Are you facing firearm charges? Fight the charges with an aggressive Greenville weapons and gun charge lawyer at Bannister, Wyatt & Stalvey, LLC. Call (864) 920-2709 or message us to get help from a weapons charge lawyer.
Gun Charge Attorney in Greenville, SC
You have important rights. If you’re accused of a weapons offense, the most valuable tool you can employ is an experienced lawyer.
Our lawyers fight gun charges in South Carolina. Our law firm has been helping people defend against criminal charges in the Greenville, SC area since 1976.
Don’t wait to get legal help on your side. Call or message us for a consultation and to get representation today.
South Carolina Gun Charge Offenses
S.C. Code § 16-23-20 – Unlawful Carrying of a Pistol
- Any handgun
- About the person
- Concealed or not
A handgun is any firearm designed to expel a projectile and fired by hand. Antiques, collector’s items and guns that don’t fire are excluded.
Penalty: Misdemeanor, up to 1 year in jail, $1,000 fine, or both.
There are important exemptions:
- Law enforcement officers, including retired and other states when carrying for official duties
- Members and guests of shooting and antique clubs, going to and from activities
- Licensed hunters and fishers, when engaged in or going to and from activities
- Manufacturers, repairers, those who deal in firearms, in the course of business
- Authorized guards, prison guards
- Military, including for parades
- At home
- On the property of another with permission
- In a vehicle, in a closed console like the glove compartment or trunk. If the person has a concealed weapons permit, under a seat or in an open storage compartment
- After a purchase or while moving, if unloaded and securely wrapped
- Persons permitted by SLED (South Carolina Law Enforcement Division)
- Owner or person in control of a business, employee with permit and permission
- Firearm business including training, repair, pawning or use
- Transferring from vehicle to a place of lawful possession
- In a motorcycle, in a closed saddle bag or other container
S.C. Code § 16-23-410 – Pointing Firearms at a Person
- Present or point
- At another person
- Whether loaded or unloaded
Exceptions: Self-defense, theatrical performance
Penalty: Felony, up to 5 years in prison, fine set by the court
S.C. Code § 16-23-420 – Possession of a Firearm on School Property
- On property owned, operated or controlled by a school
- School includes a college, university, technical college, other post-secondary school
- Without express permission of school authorities
- Entering school property, and
- Brandishing or threatening others with a firearm
Exception: Law enforcement, school guards, members of the armed forces, concealed carry permit holders with their firearm in the secured compartment of a vehicle
Penalty: Up to 5 years in prison, $5,000 fine, or both
S.C. Code § 16-23-430 – Carrying Weapons on School Property
- On property of elementary of secondary school
- Knife (2”+ blade), blackjack, metal pipe or pole, firearms, other weapons that may inflict bodily injury or death
Exceptions: Law enforcement, others authorized by school officials, concealed permit holders with their firearm in the secured compartment of a vehicle
Penalty: Felony, up to 5 years in prison, $1,000 fine, forfeiture of weapon
S.C. Code § 16-23-490 – Possession of Firearm or Knife During Violent Crime
- In possession or visibly displays
- Firearm or what appears to be a firearm
- During violent crime (as defined in § 16-1-60)
- Is convicted of violent crime or attempt
Penalty: 5 years in prison in addition to principal offense, unless 5 years is less than mandatory minimum for the violent crime. Court may choose consecutive or concurrent sentencing.
S.C. Code § 16-23-500 – Unlawful Possession of a Firearm by a Person Convicted of a Violent Offense
- Possession of a firearm
- Prior violent offense conviction (as defined in § 16-1-60)
Penalty: Felony, up to 5 years, fine up to $2,000, confiscation of weapon, weapon may be released to innocent owner
S.C. Code § 16-23-520 – Possession or Sale of Firearm to Unlawful Alien
- Possession, purchase, sell, lease, rent, exchange a firearm, by an alien unlawfully present
- Sell, buy, lease, to rent, exchange with, a firearm, knowing the other person is an unlawful alien
Penalty: Felony, up to 10 years in prison, fine up to $10,000
Understanding South Carolina Weapons Charges
What is a weapons charge?
A weapons charge is a criminal offense alleging unlawful obtaining, possessing, transferring or using a firearm.
Does SC have concealed carry?
As of 2022, there are 478,699 active concealed carry permits in South Carolina. A person who qualifies may take a firearms training course, submit to fingerprinting and complete an application for a permit to carry a firearm concealed in the state.
Are there exceptions to concealed carry in SC?
Even if you have a concealed carry permit in SC, you may not carry a concealable weapon in a:
- Law enforcement facility
- Polling place on election day
- School board meeting
- School or college athletic event
- Daycare, preschool
- Church, unless church officials approve
- Where prohibited by signage
Is SC an Open Carry State?
To open carry in South Carolina, a person must have a permit. While other states allow any person who lawfully owns a weapon to openly carry it, a person who does not have a permit or another lawful reason may not carry a weapon where it is visible to others in SC.
Federal Gun Charges
In addition to South Carolina laws, the United States has federal gun laws. The laws cover many of the same topics as state offenses, including unlawful possession by a prohibited person, stolen weapons offenses, firearms in school zones and juvenile offenses. Firearms involved in criminal offenses are subject to seizure. While similar, the laws are not completely the same.
Our Greenville weapons and gun charge lawyers can assist you if you are facing South Carolina or United States federal weapons charges. We understand the differences and the court process involved. Our lawyers can provide an aggressive defense in any court, defending your rights and freedoms.
Potential penalties for a gun charge in South Carolina vary based on the specifics of the offense. Unlawful possession of a firearm is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail, but potential penalties for other offenses are more severe.
Defending Against Gun Charges in South Carolina
The best way to defend against a gun charge depends on the circumstances of the case. You may raise preliminary motions to exclude evidence and take your case to trial. You may testify, cross-examine the state’s witnesses and present your own evidence. The state must prove each element of the charges against you.
What are defenses to a gun charge?
Defenses to a gun charge may include:
- The stop, detention or search violated your rights
- You lawfully possessed the weapon under one of the statutory exceptions
- The item in question was not a gun, or it was an exempt antique or collector’s item
- Self-defense, defense of others
- The weapon was not in a place where it was prohibited, or it was secured correctly
- You did not point or brandish the weapon as alleged
- You were not on property where the weapon was not allowed
- Witnesses are not telling the truth, they have biases
- Witnesses had poor observation of what occurred, they did not perceive the facts correctly
- Law enforcement made errors in chain of custody and security of evidence
Any gun charge is a serious matter. However, a charge alone is not a conviction. You may be arrested, and you can seek bond.
You may take your case to trial by jury. You have the right to testify in your own defense, or you may choose not to. If you are convicted, you face jail time, a conviction on your record, consequences for your employment, fines and other penalties. You have the right to have a Greenville weapons and gun charge lawyer represent you.
Get Help from a Weapons and Gun Charge Lawyer in Greenville, SC
At Bannister, Wyatt & Stalvey, LLC, we know that how you respond to a gun charge impacts your life now and in the future. Work with a team who is highly experienced and motivated to fight gun charges. We take cases in Greenville, SC and the surrounding courts.