(A) If a person is in possession of a firearm or visibly displays what appears to be a firearm or visibly displays a knife during the commission of a violent crime and is convicted of committing or attempting to commit a violent crime as defined in Section 16-1-60, he must be imprisoned five years, in addition to the punishment provided for the principal crime. This five-year sentence does not apply in cases where the death penalty or a life sentence without parole is imposed for the violent crime.

(B) Service of the five-year sentence is mandatory unless a longer mandatory minimum term of imprisonment is provided by law for the violent crime. The court may impose this mandatory five-year sentence to run consecutively or concurrently.

Terms Used In South Carolina Code 16-23-490

  • Conviction: A judgement of guilt against a criminal defendant.
  • Indictment: The formal charge issued by a grand jury stating that there is enough evidence that the defendant committed the crime to justify having a trial; it is used primarily for felonies.
  • weapon: means firearm (rifle, shotgun, pistol, or similar device that propels a projectile through the energy of an explosive), a blackjack, a metal pipe or pole, or any other type of device, or object which may be used to inflict bodily injury or death. See South Carolina Code 16-23-405

(C) Except as provided in this subsection, the person sentenced under this section is not eligible during this five-year period for parole, work release, or extended work release. The five years may not be suspended and the person may not complete his term of imprisonment in less than five years pursuant to good-time credits or work credits, but may earn credits during this period. The person is eligible for work release, if the person is sentenced for voluntary manslaughter (Section 16-3-50), kidnapping (Section 16-3-910), carjacking (Section 16-3-1075), burglary in the second degree (Section 16-11-312(B)), armed robbery (Section 16-11-330(A)), or attempted armed robbery (Section 16-11-330(B)), the crime did not involve any criminal sexual conduct or an additional violent crime as defined in Section 16-1-60, and the person is within three years of release from imprisonment.

(D) As used in this section, "firearm" means any machine gun, automatic rifle, revolver, pistol, or any weapon which will, or is designed to, or may readily be converted to expel a projectile; "knife" means an instrument or tool consisting of a sharp cutting blade whether or not fastened to a handle which is capable of being used to inflict a cut, slash, or wound.

(E) The additional punishment may not be imposed unless the indictment alleged as a separate count that the person was in possession of a firearm or visibly displayed what appeared to be a firearm or visibly displays a knife during the commission of the violent crime and conviction was had upon this count in the indictment. The penalties prescribed in this section may not be imposed unless the person convicted was at the same time indicted and convicted of a violent crime as defined in Section 16-1-60.