South Carolina’s laws for sex crimes with minors

Residents in South Carolina who have been arrested and charged with sexual crimes against children should understand the different types of charges and potential consequences.

There are several different types of criminal charges that can be faced in South Carolina relating to sex crimes with minors. Each charge has a specific definition and carries with it a specific set of penalties if a conviction is achieved. Understanding these facts is important for anyone who has been charged with such a crime.

What types of charges can be faced?

According to the University of South Carolina Law School, the state groups sex crimes involving minors into three distinct categories. One is for acts involving pictures or other media, one is for acts involving the solicitation of minors for sexual purposes, and the last one is for any act that involves the touching or attempted touching of a minor.

What are some examples of touching charges?

A charge related to touching or attempted touching may also involve penetration but does not have to. If penetration is alleged, a charge of criminal sexual conduct with a minor can be made.

The most serious criminal sexual conduct with a minor charge is a first degree, type one offense and can result in a mandatory 25-year minimum sentence. This is made when the alleged victim is under 11 years old. A first degree, type two offense is made when the alleged victim is under 16 years old and the defendant has been convicted of a prior offense. A conviction for this offense can result in 10 to 30 years in prison.

If an alleged victim is between 11 and 14 years old and there is no prior conviction on record for the defendant, a charge of criminal sexual conduct with a minor in the second degree, type one can be made. If the alleged victim is 14 or 15 years old and the defendant is older than the alleged victim, the charge may be a second degree, type two. Convictions for any of these offenses may result in prison sentences lasting up to 20 years.

Do defendants have to register as sex offenders?

According to the South Carolina Legislature, only persons convicted of sex crimes need to register as sex offenders. Simply being charged with an offense does not necessitate registration. It is important to note, however, that if a person is convicted of a consensual act, they will not be required to participate in the state's sex offender registry program.

What should a defendant do?

The impact of a conviction for a sex crime against a minor can have far-reaching implications for a defendant. Contacting an attorney after an arrest is recommended to allow maximum time to work together on a proper defense.