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TO AMEND THE CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, BY ADDING ARTICLE 6, CHAPTER 11, TITLE 16 SO AS TO ENACT THE "PROTECTION OF PERSONS AND PROPERTY ACT", TO DEFINE THE TERMS "DWELLING", "GREAT BODILY INJURY", "RESIDENCE", AND "VEHICLE", TO AUTHORIZE THE LAWFUL USE OF DEADLY FORCE AGAINST AN INTRUDER OR ATTACKER IN A PERSON'S DWELLING, RESIDENCE, OR OCCUPIED VEHICLE UNDER CERTAIN CIRCUMSTANCES, TO PROVIDE EXCEPTIONS, TO PROVIDE THAT THERE IS NO DUTY TO RETREAT IF THE PERSON IS IN A PLACE WHERE HE HAS A RIGHT TO BE, INCLUDING THE PERSON'S PLACE OF BUSINESS, AND THE USE OF DEADLY FORCE IS NECESSARY TO PREVENT DEATH, GREAT BODILY INJURY, OR THE COMMISSION OF A VIOLENT CRIME, AND TO PROVIDE THAT A PERSON WHO LAWFULLY USES DEADLY FORCE IS IMMUNE FROM CRIMINAL PROSECUTION AND CIVIL ACTION AND MAY NOT BE ARRESTED UNLESS PROBABLE CAUSE EXISTS THAT THE DEADLY FORCE USED WAS UNLAWFUL.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:
SECTION 1. Chapter 11, Title 16 of the 1976 Code is amended by adding:
Section 16-11-410. This article may be cited as the 'Protection of Persons and Property Act'.
Section 16-11-420. (A) It is the intent of the General Assembly to codify the common law Castle Doctrine which recognizes that a person's home is his castle and to extend the doctrine to include an occupied vehicle and the person's place of business.
(B) The General Assembly finds that it is proper for law-abiding citizens to protect themselves, their families, and others from intruders and attackers without fear of prosecution or civil action for acting in defense of themselves and others.
(C) The General Assembly finds that Section 20, Article I of the South Carolina Constitution guarantees the right of the people to bear arms, and this right shall not be infringed.
(D) The General Assembly finds that persons residing in or visiting this State have a right to expect to remain unmolested and safe within their homes, businesses, and vehicles.
(E) The General Assembly finds that no person or victim of crime should be required to surrender his personal safety to a criminal, nor should a person or victim be required to needlessly retreat in the face of intrusion or attack.
Section 16-11-430. As used in this article, the term:
(1) 'Dwelling' means a building or conveyance of any kind, including an attached porch, whether the building or conveyance is temporary or permanent, mobile or immobile, which has a roof over it, including a tent, and is designed to be occupied by people lodging there at night.
(2) 'Great bodily injury' means bodily injury which creates a substantial risk of death or which causes serious, permanent disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of a bodily member or organ.
(3) 'Residence' means a dwelling in which a person resides either temporarily or permanently or is visiting as an invited guest.
(4) 'Vehicle' means a conveyance of any kind, whether or not motorized, which is designed to transport people or property.
Section 16-11-440. (A) A person is presumed to have a reasonable fear of imminent peril of death or great bodily injury to himself or another person when using deadly force that is intended or likely to cause death or great bodily injury to another person if the person:
(1) against whom the deadly force is used is in the process of unlawfully and forcefully entering, or has unlawfully and forcibly entered a dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle, or if he removes or is attempting to remove another person against his will from the dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle; and
(2) who uses deadly force knows or has reason to believe that an unlawful and forcible entry or unlawful and forcible act is occurring or has occurred.
(B) The presumption provided in subsection (A) does not apply if the person:
(1) against whom the deadly force is used has the right to be in or is a lawful resident of the dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle including, but not limited to, an owner, lessee, or titleholder, and there is no restraining order or order of protection in effect against the person; or
(2) sought to be removed is a child or grandchild, or is otherwise in the lawful custody or under the lawful guardianship, of the person against whom the deadly force is used; or
(3) who uses deadly force is engaged in an unlawful activity or is using the dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle to further an unlawful activity; or
(4) against whom the deadly force is used is a law enforcement officer who enters or attempts to enter a dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle in the performance of his official duties, and he identifies himself in accordance with applicable law or the person using force knows or reasonably should have known that the person entering or attempting to enter is a law enforcement officer.
(C) A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in another place where he has a right to be, including, but not limited to, his place of business, has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his ground and meet force with force, including deadly force, if he reasonably believes it is necessary to prevent death or great bodily injury to himself or another person or to prevent the commission of a violent crime as defined in Section 16-1-60.
(D) A person who unlawfully and by force enters or attempts to enter a person's dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle is presumed to be doing so with the intent to commit an unlawful act involving force or a violent crime as defined in Section 16-1-60.
Section 16-11-450 (A) A person who uses deadly force as permitted by the provisions of this article or another applicable provision of law is justified in using deadly force and is immune from criminal prosecution and civil action for the use of deadly force, unless the person against whom deadly force was used is a law enforcement officer acting in the performance of his official duties and he identifies himself in accordance with applicable law or the person using deadly force knows or reasonably should have known that the person is a law enforcement officer.
(B) A law enforcement agency may use standard procedures for investigating the use of deadly force as described in subsection (A), but the agency may not arrest the person for using deadly force unless probable cause exists that the deadly force used was unlawful.
(C) The court shall award reasonable attorneys' fees, court costs, compensation for loss of income, and all expenses incurred by the defendant in defense of a civil action brought by a plaintiff if the court finds that the defendant is immune from prosecution as provided in subsection (A)."
SECTION 2. The repeal or amendment by this act of any law, whether temporary or permanent or civil or criminal, does not affect pending actions, rights, duties, or liabilities founded thereon, or alter, discharge, release or extinguish any penalty, forfeiture, or liability incurred under the repealed or amended law, unless the repealed or amended provision shall so expressly provide. After the effective date of this act, all laws repealed or amended by this act must be taken and treated as remaining in full force and effect for the purpose of sustaining any pending or vested right, civil action, special proceeding, criminal prosecution, or appeal existing as of the effective date of this act, and for the enforcement of rights, duties, penalties, forfeitures, and liabilities as they stood under the repealed or amended laws.
SECTION 3. If any section, subsection, paragraph, subparagraph, sentence, clause, phrase, or word of this act is for any reason held to be unconstitutional or invalid, such holding shall not affect the constitutionality or validity of the remaining portions of this act, the General Assembly hereby declaring that it would have passed this act, and each and every section, subsection, paragraph, subparagraph, sentence, clause, phrase, and word thereof, irrespective of the fact that any one or more other sections, subsections, paragraphs, subparagraphs, sentences, clauses, phrases, or words hereof may be declared to be unconstitutional, invalid, or otherwise ineffective.
SECTION 4. This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor.
This web page was last updated on Tuesday, June 23, 2009 at 2:35 P.M.