What is Misprision of a Felony in SC?

by | Apr 26, 2018 | Criminal Defense |

Prosecutors say an Uber driver hid the body of a Myrtle Beach woman who overdosed on heroin and cocaine after picking her up for a ride.

The woman had been reported missing before her body was found in Tabor City, N.C.

The driver is charged with misprision of a felony and aiding and abetting the possession of drugs. Another man is also charged with misprision of a felony after destroying the victim’s personal effects, according to the indictment.

What is misprision of a felony? And what other SC offenses could a person be charged with for hiding the body of an overdose victim?

Misprision of a Felony in SC

Misprision is the deliberate concealment of one’s knowledge of a treasonable act or a felony.

In this case, police allege the driver tried to cover up the distribution, possession, and use of illegal drugs in his vehicle. The second man allegedly attempted to cover up the original crime by getting rid of the woman’s personal belongings.

Both Myrtle Beach men could face three years in prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted.

Innocent Until Proven Guilty

Although “innocent until proven guilty” seems like a joke in today’s America, where defendants are routinely demonized in the media and jurors often assume guilt as they begin a criminal trial, these men are presumed innocent despite the allegations.

We have found over and again that the media reports only on the information provided to them by law enforcement, often taken from incident reports written by the arresting officer. In every case, there is another side of the story that is not going to be told until the defendants have retained a Myrtle Beach criminal defense lawyer who is on their side.

What Charges Could Result from Hiding a Body in SC?

Prosecutors could have brought – and still could bring – more charges against the men, including:

  • Felony Murder: When someone dies while you are committing an inherently dangerous felony, you can be charged with murder even if you did not intend for them to die, under SC’s felony murder rule. In this case, the woman died while the driver allegedly took part in the acquisition or use of illegal drugs that are known to be potentially fatal.
  • Accessory after the fact to a felony: This occurs when a defendant “harbors or assists the principal felon … for the purpose of enabling the principal felon to escape detection or arrest.”
  • Accessory before the fact to a felony: This occurs when a defendant “aids in the commission of a felony or is an accessory before the fact in the commission of a felony by counseling, hiring, or otherwise procuring the felony to be committed….” If the Uber driver knowingly transported the woman to a drug dealer or in any other way helped her acquire the illegal drugs, prosecutors could charge him with accessory before the fact.
  • Obstruction of justice: This occurs when someone takes action that “prevents, obstructs, impedes, or hinders the administration of justice.” When most people think of obstruction, they picture a high-profile politician shutting down an investigation, or a mob boss threatening or bribing witnesses. But, prosecutors could argue that the Uber driver engaged in obstruction of justice when he hid the woman’s body. The second man named in the indictment could have been charged with obstruction for his alleged role in hiding evidence.

SC Criminal Defense Attorneys in Myrtle Beach, Conway, Columbia, and Charleston

If you have been charged with a crime in Myrtle Beach, your criminal defense attorney at Coastal Law will investigate to discover the rest of the story that law enforcement and the media are not telling.

We will work hard to get your case dismissed whenever possible, to find the best possible resolution, or to win your case at trial. Call now at (843) 488-5000 or fill out our online form to find out how we can help.

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