Professional And Experienced Domestic Violence Defense Attorney
As you likely already know, domestic violence allegations have serious consequences for your current life and your future. Criminal convictions for domestic violence can require more than just jail time, fines, and rehabilitation. It can interfere with the ability to visit with and actively parent your children and impose prohibitions against owning a firearm or ammunition. With all of this at stake, if you're accused of domestic violence, you need a compassionate and skilled defense attorney on your side.
At the Hopkins Law Firm, we understand there's always much more to the story than what the charges against you allege. We partner with our clients to pursue the best outcome available for their unique domestic violence charges, so they can tell their side of the story while ensuring their rights are protected throughout their case.
What Is Domestic Violence In South Carolina?
At the core of any domestic violence, the charge is the requirement that a person:
- Caused physical harm to a household member
- Attempted to do so in a way that would place a reasonable person in fear of imminent harm
The first requirement is that the domestic violence incident occurred between household members, which may include a couple who:
- Married, or previously married
- Live together, or previously lived together
- Have a child together
If the household member requirement is not met, the crime will be charged as assault and battery or another related crime.
What Are The Penalties For Domestic Violence in South Carolina?
Domestic violence charges are classified as first, second, or third-degree, and a greater charge referred to as Criminal Domestic Violence of a High and Aggravated Nature.
The requirements for each degree and their corresponding penalties are as follows.
Domestic Violence: Third Degree
Domestic violence in the third-degree charges serves as a legal catch-all version of the statute where no aggravating factors are associated with the alleged circumstances that may lead to a 2nd or 1st-degree charge.
Conviction penalties for third-degree Domestic Violence in South Carolina may include:
- Fine between $2,500 to $5,000
- Jail time up to 90 days
For a third-degree domestic violence charge, some clients may be eligible to avoid criminal conviction through a pretrial diversionary class for domestic abuse and anger management.
If a third-degree domestic violence charge is committed in front of a child, or against a pregnant woman, it automatically increases in severity to a second-degree domestic violence charge.
Domestic Violence: Second Degree
Domestic violence in the second-degree applies when a person:
- Commits an assault that results in moderate bodily injury
- Has one prior conviction of domestic violence
Conviction penalties for second-degree Domestic Violence in South Carolina may include:
- Fine between $2,500.00 and $5,000.00
- Imprisonment of up to three years
Domestic Violence: First Degree
Domestic violence in the is first-degree involves the core definition of the act when it:
- Violates a protective order already in place
- Occurs in the presence of a minor
- Results in great bodily injury to the victim
- Involves the use of a firearm
Conviction penalties for first-degree Domestic Violence in South Carolina may include:
A conviction of domestic violence in the first degree in South Carolina is a felony, which carries a potential prison term of up to 10 years.
Criminal Domestic Violence of a High and Aggravated Nature
The most serious domestic violence charge is domestic violence of a high or aggravated nature, which involves intentional disregard for human life, and carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
Consequences Beyond Criminal Penalties
There is a stigma attached to domestic violence charges and a conviction can have consequences that go far beyond any criminal penalty and impact every area of your life. For example, you may not be able to return to your home or see your children if there is a protection order in place. This means that you will need to find another place to stay when you are released from jail and charges are pending.
In addition, the impact will continue long after you have paid fines and been released from jail. A criminal record can influence the outcome of a divorce or child custody case. In certain professions, a criminal conviction can put your career and professional license in jeopardy, or you could have trouble finding a job. For these reasons, it is important to contact an experienced Myrtle beach domestic violence lawyer to protect your rights.
Contact Our Domestic Violence Attorney Today
If you have been charged with domestic violence in Charleston, Georgetown, Pawleys Island, or Myrtle Beach, South Carolina contact us to learn how severe the charges are, and what type of evidence the State has to support its case, so we can build a strong defense for your unique circumstances. To schedule a free consultation at one of our offices, please use our contact form or call us at 843-314-4202 today.
A domestic violence conviction may cause more than legal problems, as the charge follows you around during future background checks that can keep you from obtaining a job or interfere with your ability to share custody of your children. Do not leave your domestic violence charges to chance. Contact us today.