Cruelty against animals is currently a misdemeanor crime in many parts of the country. Those convicted of animal cruelty often face minor penalties, including small fines. However, some lawmakers hope to make this type of crime a felony across South Carolina and the rest of the U.S.
The exact circumstances of a crime determine the selection of criminal charges in South Carolina. The intent and behavior of an individual accused of killing another person influence how a prosecutor applies a homicide charge. The term reckless homicide has been developed to describe deaths that arise from people who knowingly acted in an unsafe manner.
There is a common misconception that assault and battery are the same thing, but they are legally different in South Carolina and in other states. Assault means placing someone in fear of physical harm while battery involves actual contact. For example, a person commits assault if they raise their fist as if they are going to strike someone while battery involves making physical contact.
Authorities say that a 60-year-old South Carolina man who was taken into custody on the morning of Nov. 15 has been linked to a recent series of at least six bank robberies in Alabama and Florida. The man was apprehended when officers from the Lakeland Police Department, deputies from the Polk County Sheriff's Office and agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Safe Streets Task Force conducted a traffic stop in Lakeland, Fla. Police say that the pickup truck the man was traveling in had been stolen from a South Carolina car dealer.
Felonies are the most serious crimes in a classification system that can include infractions, misdemeanors and felonies. In South Carolina, a felony conviction can result in fines or prison time of five years or more. Many crimes classed as felony offenses are violent although some are not. Generally, felonies are crimes that are considered morally offensive to the community.
Some Pennsylvanians are wrongfully convicted of crimes that they did not commit. While cases in which people have been exonerated by DNA for murder convictions have been reported, little information about the percentage of people who have been wrongfully convicted of other crimes is available.
South Carolina law acknowledges that there is a fine line between giving extra attention to and stalking someone. The law generally defines stalking as any activity that could cause fear of death or assault. Stalking may also occur when a pattern of activity causes fear of damage to that individual's property or to a family member's property. A person may be charged with aggravated stalking if violence occurs along with other activities that rise to the level of stalking.
If you are arrested and charged with a crime in South Carolina, you may wonder why you have been charged with a felony instead of a misdemeanor or other charge.