Assault in South Carolina – Laws and Defenses


Assault and battery is a serious crime in South Carolina. It is divided into four different degrees, two of them being serious felonies. Someone’s actions are considered assault and battery when there is both physical contact and/or the threat of physical contact. 

All states have laws against illegally injuring somebody. All states also have laws against illegally threatening someone. Some states divide these laws into separate assault and battery charges. South Carolina does not.

Assault and battery is one of the most commonly prosecuted crimes in South Carolina. Because it’s often violent or contentious, it carries strict consequences. Even misdemeanor assault and battery can have long-term effects on someone’s ability to live a normal life. 


Penalties for Assault and Battery

Assault and Battery in South Carolina is divided into four different charges. The most serious charge is called assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature (ABHAN). This is a serious and violent offense under South Carolina law. A person could face 20 years of prison if convicted. ABHAN and first-degree A&B are both felonies. A first-degree A&B conviction can land someone 10 years of imprisonment. 

Second and third-degree A&B come with lesser but still serious consequences including multi-year prison terms and parole. 


Possible Defenses to Assault and Battery in South Carolina

Self-defense can sometimes be used as a counterargument to an assault and battery charge. This is because self-defense is not just a defense of a person themselves but also a family member or friend or property.

If a person is threatening to commit a violent act against you, you are within your rights to defend yourself with force. If you believe you are in danger and there are reasonable facts to back up that belief then you can use force to defend yourself. Of course this also applies if the person who threatened you follows through with the threats and strikes you. 

South Carolina also has laws in place that are known as ‘Castle Doctrine.’ South Carolina’s Castle Doctrine laws allow a person to use reasonable force when defending themselves, their home, business, or vehicle. 


Cornwell Law Firm – Charleston Criminal Defense Lawyer

Everyone deserves fair legal representation, even when the odds seem stacked against them. That’s why we help. We believe in our duty to defend those accused of any crime. We want you to be able to tell your side of the story. Contact our firm today to set up a consultation.

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