Lexington Domestic Violence Lawyer

South Carolina is one of a few states that prosecute domestic violence as its own charge under its criminal code. The code defines four levels of domestic violence, each with its own requirements and potential penalties.

At their heart, all of these crimes involve the infliction of physical harm or attempted causing physical harm to a household member.

A Lexington County domestic violence lawyer represents people who have been accused of all levels of domestic violence. A Lexington County defense attorney strives to protect not just the freedom of our clients, but also the core of the family structure.

South Carolina’s Laws Regarding Domestic Violence

South Carolina’s codes contain a full chapter dealing with domestic violence. SC Code Chapter 25 contains the definitions, requirements and potential punishments for all three degrees of domestic violence. No matter the level of domestic violence being charged, there is a core definition.

This states that any domestic violence charge involves a person causing physical harm to a household member or attempting to so do in a way as to place the other person in reasonable fear of harm.

When we examine this statute, we see that the alleged violence needs to be committed against a household member. A household member is specifically defined as a spouse, former spouse, people who have a child in common, or a male and female who are living together or have lived together in the past.

In situations where the target of the violence does not meet this definition, the acts will be charged as simple assault. People should also be aware that there does not need to be physical contact for the charges to come forward.

For example, if a wife were to swing a baseball bat at her husband, but miss, this can still be charged as domestic violence, despite the fact that there was no contact. The attempt places the husband in reasonable fear of being harmed.

Types of Domestic Violence

Some domestic violence charges are considered “high or aggravated.” This simply means that the assailant acted in a way without regard (extreme indifference) for human life. A conviction here carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and should be addressed with the help of a Lexington County domestic violence lawyer.

First-Degree Domestic Violence

First-degree domestic violence is the most serious type of DV degree. This involves the core of the definition listed above when the act:

  • Is in violation of an already in place protective order,
  • Results in great bodily injury to the victim,
  • The offense involves the use of a firearm, or
  • The offense is committed in the presence of a minor among others.

Any person convicted of first-degree domestic assault is guilty of a felony with a possible prison term of up to 10 years making it important that a Lexington domestic violence attorney is contacted.

Second-Degree

Second-degree domestic violence mandates a fine of between $2,500.00 and $5,000.00 as well as a jail term of up to 3 years. This applies when the assault results in moderate bodily injury, is committed against a pregnant woman, or the victim is a child.

Third-Degree

A basic domestic violence charge is labeled as third-degree. This is an assault against a household member without any of the aggravating circumstances discussed above.

This results in a fine of between $2,500.00 and $5,000.00 as well as a maximum jail term of 90 days. In some cases that are considered isolated, a person may be recommended for a pretrial intervention program such as Domestic Abuse Classes to avoid a criminal conviction.

How a Lexington  Domestic Violence Attorney Can Help

South Carolina’s domestic violence laws are complicated when a person tries to figure out why they have been charged as they have. The alleged crime needs to have been committed against a certain class of people, and depending upon the circumstances, may be considered anything from minor to severe.

A Lexington domestic violence lawyer works with people to defend them against all levels of domestic violence charges.

An attorney will understand the effect that these charges can have on a family and work to protect the freedom of our clients and their family structures. Contact our firm today to see how we can help you.