South Carolina State Laws

South Carolina Law

Since it became a state South Carolina has had seven different constitutions to govern its citizens. The first was created in 1776 and was closely followed by the disestablishment of the Anglican Church and an upper house creation two years later. In 1790 control was established over every aspect of the state government through General Assembly.

The year 1861 brought on a Confederate constitution and was replaced four years later when reentering the Union. A popular vote ratified public education, created new counties, and male suffrage in 1868. The final change to South Carolina’s constitution took place in 1895 when establishments attempted to eliminate black voting.

Several hundreds of amendments have been made to the current constitution and the laws that govern the state. Many of these laws include those of gun laws, bankruptcy laws, divorce laws, felony conviction, labor laws, expungement, and drunken driving laws.

Gun Laws

South Carolina considers itself a “shall issue” state where concealed weapons may be issued upon requested permit. Permits are not necessary to purchase rifles, handguns, and shotguns. South Carolina citizens are also allowed to have firearms in their living places and business dwellings for personal safety. This is legal under the Castle Doctrine, which also allows certain amounts of force to be used when defending the self, also called justifiable homicide.

Citizens do need prior permission to carry any kind of firearm on public or private property. Open carry is not permitted within South Carolina’s state borders, with the exception of loaded handguns kept in glove compartments.


In most cases expungement is not possible for most people. Felony offenses and misdemeanor offenses normally are not eligible for expungement. Traffic offenses, including speeding infractions, also cannot be expunged from an individual’s criminal record.

The only misdemeanor offense that is eligible for expungement is that of marijuana possession. This is only possible on a first offense, according to South Carolina law 44-53-45. In these cases all the information surrounding the case will be eliminated along with any information of guilt, dismissal, indictment, or discharge. In all cases of expungement, individuals will then no longer be required to acknowledge any arrests or guilty pleas.

Drunken Driving

In the state of South Carolina the number of previous offenses and the circumstances around a current offense will dictate the consequences of a driving under the influence conviction. Upon an arrest if an individual was driving over the speed limit, had a minor in his or her motor vehicle, harmed another, or had a blood alcohol content twice the legal limit, he or she will have his or her sentence increased. A first offense that would ordinarily have a fine of four hundred dollars and a jail sentence of forty-eight hours will be increased if there were any aggravating circumstances.


South Carolina offers two different kinds of bankruptcy for personal use. Chapter Seven bankruptcy allows individuals to relinquish their debts through liquidating different portions of their property. Chapter Thirteen bankruptcy allows individuals to eliminate their debts through a personal payment plan. Not all who apply for bankruptcy will be granted and not all are eligible.

South Carolina Law Articles


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