Chapin Domestic Violence Lawyer

South Carolina is unique in that unlike other jurisdictions, domestic violence is its own separate criminal offense. The law provides for three separate degrees of domestic violence. Each degree has its own elements and potential penalties upon conviction.

All domestic violence charges have one thing in common. Specifically, the accused must cause some form of physical harm – or must attempt to use physical harm – against someone who is a member of their household. Moreover, the harm (or attempted harm) must be such that it would place a reasonable person in apprehension of serious bodily injury.

Domestic violence convictions can result in high penalties, including jail time, fines, and probation. If you are facing domestic violence charges, you should call a Chapin domestic violence lawyer as soon as possible. A skilled defense lawyer could help you protect your rights and pursue the best possible outcome in your domestic violence case.

What Constitutes a Household Member?

For a charge to constitute domestic violence, the incident at issue must involve a member of the accused’s household. Household members include the following individuals:

  • Spouses
  • Former spouses
  • Individuals having a child in common
  • A male and a female who are presently living under the same roof
  • A male and a female who previously lived together under the same roof

If the alleged victim does not fit within the definition of a “household member,” then the prosecutor will likely charge the accused with some related crime, such as assault or battery. A Chapin domestic violence attorney can determine if domestic violence laws apply in a particular case.

Lack of Physical Contact

Even in cases where there is no physical contact between the accused and the alleged victim, the accused could still face domestic violence charges. For example, if the accused swings a fist at his wife and misses, the prosecutor could file domestic violence charges. If that occurs and a person is arrested, the accused should contact a Chapin domestic violence attorney as soon as possible.

Potential Penalties for Domestic Violence Convictions

Domestic violence charges come in varying degrees. Generally, the more serious the incident, the higher the potential penalty upon conviction. Domestic violence of a “high or aggravated nature,” for example, could result in up to 20 years of incarceration upon conviction.

First-degree domestic violence charges that result in serious bodily harm, firearm use, or violation of a protective order, for example, could result in up to ten years of incarceration.

A second-degree domestic violence charge could result when the assault causes a moderate bodily injury, the accused has one prior domestic violence conviction on their record, or the accused committed a third-degree offense in front of a child, against a pregnant woman, took the alleged victim’s phone preventing them from calling for help.  In those instances, the accused could incur a fine ranging from $2,500 to $5,000, up to three years in jail, or both.

A third-degree domestic violence conviction – arguably the least serious – is a catch-all. A conviction could lead to a maximum of 90 days’ incarceration, as well as a fine of between $2,500 and $5,000. In some instances, the accused might be eligible to attend a pretrial diversionary class for anger management and domestic abuse in lieu of a criminal conviction on their record.

Call a Chapin Domestic Violence Attorney Today

If you have a domestic violence charge pending, it is important that you have experienced legal counsel representing you in court. A Chapin domestic violence lawyer can safeguard your rights while you are pending trial and offer you zealous advocacy in court.