Like many states, South Carolina has strict regulations for using, possessing, and carrying firearms and other deadly weapons.
The state’s weapon laws are put in place to protect citizens, maintain public safety, and prevent gun violence. However, these laws can be complex. As such, violating them can result in serious criminal consequences.
We know how to handle weapons charges at The Law Office of Mo Abusaft. Our skilled defense attorneys have experience fighting misdemeanor and felony charges, and we’re dedicated to providing a comprehensive weapons defense for all our clients.
Contact us today if you’ve been arrested for violating one or more weapons-related charges in South Carolina.
Weapon and Firearm Laws in South Carolina
In South Carolina, several statutes govern the use and possession of firearms and other deadly weapons. Some of the most notable laws include:
Concealed Weapon Permit (CWP)
South Carolina requires individuals who wish to carry a concealed weapon to obtain a Concealed Weapon Permit (CWP) through the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED). To qualify, applicants must be 21, pass a background check, and complete a firearms training course.
Open Carry Law
In August of 2021, South Carolina enacted its first-ever open carry law, allowing individuals with a CWP to openly carry a handgun in most public areas. However, many restrictions apply. Namely, private property owners can prohibit firearms on their premises.
You face serious criminal penalties whenever you fail to comply with open carry mandates.
Unlawful Carrying of a Handgun
In South Carolina, it’s illegal for an individual to carry a handgun, concealed or otherwise, without a valid CWP or outside the scope of the permit’s allowances. Exceptions include carrying a firearm at home or while hunting or fishing with a valid license.
As standard procedure, individuals convicted of a felony in South Carolina (and elsewhere) are prohibited from possessing a concealed firearm unless their civil rights have been restored. As such, if you have a felony conviction and carry a gun, you risk serious criminal charges, including violating the terms of your probation or parole.
Sale or Transfer of Firearms
Federal and state laws regulate the sale and transfer of firearms. Background checks are required for most transactions, and it’s unlawful to sell or transfer a gun to a prohibited party, such as a convicted felon or someone with an active restraining order.
Consequences of Violating Weapon Laws in South Carolina
Violating South Carolina’s weapon and firearm laws come with varying degrees of consequences and may include:
- Hefty court fees
- Loss of gun ownership rights
The penalties largely depend on the specific offense, past criminal history, and mitigating or aggravating factors.
In South Carolina, misdemeanor weapons charges typically involve less severe violations, such as carrying a concealed weapon without a permit or possessing a firearm in a prohibited place.
Beyond losing the right to carry a firearm, misdemeanor offenses in South Carolina can include:
- Up to one year in prison
- Fines of up to $1,000
- Community service
Even a misdemeanor conviction can harm your personal and public life. As such, if you’ve been arrested on a misdemeanor gun charge, you’ll need the help of a seasoned criminal defense attorney who can help reduce or dismiss the charges.
Felony Weapons Charges
Felony weapons charges are more severe and can stem from offenses like possessing a firearm by a convicted felon, unlawful sale or transfer of a gun, or using a firearm while committing a crime. Consequently, felony weapons convictions come with far more severe penalties, such as:
- Imprisonment for up to five years or more
- Fines of $5,000 or more
The laws that regulate weapons charges in South Carolina can be complex and include many legal gray areas. However, a dedicated criminal defense attorney can find unique ways to fight the charges and obtain positive results.
Fighting Weapons Charges in South Carolina
Following an arrest for a weapons-related offense in South Carolina, it’s crucial to consult with an established criminal defense attorney who will protect your rights and start building a solid defense.
Every case is unique, but defense attorneys are skilled at developing effective strategies to mitigate the citation. Some common tactics used by defense attorneys include:
- Challenging the legality of a search and seizure
- Arguing that the weapon was not in your possession
- Challenging the status of the weapon
- Presenting evidence of lawful possession
- Highlighting weaknesses in the case itself
- Negotiating a favorable plea bargain
- Taking the case to trial
Like other criminal charges, weapons offenses can be challenging to resolve, but a determined attorney will ensure that no stone is left unturned in fighting the case.
South Carolina Defense Attorneys Are Ready to Help
At the Law Office of Mo Abusaft, we’re determined to defend our clients from beginning to end. Whether you were arrested for unlawful possession of a gun or an illegitimate firearm sale, we’re ready to help. Our legal team will investigate the charges, look for weaknesses in the case, and challenge evidence as needed. If you’ve been arrested for a weapons-related crime in South Carolina, contact us today.