Summerville Domestic Violence Lawyer

Responding to a domestic violence charge often involves careful analysis of complicated laws and conflicting accounts of events.  If you are accused of domestic violence, you may feel confused about the allegation, the grounds on which it rests, and the penalties you may face if convicted.

Do not let your uncertainty have a detrimental effect on your case. Before knowing what to do, you need to know where you stand. A Summerville domestic violence lawyer could help you sort things out and determine the best approach to achieving a good outcome in your case. Get started building your defense with a local criminal defense attorney.

Domestic Violence Law

Per South Carolina Code of Laws §16-25, a domestic violence offense can fall into one of four categories: (a) high and aggravated nature, (b) first-degree, (c) second-degree, and (d) third-degree. First-degree domestic violence occurs when someone causes (or, with apparent ability, offers or attempts to cause) physical harm to their child’s other parent, to their current or former spouse, or to their current or former opposite-sex cohabitant. Events must arise under circumstances that reasonably lead the partner or other parent to fear imminent peril, and they must take involve one of several listed conditions, including, but not limited to:

  • Great bodily injury or its likelihood
  • Violation of a protection order in the process of committing second-degree domestic violence
  • Two or more domestic violence convictions in the previous ten years
  • Use of a firearm
  • Second-degree domestic violence and at least one listed condition

For a felony conviction of domestic violence in the first degree, the penalty must include imprisonment for not more than ten years. A conviction for domestic violence of a high and aggravated nature requires “circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life,” and the penalty must include imprisonment for not more than 20 years. Someone with questions about a domestic violence charge, or about the degree of the offense they are charged with, could confer with a local domestic violence attorney regarding potential strategies for seeking a lesser charge or a dismissal.

Arrest in Domestic Violence Cases

Under S.C. Code §16-2-70, a law enforcement officer with probable cause to believe that a domestic violence offense is occurring or has recently occurred may arrest the person suspected at their home or elsewhere. The officer need not be present during the alleged act and may, with probable cause to believe that entry is needed to prevent harm, enter the residence to make the arrest. The officer must evaluate different complaints separately to identify the primary aggressor, and they may only arrest identified primary aggressor.

Law enforcement must investigate any alleged domestic violence incident even if they did not receive notice of it at the time it occurred. If they arrest two or more people, they must specify the grounds for both arrests in the written incident report. Someone who suspects that their arrest or entry into their home was not justified and lawful may find it useful to consult with a Summerville domestic violence attorney.

Contact a Summerville Domestic Violence Attorney As Soon As Possible

There is often a lot involved and a lot at stake in domestic violence cases. If you are charged with a crime after being entangled in a domestic dispute, you should know where you stand and how to defend your rights.

Understand your case, your rights, and any potential defenses available to you. Schedule a consultation appointment with a Summerville domestic violence lawyer who knows the law involved in your case and may recommend strategies for achieving good results.