Are all misdemeanors the same?

You have likely heard about people being charged with crimes in South Carolina and some of the time these crimes are referred to as felonies while others are referred to as misdemeanors. As you may well know, felonies are considered more serious offenses than misdemeanors. However, there is more of a distinction in the type of crime an act may be considered than simply whether it is a felony or a misdemeanor.

As explained by the South Carolina Legislature, there are six different classifications of felonies ranging from a Class F felony which is the least serious of the group to a Class A felony which is the most severe or serious of all crimes. When it comes to misdemeanors, once again the state identifies different types of offenses. Unlike felonies which have six classifications, there are only three types of misdemeanors generally. Class A misdemeanors are the most serious of this group and Class C are the least severe.

Each criminal classification has its own set of minimum and maximum penalties. For Class A, B and C misdemeanors the maximum incarceration time ranges from one to three years. Any offense that has an associated incarceration time of less than 12 months is exempt from the standard misdemeanor classifications. 

This information is not intended to provide legal advice but is instead meant to give South Carolina residents an overview of the things that may impact how a certain alleged action is viewed and classified in the eyes of the criminal justice system.

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