Misdemeanor charges can be serious, but are not as crucial as felonies, which involve more complicated and expensive procedures. In South Carolina, the court system divides misdemeanor charges in three separate categories, and each category consists of its own complex set of rules.
The Misdemeanor Guide explains the details of misdemeanor charges. According to the guide, the first offense of a crime is a misdemeanor, the second offense is a Class C misdemeanor and the third offense is called a Class A misdemeanor. If a fourth offense or more occurs, the justice system considers the crime a Class F felony. Those charged with a misdemeanor typically serve time in a country jail instead of prisons. The most severe type of misdemeanor in South Carolina is a Class A misdemeanor, in which an individual must serve no more than three years in a county jail facility. There are a number of exceptions to these categories, as some misdemeanors can result in a ten-year prison sentence. Although these sentences are rare, misdemeanors can, in fact, carry a felony conviction.
The actions that can result in a misdemeanor vary, and are further explained by the South Carolina Legislature. The Legislature considers offenses with sentences of less than one year as misdemeanors that are exempt from the classification system. Such exempt offenses include possessing marijuana or controlled substances without appropriate stamps, assault and battery by mob in the first degree and robbery of operators for vehicles of hire. The details of each offense may differ depending on their extremities, and the system procedures of each type of misdemeanor are further explained on the South Carolina Legislature website.