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Report Shows Major Surge in South Carolina Violent Crime Arrests

Violent crimes in South Carolina have risen significantly over the past few years, with gangs, drugs and illegal access to guns playing major roles in the surge, according to a recent report.

Armed Robbery in South Carolina

Murders were up by 25 percent and aggravated assaults increased by 9 percent from 2019 to 2020, State Law Enforcement Division Chief Mark Keel reported in early June. The 571 homicides in 2020 are the most South Carolina has seen since it began recording the numbers in the 1960s, Keel observed.

Murders and assaults aren’t the only violent crimes on the increase in South Carolina. The term “violent crime” covers a broad scope of offenses, which also include:

  • Voluntary and involuntary manslaughter
  • Armed robbery
  • Kidnapping
  • Homicide by child abuse
  • Criminal sexual contact
  • Trafficking in persons
  • Domestic violence
  • Carjacking
  • Drug trafficking
  • Arson
  • Detonating a destructive device
  • Felony DUI causing injury or death
  • Hit-and-run collision resulting in fatality

Violent crimes are vigorously prosecuted in South Carolina. Even if you were only an accessory to a violent crime, you can be charged with it personally. You can also be charged with aiding and abetting its commission.

Being charged with a violent crime can have serious ramifications. Violent crimes are categorized as felonies in six classes (A through F) or as misdemeanors in three classes (A through C). Penalties can range from up to five years in prison for a Class F felony to 30 years in prison for a Class A felony. In addition, a murder conviction is punishable with life in prison or the death penalty.

Depending on the offense, you may not be eligible for release on bond, such as in cases involving murder and burglary in the first degree. Sentencing also can vary based upon the offense. For crimes that are classified as “most serious,” a sentence of life in prison with no parole is possible.

Facing these serious charges requires a carefully prepared and strategized criminal defense. In murder, manslaughter and assault cases, you may be able to prove self-defense, accident or other justification. South Carolina also recognizes the “castle doctrine,” which permits the use of deadly force if necessary for someone to defend themselves in their home. Depending on the circumstances and your prior criminal record, if any, your lawyer may be able to negotiate a reduction in the charges.

If you are facing charges for a violent crime, it’s essential to contact an experienced and skilled criminal defense attorney who can protect your rights. Jack B. Swerling, Attorney at Law offers reliable representation for those who have been charged with violent crimes throughout South Carolina. Call 800-701-0599 or contact us online to schedule a consultation at our Columbia office.

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Jack Swerling In The News >>

  • Jack Swerling, Derrick Mobley and Alissa Wilson were successful in having a Judge rule after an extensive hearing, that the defendant was immune from prosecution based on the “Stand Your Ground” law in a murder prosecution. The Judgment was handed down on March 29, 2021.
  • Jack Swerling, Gregory Harris and Alissa Wilson obtained a Not Guilty Verdict in Lexington County on March 3, 2022. An Orthopedic Surgeon was charged with Involuntary Manslaughter in the accidental shooting death of a friend.
  • “When Jack is on my docket, I tell my law clerks, ‘You do not want to miss this. You are seeing one of the greatest trial lawyers in the state’s history.'” -South Carolina Circuit Court Judge
  • Jack was selected to Super Lawyers Magazine Top Ten List for 2019. Each year Super Lawyers recognizes the top lawyers in South Carolina via a selection process involving peer evaluations, independent research and professional achievement. The South Carolina lawyers who receive the highest points during this selection process are further recognized in the South Carolina Super Lawyers Top Ten List.
  • USA v. FRANK*: In a child pornography case, Swerling was successful in obtaining a 22 level variance reducing the defendant’s sentence from 8 years to 6 months.
  • STATE v. BORIS: The defendant was found not guilty by reason of insanity in a case where the defendant was involved in a shoot-out with 3 police officers.
  • STATE v. TYGER: Jack Swerling obtains a not guilty verdict in a criminal sexual conduct case in Beaufort County.
  • Pre Trial Dispositions: STATE v. DWAYNE: Mr. Swerling successfully argued for the dismissal of stalking and unlawful use of telephone charges brought against a prominent businessman in Florence County.
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