South Carolina laws contain a very specific charge called domestic violence. There are three different degrees of the charge, and each has their own elements and possible penalties. An experienced South Carolina domestic violence attorney can help you understand what your charges mean and what the possible penalties are if you are facing this type of crime.
Charges of Domestic Violence
Chapter 25 of South Carolina’s Code contains the definitions and penalties for all three degrees of domestic violence. The one thing that they all have in common is that in each, part of the definition reads that the crime is defined by one person causing physical harm to another member of their household or attempting to take actions in a manner that would place that person in fear of imminent harm.
The first requirement to satisfy a domestic violence charge is that the action in question must have been taken against a member of their household. A household member is defined as a spouse, ex-spouse, people that have a child together, or female and male that currently live together or have lived together in the past. If none of these requirements are met, the charge will be considered an assault and battery or other such crime rather than domestic violence.
There also does not have to be actual physical contact for domestic violence to have occurred. For example, if one spouse swings their fist at the other but doesn’t make contact, domestic charges may still be brought against the spouse that swung their fist.
Penalties for Domestic Violence
The most serious type of domestic violence is domestic violence of a high or aggravated nature, also called DVHAN. This crime involves the intentional disregard for a human’s life and carries a maximum sentence in prison of 20 years.
The second most serious type of domestic violence is first-degree. This occurs when at least one of the following occurs:
- The act results in great bodily injury to the victim.
- The act is a violation of a protective order that is already in place.
- The action involves the use of a firearm.
- The action occurs in the presence of a minor.
Conviction of first-degree domestic violence is a felony charge and may result in a prison sentence of up to 10 years.
Second-degree domestic violence occurs when a person commits assault and it results in moderate bodily injuries to the victim, the person committing the act has a prior conviction for domestic violence, or the offense would typically be considered a third-degree crime but was committed in front of a minor or the victim was a pregnant woman. This crime can result in a fine of up to $5,000 and up to three years in prison.
The least severe type of domestic violence is third-degree. This is a bit of a catch-all statute for those crimes that don’t fall into one of the above categories and can result in a fine up to $5,000 and up to 90 days in jail.
Contact a Domestic Violence Attorney Today
As you can see, being charged with domestic violence should not be taken lightly. Attorney Lauren Taylor will work to defend you if you have been accused of any degree of domestic violence. She understands the law and knows how to defend you against these serious allegations. Contact Lauren Taylor Law today to schedule a consultation and ensure that your rights are protected.
Lauren Taylor is a Family Law and Criminal Defense Attorney who practices in Greenville, SC. She graduated from the Charlotte School of Law, and has been practicing for several years now. Lauren Taylor relies on her experience and passion to fight for you during this stressful time. Learn more about her experience here.