South Carolina Domestic Violence Lawyer

Unlike some other states, South Carolina law contains a specific charge known as Domestic Violence. There are three degrees of domestic violence, each with their own elements and potential penalties.

The common core at the base of each of these crimes is the fact that the accused must have caused physical harm, or attempted to cause physical harm to a household member.

A South Carolina domestic violence lawyer can represent clients who have been accused of all forms of domestic violence. An experienced attorney can work to protect our clients’ freedoms and strive to maintain positive familial relationships.

South Carolina’s Laws Regarding Domestic Violence

The South Carolina Code of Laws devotes an entire chapter to the punishment of domestic violence. SC Code Chapter 25 contains all of the definitions, elements and potential penalties for the three degrees of domestic violence.

But at the core of any domestic violence charge is the requirement that a person causes physical harm to a household member, or attempts to do so in a way that would place a reasonable person in fear of imminent harm.

The first requirement is that the action be taken 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. If this requirement is not met, the crime will be charged as assault and battery or another related crime.

It is also worthwhile to note that there does not need to be actual physical contact for a domestic violence charge to be brought against a person. For example, if a husband were to swing his fist at his wife and miss, a domestic violence charge may still be brought, even though he did not connect. The attempt is enough in the eyes of the law and therefore should result in contact with a South Carolina domestic violence attorney.

Domestic Violence Penalties

The most serious domestic violence charge is domestic violence of a high or aggravated nature (DVHAN).  This involves intentional disregard for human life. A conviction here carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

The second most serious degree of domestic violence is first-degree. This involves the core of the definition listed above when the act:

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

A conviction of domestic violence in the first degree is a felony carrying a potential prison term of up to 10 years making it imperative that a South Carolina domestic violence lawyer is contacted.

The second-degree domestic violence category is applicable when a person commits the assault and it results in moderate bodily injury, a person has one prior conviction of domestic violence, or the offense would normally be a third-degree offense but was committed against a pregnant woman, or in front of a child.

A conviction under this statute carries a required fine of between $2,500.00 and $5,000.00, imprisonment of up to three years, or both.

The least severe level of domestic violence is third-degree. This is the catch-all version of the statute and includes the core definition listed above without any of the aggravating factors that may lead to a 2nd or 1st degree charge.

A conviction under this statute can incarcerate a person for up to 90 days with a fine of between $2,500.00 to $5,000.00. In some cases, a person may be recommended for a pretrial diversionary class for domestic abuse and anger management to avoid a criminal conviction.

How a South Carolina Domestic Violence Attorney Can Help

As we can see, domestic violence is considered a harsh crime under South Carolina law. It can also be somewhat difficult for officers to properly classify as any number of aggravating factors may increase the degree of the charges.

A South Carolina domestic violence attorney works to defend people accused of any degree of domestic violence. They understand the law and how to defend against these serious accusations.

A conviction under any of these statutes can result in stiff fines, significant jail time, as well as impact a person’s future family life. Don’t take any unnecessary chances; contact the firm today.