South Carolina Murder Charges
Murder is the most severe of crimes, carrying a minimum sentence of 30 years in prison. Under some circumstances the State can seek the death penalty.
Statutory Aggravating Circumstances
Under certain circumstances, South Carolina murder law provides for the death. The death penalty, however, is available only when the prosecutor can prove the existence of at least one of the aggravating circumstances set out by the South Carolina Legislature:
- The murder occurred during the commission of another dangerous felony, such as burglary or kidnapping.
- The defendant was previously convicted of murder.
- The defendant acted in a public place and knowingly endangered the lives of multiple people.
- The murder was committed for hire.
- The murder of a state or federal law enforcement, judicial, or other public officer occurred while in the course of his or her duties or a family member of such an officer was murdered.
- Multiple murders were committed.
- A child under age 11 was murdered.
- A witness was murdered to deter prosecution.
- The defendant is a sexually violent predator.
Statutory Mitigating Circumstances
Even if an aggravating factor exists, a death sentence is not mandatory. An experienced South Carolina murder lawyer can help a client avoid the death penalty by presenting to a jury the presence of one or more mitigating circumstances:
- The defendant has no previous convictions for violent crime.
- The murder occurred during a period of mental disturbance.
- The victim participated or consented to the criminal act.
- The defendant was a minor accomplice.
- The defendant acted under duress.
- The defendant was under 18 or lacked sufficient mental capacity to appreciate the severity of his or her actions.
- The defendant was provoked by the victim.
Jack Swerling has represented hundreds of clients facing homicide charges. If you are facing this most serious of charges, retain a criminal defense lawyer who is serious about protecting your rights and freedom.
Contact South Carolina Criminal Defense Attorney Jack B. Swerling Today
If you are facing murder charges or learn you are the subject of a murder investigation, call our law firm 24 hours a day at 800.701.0599. Our answering service can direct you to Jack Swerling at Law. You may also contact Jack Swerling online.