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Sex Crimes in South Carolina

Charged with a Sex Crime in South Carolina?

Whether you have been arrested and charged with:

  • criminal sexual conduct of any degree
  • criminal sexual conduct with a minor of any degree
  • criminal solicitation of a minor
  • sexual exploitation (child pornography)
  • lewd act, and
  • dissemination

Our attorneys are familiar with the system.  The Strom Law Firm, LLC understands the implications of a sex crime conviction.

Criminal Sexual Conduct Law in South Carolina

In South Carolina, criminal sexual conduct is defined as (§16-3-652 – §16-3-654):

  • First degree CSC: the accused engaged in sexual battery with the victim and if any one or more of the following circumstances are proven:
    • (a) The accused used aggravated force (involves carrying out a threat) to accomplish sexual battery.
    • (b) The victim submitted to sexual battery by the accused under circumstances where the victim was also the victim of forcible confinement, kidnapping, trafficking in persons, robbery, extortion, burglary, housebreaking, or any other similar offense or act.
    • (c) The accused caused the victim, without the victim’s consent, to become mentally incapacitated or physically helpless by administering, distributing, dispensing, delivering, or causing to be administered, distributed, dispensed, or delivered a controlled substance, a controlled substance analogue, or any intoxicating substance.
  • Second degree CSC: If the accused used aggravated coercion (entails a threat)  to accomplish sexual battery.
  • Third degree CSC: If the accused engaged in sexual battery with the victim and if any one or more of the following circumstances are proven:
    • (a) The accused used force or coercion to accomplish the sexual battery in the absence of aggravating circumstances.
    • (b) The accused knew or had reason to know that the victim is mentally defective, mentally incapacitated, or physically helpless and aggravated force or aggravated coercion was not used to accomplish sexual battery.

Criminal Sexual Conduct Penalties

  • A person convicted of criminal sexual conduct in the first degree is guilty of a felony, and could face up to to 35 years in prison.
  • A person convicted of criminal sexual conduct in the second degree is guilty of a felony, and could face up to 20 years in prison.
  • A person convicted of criminal sexual conduct in the second degree is guilty of a felony, and could face up to 10 years in prison.

Criminal Sexual Conduct With a Minor

There are three degrees of criminal sexual conduct with a minor:

  • First degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor
    • Sexual battery of a child less than 11 years of age
      • Penalty:  25 years to life in prison
    • Sexual battery of a child less than 16 years of age AND the accused has been previously convicted of, pled guilty or nolo contendere to, for an offense listed in SC Code of Laws § 23-3-430C OR is registered on the sexual registry list
      • Penalty:  10-30 years in prison
  • Second degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor
    • Victim is 11-14 years of age; OR, Victim is less than 16 years old and the perpetrator has official, parental, or custodial authority over the victim to coerce the victim into submission.
      • Penalty:  up to 20 years in prison
  • Third degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor
    • Lewd act upon a 14-16 year old victim with the intent of sexually arousing, appealing to, or gratifying the lust, passions, or sexual desires of the perpetrator or the child
      • Penalty:  fine at the discretion of the court and/or up to 15 years in prison

Investigated for a criminal sexual conduct with a minor charge?

Being investigated or arrested for Criminal Sexual Conduct with a Minor, or sexual exploitation of a minor, is a serious allegation with potentially life altering consequences.  Depending upon your charges, if you are convicted, you face stiff prison sentences and may be required to register as a sex offender for the rest of your life.

You may also jeopardize your future including:

  • loss of financial aid and scholarships,
  • loss of your job as well as the inability to obtain future employment,
  • possible disciplinary action before a professional board, and
  • loss of custody and visitation rights.

However, being arrested for criminal sexual conduct with a minor does not mean that you are guilty or that you do not have a defense.

Criminal Solicitation of a Minor

According to South Carolina Law Section 16-15-342 “Solicitation” involves contacting or communicating with a person who is under the age of 18, or believed by the perpetrator to be under the age of 18, for the purposes of sexual activity or violent crime, including rape or sexual assault.

In today’s technology era, the most common route of solicitation of a minor is through the internet.  Internet crimes against minor children can involve charges of dissemination of harmful materials to minors, which include pornography, lewd selfies, or erotic stories. If you attempt, ask or communicate your desire to engage in sexual activity after the “child’s” age is made clear, even if you never meet, you can be charged with criminal solicitation of a minor.   Additionally, social networking sites including Facebook and Twitter, and some mobile apps have become a frequent forum for law enforcement posing as an underage minor.  A person who appears to be  a minor, talks and presents themselves as a minor may actually be an agent running an online sting.

Penalty for criminal solicitation of a minor:

  • Up to $5,000 fine and/or up to 10 years in prison

Criminal Sexual Exploitation of a Minor (Child Pornography)

Depending on whether you are in possession of child porn or if you facilitate a minor’s engagement in sexual activity, you could face charges for sexual exploitation. There are many factors that play a role and impact the severity of charges you receive, including the amount of videos and pictures depicting child pornography in your possession, or if your case is federally prosecuted.  Mistake of age is not a defense to this particular crime.

Criminal Sexual Exploitation of a Minor Offenses:

  • First degree sexual exploitation of a minor: 
    • The accused knew the content of the material or performance; AND
    • The accused used, employed, induced, coerced, encouraged, or facilitated a minor to engage in sexual activity for a live performance or for the purpose of producing material that contains a visual representation depicting sexual activity; AND
    • the accused permitted a minor under his custody or control to engage in sexual activity for a live performance or for the purpose of producing material that contains a visual representation depicting this activity; AND
    • the accused transported or financed the transportation of a minor through or across this State with the intent that the minor engage in sexual activity for a live performance or for the purpose of producing material that contains a visual representation depicting this activity; OR
    • That the accused recorded, photographed, filmed, developed, duplicated, produced, or created a digital electronic file for sale or monetary gain material containing a visual representation depicting a minor engaged in sexual activity.
  • Second degree sexual exploitation of a minor:
    • The accused knew the content of the material or performance; AND
    • The accused recorded, photographed, filmed, developed, duplicated, produced, or created digital electronic file material containing a visual representation depicting a minor engaged in sexual activity; OR
    • The accused distributed, transported, exhibited, received, sold, purchased, exchanged, or solicited material that contains a visual representation depicting this activity.
  • Third degree sexual exploitation of a minor:
    • The accused knew the content of the material or performance; AND
    • The accused possessed material that contains a visual representation depicting sexual activity.Penalties for Criminal Sexual Exploitation of a Minor
  • First degree criminal sexual exploitation:  3-20 years in prison
  • Second degree criminal sexual exploitation: 2-10 years in prison
  • Third degree criminal sexual exploitation:  up to  10 years in prison

Disseminating, Obtaining, or Promoting Material

It is unlawful for any person to knowingly disseminate obscenity. Any material is deemed obscene if it meets one of the following standards:

  • The material depicts or describes in a patently offensive way sexual conduct; AND
  • The average person, applying contemporary community standards, relating to the depiction or description of sexual conduct would find that the material taken as a whole appeals to the lewd interest in sex; AND
  • To a reasonable person, the material taken as a whole lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value; AND
  • The material as used is not otherwise protected or privileged under the Constitutions of the United States or of this State.

Penalties for Disseminating Obscene Material

A person convicted of disseminating obscene material is guilty of a felony and faces a maximum of 5 years imprisonment, and/or fined a max of $10,000.

Call the Strom Law Firm, LLC For a FREE Criminal Defense Consultation

If charged with a sex crime,  you should be concerned about professional and private future. Criminal charges can be complex and intimidating, so it is important that you find legal representation as soon as possible. We know how the system works and will work to achieve the best possible outcome for your case.  Contact us today for a free consultation to discuss your charges and how we can help.  We offer flexible payment options and accept Visa and Mastercard.

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