Richland County Domestic Violence Lawyer

In Richland County, domestic violence involves someone threatening to hurt a household member, or someone actually causing harm or bodily injury to a household member, including spouses, roommates, romantic partners, and family members.

If you have been charged with domestic violence in Richland County, it is important to speak with a qualified Richland County domestic violence lawyer knowledgeable in South Carolina’s complex domestic violence laws. Penalties can be steep, and having an experienced defense attorney on your side can drastically increase your chances of achieving a favorable outcome.

Domestic Violence in South Carolina

South Carolina ranks number one in the nation for deadliest violence against women according to a report by the Violence Policy Center. Under South Carolina law, domestic violence is defined as causing physical harm, or threatening/attempting to cause physical harm, to any household member. This does not just include girlfriends, boyfriends, or spouses, but can also involve:

  • Roommates
  • Ex-spouses
  • People who share a child
  • People who previously lived together
  • Anyone else who lives in the same residence

Domestic violence is often a pattern of behavior and can involve physical abuse, such as hitting, punching, or shoving, but can also involve psychological abuse, such as threatening to hurt someone or someone’s loved one.

Domestic Violence of a High and Aggravated Nature

Domestic violence of a high and aggravated nature is a felony that has a maximum potential sentence of 20 years in prison.  A person is guilty of DVHAN if the evidence shows that the accused either: committed offense under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life and GBI results, or committed offenses, with or without an accompanying battery, under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life and would reasonably cause a person to fear great bodily injury or death.  Someone would also be guilty of DVHAN if the person violated a protection order and, in the process, committed the elements of a domestic violence, first-degree.

First-Degree Domestic Violence

In Richland County, first-degree domestic violence is considered a felony. A person may be charged with this crime if they physically harmed (or threatened to physically harm) a household member, they had reasonable ability to do so, and one of the following applies:

  • They have two or more previous domestic violence convictions
  • The physical harm caused substantial risk of death, permanent disfigurement, or impairment
  • A gun was involved
  • The person harmed was pregnant
  • The defendant was choked or smothered
  • The defendant was prevented from using a phone to call the police

First-degree domestic violence carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison. A qualified Richland County domestic violence lawyer can attempt to mitigate the penalties that an individual may face.

Second-Degree Domestic Violence

A person may get charged with second-degree domestic violence if it is their second offense, and if the injuries involved are moderate in nature, including prolonged loss of consciousness, temporary disfigurement (bruises, cuts, scrapes, etc.), and broken/fractured bones.

A person can also get charged with second-degree domestic violence if the accused committed the conduct of a third-degree domestic violence and either:

  • Was in the process of violating a protection order or knew or should have known the victim is pregnant
  • A minor was present or perceived the event
  • The offense committed during a robbery, burglary, kidnapping, or theft
  • The offense committed by impeding the victim’s breathing or air flow
  • The offense committed using physical force or threat of force to block person’s access to phone/electronic communication device with the purpose of preventing or interfering with report to law enforcement or request for assistance from emergency medical assistance

This type of domestic violence, which is considered a misdemeanor, carries a prison sentence of up to three years and/or a $2,5000-$5,000 fine.

Third-Degree Domestic Violence

Categorized as a misdemeanor, third-degree domestic violence involves any other type of physical harm, or threat of physical harm, to a household member. The penalties for third-degree domestic violence may include up to 90 days in jail, a fine of up to $5,000, the inability to own a firearm, and 26 weeks of court-mandated domestic abuse counseling.

Speaking With a Richland County Domestic Violence Attorney

A domestic violence conviction can come with serious consequences. If you were charged with domestic violence in South Carolina, get in touch with a Richland County domestic violence lawyer as soon as possible.

A knowledgeable attorney can help guide you through the legal process, make sure all paperwork is filed in a timely manner, and work tirelessly to reduce your penalties or have your case dismissed entirely. Call today to find out how they can help with your case and fight for the best possible outcome.