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Sexual Misconduct Charges in Charleston and Columbia SC

Tenacious Criminal Sexual Conduct Defense Attorney

Help when you’re facing CSC and sexual assault charges in Columbia & Charleston

Across the country, sexual assault offenses are an increasingly current and hotly debated topic, especially related to campus rape and sexual misconduct in the military. Everyone agrees that sexual assault is a problem that must be addressed strongly and swiftly. However, wrongful criminal sexual conduct (CSC) charges are also equally harmful to the accused.

Although there are a variety of illegal sex crimes here in SC, criminal sexual conduct (CSC) is the most serious. Also known as rape, CSC in the first degree can carry a potential penalty of up to 30 years in prison. All CSC convictions bring mandatory sex offender registry for life, and some may require years or even a lifetime of wearing an ankle monitor.

For charges this serious, you need serious representation. At The Law Offices of A. Randolph Hough, P.A., our more than 25 years of experience brings not only a thorough knowledge of the law, but an inside knowledge of the state and federal criminal justice system. Attorney Hough’s former experience as a prosecutor gives him the insight you need for a strong and solid defense. Call us today to talk about your case.

“Remember, an arrest is not a conviction.”    -    Attorney Hough

What is criminal sexual conduct?

CSC is the formal term for sexual battery, or rape. Criminal sexual conduct involves penetration of the alleged victim’s body, however slight. Under South Carolina Code § 16-3-651 through 654, CSC has three levels: first degree, second degree, and third degree. There’s also a separate offense called CSC with a minor, with its own degrees based on the age of the alleged victim at the time of the offense.

Criminal sexual conduct is a felony offense.

First-degree criminal sexual conduct

Criminal sexual conduct in the first degree is defined as when one person engages in sexual battery with another. This means that one or more of the following conditions occurred during the sexual assault:

  • The offender used aggravated force or coercion
  • The victim was subject to forced confinement, kidnapping, robbery, or burglary
  • The victim was mentally or physically incapacitated by a controlled substance

A first-degree CSC conviction can result in 10 to 30 years in prison with no suspension of sentence or probation.

Second-degree criminal sexual conduct

Criminal sexual conduct in the second degree is when a person engages in sexual battery with another through aggravated coercion. This means using physical force or threatening injury with a dangerous weapon. A second-degree CSC conviction can result in up to 20 years in prison with no suspension of sentence or probation.

Third-degree criminal sexual conduct

Criminal sexual conduct in the third degree is similar to second-degree CSC, except that the offender doesn’t need to have carried out the assault through aggravating factors like use of a weapon. To file charges, it must only be shown that the offender used force or coercion, or that the offender had reason to know the victim was mentally or physically incapacitated. A third-degree CSC conviction can result in up to 10 years in prison with no suspension of sentence or probation.

What is “criminal sexual conduct with a minor”?

Criminal sexual conduct charges with a minor are separate charges. The three degrees of CSC with a minor are more serious depending on the age of the minor involved.

First-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor

This occurs when a person is accused of either:

  • Engaging in sexual battery with a minor less than 11 years old. The penalty for conviction of this felony includes 25 years to life in prison.
  • Engaging in sexual battery with a minor less than 16 years old when the offender has previously been convicted as a sex offender. The penalty for conviction of this felony can include 10 to 30 years in prison.

Second-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor

This occurs when a person is accused of either:

  • Engaging in sexual battery with a minor between the ages of 11 and 14.
  • Engaging in sexual battery with a minor between 14 and 15, and the offender is in a position of family, custodial, or official authority to coerce the minor, or is older than the minor.

The penalty for conviction of this felony can include up to 20 years in prison.

Third-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor

This occurs when a person is accused of intentionally and lewdly committing (or attempting to commit) a lewd act upon a child under 16 years old with the intent of gratifying the sexual desires of the individual or the minor. The penalty for conviction of this felony can include up to 15 years in prison.

Criminal solicitation of a minor

Criminal solicitation is when an individual is charged with knowingly contacting or communicating (or attempting to) with a minor or a person believed to be minor with the intent to engage them to participate in a sexual activity or crime.

The Law Offices of A. Randolph Hough, P.A. also aggressively defends clients against other criminal charges, including assault, arson, kidnapping, and charges against college students. We also handle drunk driving defense.

How can I fight criminal sexual conduct charges in Columbia, SC?

If you have been arrested or are under investigation for CSC charges, you can be facing the possibility of decades or even life in prison as well as mandatory sex offender registration. The consequences of a criminal conviction are life-altering and severe – your name and address will be available to the general public and law enforcement, making it difficult to find a home or job. You can lose your right to own a firearm as well as many other things you may take for granted.

Attorney Hough has extensive experience in sensitive cases involving criminal sexual conduct charges. His knowledge and understanding of the criminal justice process from the inside out gives you the advantage you need when you’re fighting for your life and freedom. We launch our own investigations, ensuring the authorities and police used due process. We interview all potential witnesses and study all the evidence to launch the most effective and strategic defense possible.

Aggressive defense against criminal sexual conduct allegations and charges

At The Law Offices of A. Randolph Hough, P.A., we defend your rights through vigorous negotiation and skilled advocacy in court. Attorney Hough works to successfully challenge the charges against you, using his 25 years of criminal law experience. To schedule a free consultation at one of our offices in Columbia or Charleston, please call 803-771-4119 or fill out our contact form.