Impact of a Protective Order on a Columbia Domestic Violence Case

A protective order may be put in place to protect an individual from being abused or harassed by another person. It is common for a protective order to filed in a domestic violence case. There are many ways a protective order could impact a domestic violence case, especially if someone violates the order. For more information about the impact of a protective order on a Columbia domestic violence case, contact a seasoned protective order lawyer today.

Protective Order and Domestic Violence Laws

In 2015, South Carolina domestic violence laws were changed and the entire statue was overhauled. There are now three kinds of violations of restraining orders:

  • A violation of a Permanent Restraining Order (PRO) identified in S.C. Code Ann. § 16-3-1910
  • A violation of Emergency Restraining Order (ERO) defined in S.C. Code Ann. § 16-3-1920
  • An order of protection as covered in S.C. Code Ann. § 16-25-20 (h)

The definitions cover three different types of orders and how they are dealt with when there is a violation. An order of protection is the most common one violated. Anyone who violates a valid South Carolina order of protection, or a valid protection order issued in another state, is guilty of a misdemeanor which is punishable up to 30 days in jail and a $500 fine.

Consequences of Violating a Protective Order

The consequences of violating a protective order depend on which type of protective order was violated. If it is a violation of a permanent restraining order and the underlying criminal offense is a felony, then the charge is punishable by up to five years in jail. If the underlying criminal offense is a misdemeanor, the person faces a maximum penalty of three years in prison and up to $2,000 in fines.

A violation of an emergency restraining order is similar. When the underlying criminal offense is a felony, a person faces up to five years in jail. If it is a misdemeanor, it is punishable by up to three years in prison. The violations are treated similarly and have much more significant consequences when the underlying offense is a felony. The impact of a protective order on a Columbia domestic violence case is severe if the individual violated that order.

Child Custody and Visitation Laws in Columbia Domestic Violence Cases

Domestic violence laws do not go as deep when it comes to child custody, that is where the Department of Social Services (DSS) gets involved. Family Court can become involved when a child is taken into Emergency Protective Custody (EPC), which happens when situations are unsafe and children are directly involved. DSS will be contacted and a caseworker will make a visit to ensure that everyone is safe in the home.

Child custody and visitation issues are decided in Family Court. Domestic related cases are heard by a different judge in a different courtroom and deal with Title 16, which is the code of laws that handle domestic violence. When the domestic violence is a mutual combat case where both parties are fighting with each other, both parties could be arrested. That is one of the reasons why the law was changed to identify the primary aggressor. If both parties are arrested, the children are taken into EPC and Family Court will address the child custody issue. If you have any questions about the impact of a protective order on a Columbia domestic violence case, contact a seasoned attorney today.