West Columbia Domestic Violence Lawyer

Domestic violence offenses are taken very seriously by state prosecutors. This broad category of criminal offenses carries a strong stigma and serious penalties that can affect your life for years to come. Many domestic violence allegations result from misunderstandings, and are often overcharged. A strong legal defense can help to protect your constitutional rights.

An experienced West Columbia domestic violence lawyer is prepared to defend your case with a customized legal defense. A consultation can help you prepare to fight back against these charges.

Domestic Violence Charges in South Carolina

State law defines domestic violence as an intentional harm or injury against a household member. This includes threats of harm or even attempted but unsuccessful harm against a household member. If the allegation is of a threat, the threat must have been made so that the recipient of the harm could have believed the threat would be imminently carried out.

Domestic violence charges are often overcharged. Heated situations between family members may result in the police being called, and charges are recommended by officers. In some cases, charges are completely inappropriate, while others should be for much lesser offenses. No matter the situation, a competent domestic violence defense attorney can analyze the prosecutor’s case for weaknesses.

Definition of Household Member Under State Law

State law has a specific definition that limits the people who may be considered “household members.” These individuals include:

  • Couples who are married
  • Individuals who were married at one time
  • People who live together
  • Any two people who share a child together
  • Anyone who used to live together

If the crime occurs against one of these household members it could be charged as domestic violence. There are often incidents where certain crimes are charged as domestic violence but do not actually qualify under the statute. They may be better categorized as a lesser crime. Every defendant should consult a knowledgeable attorney to understand the specific facts of their case.

Possible Penalties for a Domestic Violence Offense

Domestic violence offenses carry serious penalties. The level of the offense is based on certain factors, and different categories carry different penalties.

Domestic Violence of the Third Degree

A third-degree domestic violence charge can result up to ninety days in jail. It can also carry a potential fine of between $1,000 and $2,500.

Domestic Violence of the Second Degree

Second-degree domestic violence charges can carry up to three years in prison as well as a fine of between $2,500 to $5,000 at the maximum.

Domestic Violence of the First Degree

A first-degree domestic violence charge is very serious. It can carry up to ten years in prison at the maximum. As a felony, there is also the risk that a defendant could lose constitutional rights such as losing the right to vote, to own a gun, and the right to serve on a jury.

Domestic Violence of a High and Aggravated Nature

The most serious level of domestic violence is that of a high and aggravated nature. This felony level offense carries a potential prison sentence of up to twenty years along with the potential loss of constitutional rights.

Defend Yourself with the Help of a Domestic Violence Attorney in West Columbia

You should take every allegation of domestic violence seriously, no matter the level of the offense. Each offense carries significant criminal penalties, not to mention the stigma and loss of reputation associated with a domestic violence conviction on your criminal record.

An experienced West Columbia domestic violence lawyer can help. Contact us today for a consultation of your case.