In South Carolina, there are three degrees of domestic violence. Each degree of domestic violence has its own elements and potential criminal penalties. The common factor at the base of each of these crimes is that the accused must have caused physical harm to the victim, or tried to cause physical harm to a member of their household.
A South Carolina domestic violence lawyer can represent those who have been accused of any form of domestic violence. An experienced criminal defense lawyer at TF Law can work with people accused of domestic violence to protect their freedoms and strive to maintain positive familial relationships.
If you or a loved one have been arrested and are facing domestic violence charges in SC, you must contact an experienced Greenville criminal defense attorney who will fight to protect your constitutional rights. The criminal defense attorneys at TF Law, handle many criminal charges and we provide an aggressive defense to every client we represent. To schedule a free initial consultation, contact our Greenville defense law firm today at 864-618-2323.
South Carolina’s Laws Concerning Domestic Violence
South Carolina's laws devote an entire chapter to the punishment of domestic abuse. Again, South Carolina laws contain all the elements, definitions, and potential penalties for the three categories of domestic violence.
However, at the core of every domestic violence charge is the requirement that the perpetrator causes bodily injury to a household member, or tries to do to place a reasonable person at substantial risk.
The first requirement is that the violent incident must be against a household member. The legal definition of a household member is a former spouse, former, people who share a child, or a male and female who are cohabiting or have lived cohabited in the past or people in a dating relationship. If this requirement isn't met, the criminal offense will be charged as domestic violence assault and battery, or any other related crime.
It's essential to note that there mustn't be actual physical contact for you to be charged with a physical violence charge. For instance, if a husband was to swing his fist at his wife and miss, a domestic violence charge can still be brought against him, even though there was no physical contact. In the eyes of the law, the attempt is enough and thus you should contact a South Carolina domestic violence attorney to protect your legal rights.
Is There a Statute of Limitations on Domestic Abuse in South Carolina?
A statute of limitations is a law that governs the time limit on how long the initiation of legal action can be delayed.
In South Carolina, there's no statute of limitations for any criminal charge, including a criminal domestic violence charge. Thus, a person can be arrested, tried, convicted, and jailed for a domestic violence offense that occurred ten, or even twenty years ago.
What Happens if You're Found Guilty?
If charged with domestic violence crimes, building an appropriate defense from the start is crucial. A guilty domestic violence conviction can affect your personal life and professional life. A domestic violence conviction can cause life-threatening repercussions in your life, including:
- Jail time;
- Loss of visitation rights and child custody;
- Hefty fines;
- Anger management classes and counseling;
- Mandatory community service;
- A permanent criminal record; and
- Loss of your right to firearm possession.
What are the Criminal Penalties for Domestic Violence in South Carolina?
In South Carolina, the most severe domestic violence offense is domestic violence of a high or aggravated nature (DVHAN), which is punishable by a maximum jail sentence of 20 years in jail. This criminal charge involves an intentional disregard for human life.
A first-degree domestic violence charge is the second most serious degree of domestic violence. First-degree domestic violence offense involves:
- Great physical injury to the targeted person,
- Violates the existing protective order, or
- The use of a firearm.
A conviction of domestic violence in the 1st degree is a felony carrying a potential jail term of up to 10 years. Thus, if you're facing a 1st-degree domestic violence offense, it's imperative to contact a South Carolina domestic violence lawyer.
The 2nd-degree domestic violence offense occurs when the offender commits the assault and it results in moderate physical injury, the offender has one previous conviction of domestic violence, or the offense would normally be a 3rd-degree domestic offense but was committed in front of a minor or against a pregnant woman.
2nd-degree domestic violence carries a monetary fine that ranges between $2,500 and $5,000, incarceration of up to three years, or both.
The least severe degree of domestic violence is 3rd-degree domestic violence. This includes the core definition mentioned above with no aggravating factors that may cause a 2nd or 1st-degree charge. A conviction for 3rd-degree results in incarceration of up to 90 days with a monetary fine of between $2,500 and $5,000.
How Our Greenville Domestic Violence Attorney Can Help
As you can see, domestic violence is a serious crime under South Carolina law. Also, it can be difficult for law enforcement officers to properly classify domestic violence because aggravating factors could elevate the degree of the charges.
A Greenville domestic violence attorney defends people accused of any type of domestic violence. Domestic violence lawyers understand the law and how to defend against these grave accusations.
A conviction under any of these statutes can cause hefty fines, substantial jail time, as well as impact your future family life. Contact our skilled Greenville domestic violence lawyers today at 864-618-2323 to learn your legal options and protect your legal rights.
Contact the Greenville Domestic Violence Lawyers at the TF Law Firm
In South Carolina, domestic violence charges are serious charges. If you are facing a domestic violence charge, contact a skilled criminal defense attorney immediately. Because you could face life-changing jail time.
If you’re facing a domestic abuse charge in Greenville, South Carolina, contact our criminal defense law firm today at 864-618-2323 so our criminal defense team can start building your defense immediately.