Knowing the law is the responsibility
of every South Carolina citizen. The South Carolina Code of Laws
is available at public libraries and can also be accessed from the Internet. The following resources are also available to help you better understand the laws of South Carolina:
Where does the law come from?
South Carolina's legal history spans back to the colonial period, well before the United States of America was formed. Our legal tradition began from English law. Common law is the tradition of law based on court decisions rather than acts of legislature. Our common law tradition still exists and many of these laws have been adopted by the South Carolina General Assembly. When the General Assembly passes laws, they are called statutory laws , because they are passed as statutes. Both the federal government and the South Carolina government have the power to enact statutes. The structure and power of the federal and state governments were created in their constitutions .
What if I didn't know what I did was illegal?
Even if you didn't know what you did was illegal, you are still responsible for your actions. When a law is passed by the legislature and signed by the governor or U.S. president, it becomes effective. When a law becomes effective, you are presumed to have knowledge of that law. Ignorance is not an excuse to break the law. This should encourage citizens to learn whether or not something is against the law.