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South Carolina Domestic Violence Overview. Some SC family law cases can sometimes involve criminal law matters that are commonly called “domestic violence,” or “DV.” Plus, most family violence charges are not part of a pending divorce case, but this criminal act can be the final straw leading to a divorce proceeding commencement.
Domestic Violence in South Carolina. No high schools or colleges teach students about the high cost of violating SC laws about domestic violence.
This is unfortunate, because most parents do not ever talk to their children about the tough criminal penalties and blemish on a person’s criminal record that can come from some criminal acts. A person who is professionally licensed, can be suspended from that profession, or otherwise sanctioned by the legal system, in addition to criminal sanctions.
Over the last 30 years, SC laws have been modernized to provide more legal protections for the victims of domestic violence. In addition, an unborn child has also been added as a new, separate “victim,” for whom separate, and potentially punitive sanctions can be added as consecutive sentences for the alleged perpetrator.
From the Harshest to the Least Punitive Domestic Violence Crimes in SC
In South Carolina, Domestic Violence of a High and Aggravated nature (DVHAN) is the most significant domestic violence charge, carrying up to 20 years in state prison. In addition, these jail sentences will have to be served at 85% of the time ordered, or more. So, a ten-year prison sentence means that the convicted person would serve between roughly 3060 days and 3650 days in custody.
An individual can be convicted of DVHAN if the Prosecutor is able to prove that the accused person either physically harmed a family member or made a threat of harm, demonstrating an immense disregard for human life and resulting in severe bodily injury. Additionally, a conviction may be achieved if the correct charging offense would have been domestic violence in the first degree, but that the person was also violating a previously issued restraining order at the time.
In addition, laws from 2008 created a separate criminal act of causing death or injury of a child in utero, due to commission of a violent crime. Under SC Code 16-3-1083 (A)(2)(a), causing injury or death to that unborn child creates a separate offense that is additionally punished the same as if causing injury or death to the pregnant woman. That criminal law provision can be read at THIS LINK.
First Degree domestic violence in SC is a felony and carries up to 10 years in state prison. SC 2nd Degree domestic violence is a misdemeanor but can require jail time of up to 3 years in South Carolina. So, don’t underestimate the value of your criminal law attorney obtaining a reduction of charges to domestic violence 3rd Degree SC.
Most prosecutions are for a South Carolina domestic violence 3rd Degree offense. Committing the least severe form of domestic violence can lead to severe consequences, including a fine of up to $2,500 and/or to serve a jail sentence of as much as 90 days, or both.
When factoring in other associated costs, an individual could be facing a financial penalty of over $5,000 and a jail term of up to three months. As bad as that sounds, this is far more lenient than a conviction for domestic violence 2nd degree SC.
Distinguishing Domestic Violence from Domestic Violence of a High and Aggravated Nature. South Carolina laws (Section 16-25-20) were amended in 2015 to clarify and distinguish it from other SC crimes.
South Carolina new domestic violence laws created some of the nation’s most punitive laws on this legal topic. To read more about the history of domestic violence laws in the United States, see this LINK.
The potential for domestic assault, battery, or other abuse goes beyond relationships that are part of a formal marriage. Unmarried parents of children or anyone residing together for a long or short time can be covered under SC DV laws.
A special “enhancement” statute was added in 2015, enacting SC laws on miscarriage caused by a domestic violence battery crime, under SC Code 16-25-20(C)(4)(b).
Whether a current or former “partner” and the offspring of these relationships will be clear victims covered by a family law judge’s jurisdiction. Also, an elderly family member residing within that “residence” or those in dating relationships are covered.
Aggressive Representation by Skilled Domestic Relations and Criminal Defense Attorneys
Any domestic relations dispute among household members can result in a domestic disturbance call. Members of law enforcement are under fixed directives to make an DV arrest when responding to a domestic abuse call. These criminal law arrests arise from domestic violence police reports (taken from witnesses at the scene) and are criminal in nature.
If police find a mark on somebody when responding to a domestic abuse call, someone will likely go to jail. Members of law enforcement are under great pressure to make an arrest in these types of situations — even without physical contact if there is evidence of a physical threat. As a result, criminal domestic violence is a common charge in South Carolina.
Comprehensive DV Representation from an Experienced Legal Team
The legal team at Price Law is committed to providing comprehensive and aggressive representation when household violence allegations lead to an arrest. Being charged with domestic violence can wreak havoc on many aspects of your life.
The court likely will issue a no-contact order, or restraining order, preventing you from returning to your home. A no-contact order hearing may be requested in family court. Any statements you make in that hearing can be used against you in criminal court.
A conviction for domestic violence SC can have uncommon and far-reaching consequences that will impact many aspects of your life. Child custody matters, your job, and your ability to own a firearm under federal law can be adversely affected. You positively need the assistance of an experienced domestic violence attorney to protect your rights, and to (hopefully) find solutions that do not destroy your family unit.
Criminal domestic violence is “an enhance-able offense” under South Carolina law. This phrase means that if someone has been convicted of domestic violence before, the consequences for any subsequent domestic violence charges will be more severe. This could include minimum, mandatory jail time, heavier fines, and create an even greater social stigma.
With the propensity for these kinds of allegations to lead to an arrest, it is critical to rigorously defend against the criminal charges at every level possible.
SC domestic violence attorneys James H. Price IV and E. Powers Price will completely review the details of your unique circumstances. You have your choice of being represented by a female attorney or a male attorney with Price Law Firm. Our seasoned family violence lawyers in SC evaluate alternatives, including counseling, to resolve the issues to provide comprehensive solutions to protect the rights of clients.
Family Violence Attorneys Greenville SC: Free Lawyer Consultation
If you are facing a domestic violence allegation and seeking the best family court lawyers in South Carolina, take advantage of our no-cost, divorce lawyers near me consultation. Do not just blindly pick legal counsel from an online lawyers’ directory, since an image tells you nothing about the quality or tenacity of that legal professional.
Call now to speak with our best domestic violence lawyers near me in SC, and receive your consultation lawyer phone call, virtual meeting or in person consult with our South Carolina lawyers. Once we have our consultation, you’ll know the domestic violence attorney cost for legal representation. Contact us at (864) 271-3535.
No one wants to call a criminal defense attorney or divorce lawyer, but sometimes it is a necessity. Call today for your confidential consultation. You will be relieved to get some quality legal information, and will be glad to have made that call to a domestic violence attorney Greenville SC at our law office.