South Carolina Youthful Offender Act – Every day we are faced with many decisions and as we get older and wiser, we tend to put more thought and effort into those decisions (at least that is the goal). Criminal charges have a lot to do with mistakes and bad decisions, sometimes with horrible consequences. Generally, young people are prone to making bad decisions at a higher rate than people with more life experience.
The state of South Carolina has taken into consideration the consequences of young people making bad decisions through the South Carolina Youthful Offender Act. In this blog we will discuss the youthful offender act. Like all our blogs, this is intended for informational purposes only and not intended to be a substitute for the advice and counsel of a criminal defense attorney.
What is the Youthful Offender Act?
The Youthful Offender Act is a South Carolina law created to give youthful offenders the opportunity for a clean slate after a criminal conviction. Some of the advantages of this law include, but are not limited, to the following:
- The judge can give the defendant a suspended sentence or order probation instead of an active prison sentence that he or she would have otherwise received.
- The charge and conviction can be expunged after some terms and conditions are met, giving the defendant a clean criminal record.
- The option of conditionally releasing a defendant from imprisonment that has been imposed, under certain terms and conditions.
The purpose of the Youthful Offender Act is rehabilitation and treatment of the defendant, rather than strictly punishment.
How does someone qualify for the youthful offender act?
The three main considerations regarding whether someone qualifies for the youthful offender act are age, the type of crime, and their criminal record:
- South Carolina generally requires that someone be between the ages of 17-25 to be classified as a youthful offender.
- Only certain crimes qualify; the crime must be non-violent, and the crime cannot be punishable for over 15 years imprison. Also, only certain classes of felonies apply (Class D, E, or F).
- The benefits of the Youthful Offender Act can only be used once per lifetime. Further, someone with an extensive criminal record would not qualify to be sentenced under the Youthful Offender Act.
**It is important to note that there are several other case-specific restrictions that may apply to a particular case. These matters should be discussed with your criminal defense attorney.
Criminal charges can be extremely complicated and may seem like they don’t present many options, but a South Carolina criminal defense attorney can help you through them. The Youthful Offender Act and PTI are just two options that can help.
If you have been charged with a crime in South Carolina or North Carolina and need a criminal defense attorney, contact us.