Turn on any news channel, and you’ll quickly learn why right now is just about the worst time to be charged with a gun crime in America.

The spike in mass shootings across the country and gun law controversy have local governments scrambling to “put their foot down” when it comes to weapons charges in their jurisdiction.

And if you’re facing weapons charges in South Carolina, unfortunately, you might just be the one to get stepped on.

In a situation like this, it’s understandable you’d be scared.

You don’t know what to do, who to call, or how to move forward from here. All you know is that you don’t want your future to be ruined by your past mistakes, and you want to spare your family and your community the associated stigma.

And at Okoye Law, we get that. That’s why no matter how you ended up here, we want to help you get out.

When the criminal justice system has your back against the wall, we’ll fight tooth and nail for your freedom, future, and reputation—starting with a consultation with our Rock Hill weapons charges lawyers today.

South Carolina Weapons Charges and Penalties

In South Carolina, weapons charges can involve using, possessing, or selling weapons in the state.

Here are a few charges you can face and their subsequent penalties:

  • Unlawful carrying of a handgun — carrying a handgun without a valid concealed weapons permit
  • Sale/possession of a handgun — selling a handgun to or possessing a handgun as a restricted person listed under South Carolina law
  • Unlawful transportation — illegally transporting a machine gun, military firearm, sawed-off shotgun, or rifle
  • Unlawful possession — illegally storing, possessing, or keeping a machine gun, military firearm, sawed-off shotgun, or rifle
  • Unlawful sale — illegally selling, giving away, or renting a machine gun, military firearm, sawed-off shotgun, or rifle
  • Pointing or presenting a firearm at another person
  • Carrying a weapon on school property — bringing a blade over two inches, blackjack, metal pipe or pole, or firearms onto an elementary or secondary school grounds
  • Possessing a firearm on school property — unlawfully possessing a firearm on property owned by a private or public school, college, technical school, university, or other postsecondary institution
Charge Classification Penalty
Unlawful carrying of a handgun Misdemeanor
  • Up to $1,000 fine
  • Up to 1 year in prison
Sale/possession of a handgun Felony
  • Up to $2,000 fine 
  • Up to 5 five years in prison
Unlawful transportation of weapons Felony
  • Up to $10,000 fine 
  • Up to 10 years in prison
Unlawful possession of weapons Felony
  • Up to $10,000 fine 
  • Up to 10 years in prison
Unlawful sale of weapons Felony
  • Up to $10,000 fine 
  • Up to 10 years in prison
Pointing or presenting a firearm at another person Felony
  • Up to 5 years in prison
Possession of a firearm on school property Felony
  • Up to $5,000 fine 
  • Up to 5 years in prison
Carrying a weapon on school grounds Felony
  • Up to $1,000 fine 
  • Up to 5 years in prison

Many other weapons offenses can be charged under South Carolina weapons law. Depending on the type of weapon, where you were located at the time, and other aggravating circumstances, the penalties could be steep.

It’s easy to see why having a strong legal defense is the only real option when facing serious charges.

Possible Legal Defenses

A criminal defense attorney’s job is to raise legal defenses on your behalf to get your charges reduced, or your case dismissed before going to trial. Whether it’s a misdemeanor or felony crime you’re charged with, the facts remain the same—you are innocent until proven guilty.

Our priority is to make sure that doesn’t happen.

Here are a few common legal defenses that may be relevant to your case:

  • You have an alibi
  • You’re a victim of mistaken identity
  • Police conducted an unlawful search and seizure
  • You weren’t read your Miranda rights

Since federal gun laws govern the manufacturing, trading, possession, transfer, and transport of firearms, South Carolina gun crimes could be prosecuted in federal or state court. While the goal is to keep your case from going to trial, if it comes to that, you need a Rock Hill weapons charges lawyer who knows their way around a courtroom.

Stand Your Ground Laws

South Carolina’s castle doctrine now includes stand-your-ground language, meaning you have the right to protect yourself, someone else, or your property using deadly force. Even still, these cases are never straightforward, and when you’re facing gun charges, you can bet your bottom dollar the courts aren’t just going to take your word for it.

Why You Need a Weapons Charges Lawyer

When you’re facing weapons charges, hire a pro.

The fact is these charges carry serious penalties—even simple possession of a handgun in the wrong place at the wrong time could land you a year behind bars.
Because of that, not exercising your right to a defense is the single most detrimental thing you could do for your case.

Here are three reasons why hiring your own attorney makes sense:

  1. The court system is complicated, but our lawyers have experience navigating it. We know what to anticipate, how to avoid common mistakes, and how to prepare you for plea bargaining and trial, if necessary. You’ll save yourself time and energy by going through the process with someone who already knows the ropes.
  2. The stakes are high. South Carolina gun charges come with heavy fines, prison time, and a lifelong criminal record. An attorney can help you reduce or eliminate the consequences by going to bat for you in court.
  3. You have rights — the right to a defense, the right to silence, and so many others that the justice system isn’t going to uphold for you. Our lawyers can ensure you get due process in your case and turn the tides in your favor.


Facing Weapons Charges in Rock Hill or York County? Call Okoye Law.

This is considered a violent crime, something that you don’t have to and shouldn’t face alone.

We know you’re scared. We don’t blame you—weapons charges in South Carolina are serious business. But we’ve got your back and want to help you figure out how to move forward.

Our attorneys serve York, Lancaster, and Chester Counties.

Contact Okoye Law for a free consultation. Our office is located at 331 E Main St. #200, Rock Hill, SC 29730.


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Every case we take begins and ends with your unique situation in our hearts and on our minds.

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FAQ: Rock Hill Weapons Charges

How does South Carolina define a "weapon"?

According to South Carolina gun laws, “weapons” are defined as:

  • Firearms (rifles, shotguns, pistols, or similar devices)
  • A blackjack
  • A metal pipe or pole
  • Any other type of device that can be used to inflict bodily injury or death
Can I conceal and carry in South Carolina with a license from another state?

Non-residents with concealed weapon permits (CWP) from certain states can conceal and carry in South Carolina. However, while carrying in this state, non-residents must still abide by South Carolina concealed carry laws.

CWPs aren’t currently recognized in the following states: AL, CA, CO, CT, IN, ME, MA, MT, NV, NH, NJ, OR, PA, RI, UT, VT, WA, and WI.

Don't I have the right to bear arms? How is firearm possession a crime? 

Gun laws exist to keep people safe—not strip them of their rights. While possessing a firearm is a basic constitutional right, you are still subject to gun control laws that govern how and when you can do so. And when you break those laws, you can lose that constitutional right altogether.