Domestic Violence 1st Degree in South Carolina

Domestic violence 1st degree in South Carolina is a felony that carries up to 10 years in prison if convicted.  The statute covers several different situations that are required for an arrest and we will cover those today. Hi, my name is Dale Savage and I’m a criminal defense attorney here in Charleston, SC and today we’re talking about domestic violence 1st degree charges.

What is Domestic Violence 1st Degree?

To establish DV 1st degree the prosecutor must show the basic elements of domestic violence and an additional aggravating factor.  The aggravating factors are:

  • There is great bodily injury to a household member, or your actions could result in great bodily injury to a household member.
  • You commit a DV 2nd degree, which is a misdemeanor, but there is an order of protection against you.
  • You have 2 or more prior convictions, not arrests, for domestic violence within 10 years of the current offense.
  • A firearm was used in any manner while committing domestic violence.
  • While committing DV 2nd degree one of the following occurs;
    • A minor is present.
    • The victim is pregnant.
    • The offense was committed during a robbery, burglary, or theft.
    • You impede the victims breathing or air flow.
    • You stop a person from using a phone to call for police or medical help.

What are your Options?

As you can see the DV 1st degree law is broad and covers a number of different situations.

There are two common situations when you’re talking about DV 1st degree and that is either the great bodily injury type, or the DV 2nd degree with aggravating factors.

When reviewing the great bodily injury factors the injury required is one that causes a substantial risk of death or permanent disfigurement or impairment of a bodily organ.  This would require the state to show medical records of the injury or injuries to establish there was a substantial risk of death or impairment to a bodily organ.

The more common cases that I often see have to do with stopping a person from using a phone to call police.  That’s because its often not just the alleged victim’s phone that was broken or blocked from use.  A lot of cases arise from situations where a spouse or girlfriend see text messages or social media messages on their partners phone.  They then take that phone and lock themselves in a room or there is a struggle over that phone which then leads to the partners phone being taken or destroyed.  What’s important in these types of cases is to show that the defendant’s phone was initially destroyed or taken from them, police will often not photograph the defendant’s damaged phone or document that it even occurred.  Sometimes it will be visible in body camera footage, or the alleged victim may describe that initial struggle on the body cam other times you will need show your attorney the phone.  This can be vital in mounting a defense in your case so it’s important that you talk to your attorney about what happened before police arrived.

Charleston, SC Domestic Violence Lawyer

If have been charged with DV 1st degree and want to discuss your options, please call me at (843) 530-7813.  I hope this video was helpful and thanks for watching.

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