Statutory Violent Crimes
In everyday conversation, the phrase “violent crimes” usually refers to any crime that involves physical force and that has a victim or victims. But, there is also a statutory definition of “violent crime” under SC law.
There is often confusion over what the phrase "violent crime" means for purposes of sentencing in South Carolina - violent crimes are defined in S.C. Code § 16-1-60, Violent crimes defined, and a non-violent crime is any crime that is not listed in § 16-1-60.
To further complicate matters, “violent crime” does not necessarily mean that you cannot be paroled or must serve 85% of the sentence – no-parole and 85% crimes are separately defined in SC law.
A person who is convicted of a violent crime is generally eligible for parole after 1/3 of their sentence has been served, whereas a person convicted of a non-violent crime is generally eligible for parole after 1/4 of their sentence has been served, as outlined in S.C. Code § 24-21-610, Eligibility for parole.
This is a general rule only, and there are many other factors that may affect parole eligibility.
Statutory violent crimes are not automatically no-parole or "85%" crimes, although these two classifications often overlap.
Inmates earn various "credits" which can greatly reduce the amount of time that they serve on their sentences, including work credits, education credits, and good behavior credits.
S.C. Code § 24-13-100, Definition of no parole offense, defines a no-parole offense as a Class A, B, or C felony, or any crime that is exempt from classification but punishable by a maximum term of 20 years or more.
Under S.C. Code § 24-13-150, Early release, a person convicted of a no-parole offense is not eligible for parole and cannot be released until they have served at least 85% of their sentence.
Lacey Thompson is a criminal defense lawyer with offices in Columbia and Myrtle Beach, SC. She accepts only criminal defense clients, including violent crimes, criminal appeals, and post-conviction relief (PCR).
If you have been accused of a violent crime in Horry County, Richland County, or Lexington County, call the Thompson Defense Firm now at 843-444-6122 or contact us online to find out how we can help.