Skip to main content
Find a Lawyer
Please enter a legal issue and/or a location
Begin typing to search, use arrow keys to navigate, use enter to select

South Carolina Capital Punishment Laws

Capital punishment, or “the death penalty,” is a legal sentence in the state of South Carolina under a number of circumstances. The state has executed 43 people since a ban on capital punishment was lifted in 1985, all following murder convictions. Here are the basics of capital punishment laws in South Carolina.

Capital Punishment Statutes in South Carolina

States have varying capital punishment laws: 32 states have death penalty laws in place while 18 states have banned capital punishment. Most death penalties are issued in murder cases, although South Carolina permits the death penalty in certain cases where a person has knowingly created a great risk of death. The chart below highlights some of South Carolina’s capital punishment laws.

Code Section

South Carolina Code of Laws 16-3-10, et seq.: Murder;

South Carolina Code of Laws 24-3-530: Death by Electrocution or Lethal Injection;

South Carolina Code of Laws 44-23-210, et seq.: Provisions for Mentally Ill

Is Capital Punishment Allowed?


Effect of Defendant's Incapacity

A female who is pregnant may not be executed until 9 months after she is no longer pregnant; defendants capacity to appreciate conduct is a mitigating circumstance

Minimum Age

No minimum age; under 18 is a mitigating circumstance

Available for Crimes Other than Homicide?


Definition of Capital Homicide

Murder in connection with any criminal sexual conduct, kidnapping, burglary, armed robbery, larceny with use of deadly weapon, poison, drug trafficking, physical torture during commission of a drug trafficking felony; prior murder conviction; dismemberment of a person; knowingly created great risk of death to multiple persons in public place; for money or monetary value; judicial officer, solicitor, or other officer of the court (or formers) because of exercise of duties; agent/employee of another; law enforcement officer, peace officer, correction employees, fireman (or formers) related to duty; family members of abovementioned; multiple victims; victim is a child 11 or under; killing of a witness; killing by mob, lynching; killing during a duel

Method of Execution

Electrocution or lethal injection, at the election of the defendant, but if lethal injection is held unconstitutional, then electrocution; if election is waived, then lethal injection

Related Resources for South Carolina Capital Punishment Laws:

Death penalty law is complex, and can be difficult to understand. For more articles and resources on this topic, you can visit FindLaw’s Capital Punishment and the Death Penalty section. If you would like legal assistance with a death penalty matter, you can contact a South Carolina criminal law attorney.

Was this helpful?

You Don’t Have To Solve This on Your Own – Get a Lawyer’s Help

Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.

Or contact an attorney near you:

Next Steps: Search for a Local Attorney

Contact a qualified attorney.

Begin typing to search, use arrow keys to navigate, use enter to select

Can I Solve This on My Own or Do I Need an Attorney?

  • Complex criminal defense situations usually require a lawyer
  • Defense attorneys can help protect your rights
  • A lawyer can seek to reduce or eliminate criminal penalties

Get tailored advice and ask your legal questions. Many South Carolina attorneys offer free consultations.


 If you need an attorney, find one right now.

Copied to clipboard

Find a Lawyer

More Options