Charleston, SC Domestic Violence Attorney
Domestic violence charges in South Carolina are one of the most difficult charges to face. One of the many reasons for this is that the state of South Carolina has been consistently ranked in the top three (3) in the nation for domestic violence abuse. In an effort to deal with this problem, sweeping changes were made to the old criminal domestic violence statute and the new laws created additional acts that count as domestic violence (such as preventing a person from calling 911) and harsher penalties if convicted. See Code §16-25-20 What this means is that police and prosecutors pursue these cases vigorously. What should you do when charged with Domestic Violence (DV) in South Carolina? Call a Charleston criminal defense lawyer today.
Changes to Domestic Violence laws
In June 2015 the state made sweeping changes to its domestic violence laws. These changes enacted a three tiered system where the punishment was increased. For example, the possible jail time for the lowest level domestic violence charge, a misdemeanor, increased from thirty (30) days to ninety (90) days.
Domestic Violence Penalties
Below is the list for possible punishment for domestic violence convictions under the new statutes.
|3rd Degree||2nd Degree||1st Degree||High & Aggravated|
|Penalty: 0-90 days, and/or $1,000 – $2,500 fine.||Penalty: 0-3 yrs. and/or $2,500 – $5,000 fine.||Penalty: 0-10 yrs.||Penalty: 0-20 yrs.|
Can a Victim Drop the Charges
This is what makes domestic violence (DV) cases so difficult and why you need a Charleston domestic violence lawyer. Many times after an arrest the victim will state that they no longer want to pursue a case against the accused. However, this will not result in an automatic dismissal of the charge. Once the case has been referred to the Solicitor’s Office, a victim will most likely have to fill out a drop charges form, provided by the Solicitor, and watch a video on domestic violence. Even after completing the drop charges form, it’s no guarantee that the charges will be dropped because the prosecutor may still proceed if they have the evidence to prove their case. The prosecutor has subpoena power to compel the victim/witness to court and testify. They will most likely have video evidence from body cameras or dash cam videos (possibly victim statements alleging the assault), there may be photographic evidence of injuries, hospital record documentation, or 911 calls, all of which a prosecutor can use to prove their case despite a victim not wanting to prosecute.
What is a “No Drop” Policy
The “no drop” policy means that police and prosecutors simply won’t dismiss a case because an alleged victim wants them too or files a drop charges form. What’s important to your case is that this does not mean that your case will never be dismissed or resolved in a manner where you will not end up with a conviction. The policy means that police and prosecutors alike take these cases seriously and will prosecute and seek out a conviction if possible. Don’t go it alone, contact a Charleston domestic violence lawyer to defend you.
No Contact Bond Restrictions
Often when a person is given a bond on a domestic violence case the accused is placed on a no-contact order by the judge, which means that if you live with the victim, you will not be allowed to return home once you are released from jail. Sometimes this can be modified by a court order but not always. So, if you are placed on a no-contact condition of bond do not violate the terms or you will face certain jail time again and possibly additional charges.
Domestic Violence Gun Ban
If you have been convicted of domestic violence (DV), even if it is domestic violence 3rd degree misdemeanor offense, you are prohibited under federal law from possessing a gun. This means there are no special exceptions for hunters or any other recreational users. What many people don’t realize is that although the state law may not prohibit the possession of a gun, federal law certainly does, and it is applied in all states of the U.S. so you cannot legally hunt in any part of the country, not just South Carolina, that’s why you need to consult a Charleston domestic violence lawyer to get help in your case.