for not more than 10 years in prison
  6. Class A misdemeanor provide for not more than 3 years in prison
  7. Class B misdemeanor provide for not more than 2 years in prison
  8. Class C misdemeanor provide for not more than 1 year in prison

The problem with this list are the exceptions. There are misdemeanors in South Carolina that carry up to 10 years in prison. This is very rare in the judicial system. Most states provide that misdemeanor convictions will not allow for a jail term above 1 year. In South Carolina there are criminal violations that are listed as misdemeanors, but actually the sentence is a felony type sentence. This is one of the reasons that sentencing in South Carolina criminal courts are very confusing. It is also important to realize that the Classs A felony that gives a maximum of 30 years does not apply to all felony crimes. There are many crimes that provide for life in prison and there are capital felonies that provide for death.

South Carolina Parole Issues

There are several issues related to the South Carolina Parole system. The specific felony crimes have a provision that either allows for parole or does not allow for parole in South Carolina.
The general law in South Carolina is as follows:

  • Violent Offenses provide for parole eligibility at completion of 33% of their sentence.
  • Non-Violent Offenses provide for parole eligibility at completion of 25% of their sentence.
  • 2nd Conviction of a Violent Offense renders the defendant non eligible for parole.

As usual there are no guarantees as to a specific defendant getting paroled no matter what the charge. No South Carolina Defense attorney can tell a client when they will be paroled. The South Carolina Department of Corrections is in control of who gets paroled and when they get paroled.


Our South Carolina Criminal Defense Lawyers are very experienced in defending criminal cases and in assisting in parole hearings. We provide representation in all Criminal Courts in South Carolina. Our Myrtle Beach attorneys defend felonies and misdemeanors in Myrtle Beach, North Myrtle Beach, Conway, Georgetown, Columbia, Charleston and Greenville South Carolina.

Call our office at 843-839-2900 to speak to a defense lawyer in Myrtle Beach, Charleston, North Myrtle Beach, Conway, Columbia, Miami or Florence.