Frequently Asked Questions About Criminal Domestic Violence in South Carolina

As a criminal defense attorney, located in North Charleston, South Carolina, I often deal with clients who have been accused of Criminal Domestic Violence. If found guilty of Criminal Domestic Violence, it cannot only land you in prison but can destroy your family. The State of South Carolina takes a dim view of domestic violence and, in this article, I will discuss the most frequently asked questions about Criminal Domestic Violence charges in South Carolina.

What is the Definition of Criminal Domestic Violence in South Carolina?

Under SC Statute 16-25-20, it is unlawful to cause physical harm or injury to a person’s own household member; or offer or attempt to cause physical harm or injury to a person’s own household member with apparent present ability under circumstances reasonably creating fear of imminent peril. A “household member” is a former or current spouse, a male, and female who are currently living together or have lived together, or a male and female that have a child in common.

What are Some of the Factors to Consider In a Criminal Domestic Violence Case in South Carolina?

  • Who called the police?
  • Why did the police arrive?
  • Were there any physical injuries?
  • Were there any witnesses? Photographs? Written statements? Oral Statements?
  • Is a copy of the 911 recording available?
  • Have the police ever been called to this location before?
  • What is the time frame of when the incident was reported? Did the alleged victim wait hours to call the police?
  • What motive does the victim have for reporting the incident?
  • Is the alleged victim credible?
  • Are the witnesses credible?
  • Does the alleged victim have a history of Criminal Domestic Violence convictions?

What are the Degrees of Criminal Domestic Violence Conviction in South Carolina?

Domestic violence of an aggravated nature (DVHAN). This is the most serious kind of domestic violence.

You can be charged with domestic violence of high and aggravated nature if any of the following apply:

  • The victim died or nearly died
  • The victim was permanently disfigured
  • You used a deadly weapon. This does not have to be a gun or a knife. It can be anything that you could have killed this person with.
  • A minor saw or heard the event
  • You knew the victim was pregnant
  • You forced entry into the victim’s home, vehicle or business
  • You attempted to choke or suffocate the victim
  • You prevented the victim from getting to a phone

Domestic violence of high and aggravated nature is a felony offense. You could be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison.

1st-Degree domestic violence. This is the second most serious domestic violence charge.

You can be charged with 1st-degree domestic violence if any of the following apply:

  • You used a gun
  • The victim had a restraining or protective order
  • A minor saw or heard the event
  • You knew the victim was pregnant
  • You forced entry into the victim’s home, vehicle or business
  • You attempted to choke or suffocate the victim
  • You prevented the victim from getting to a phone
  • You have two domestic violence convictions within the past 10 years

Domestic violence of the first degree is a felony offense. You could be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison.

2nd-degree domestic violence is the third most serious domestic violence charge and is a misdemeanor.

You can be charged with 2nd-degree domestic violence if any of the following apply:

  • The victim passed out
  • The victim was disfigured
  • The victim can no longer use an arm, leg, finger, etc.
  • The victim’s organs stop working
  • The victim’s injuries require anesthesia
  • The victim’s bones were fractured or dislocated
  • The victim had to receive medical treatment more than once
  • The victim had scratches, cuts, bruises or burns
  • The victim had a restraining or protective order
  • A minor saw or heard the event
  • You knew the victim was pregnant
  • You forced entry into the victim’s home, vehicle or business
  • You attempted to choke or suffocate the victim
  • You prevented the victim from getting to a phone
  • You have one domestic violence conviction within the past 10 years

If convicted, you could also be sentenced to up to three years in prison and/or be fined between $2500 and 5000.

3rd-degree domestic violence. This misdemeanor is the least serious domestic violence charge. To warrant this charge, you must have injured or threatened to injure the victim. Also, you and the victim:

  • are married
  • live together
  • previously have lived with and/or
  • share a child

If convicted, sentenced to up to 90 days in jail and/or face fines between $1000 and $2500.

Can I Get Criminal Domestic Violence Charge Expunged in South Carolina?

If you have no prior record and you are charged with criminal Domestic Violence, you may be eligible for the Pre Trial Intervention program. The Pre Trial Intervention program is run by the State for first-time offenders of non-violent crimes. If you successfully complete Pre Trial Intervention, your Criminal Domestic Violence charge will be dismissed and expunged from your criminal record.

Is Pre Trial Intervention pleading guilty to Criminal Domestic Violence in South Carolina?

No, as the name implies, Pre Trial Intervention comes before a trial. Pre Trial Intervention does not require you to enter a guilty plea; you are not admitting to any wrongdoing.

You are eligible for Pre Trial Intervention if:

  • you have never been through Pre Trial Intervention.
  • you are 17 years old or older.
  • you are not a convicted felon.
  • you have no significant prior arrests or criminal history.

How Can I Get Into Pre Trial Intervention in South Carolina?

Go to your court date that is written on your court papers and when your name is called, ask to get into the program. Going in front of a judge can be an intimidating process, but if you have an experienced lawyer, he/she can walk you through the Pre Trial Intervention and help you feel more at ease.

The Pre Trial Intervention program is run by the Solicitor’s Office and you will complete the so you will be going there to fill out your Pre Trial Intervention application. You must comply exactly with the directions given to you. Keep the papers you get from the Court in a safe place, like a folder and bring these papers with you to your Pre Trial Intervention appointment.

Complete a Pre Trial Intervention application at your court date and give it to the Clerk at the Court. The Clerk will give you information on when and where you go next to fill out your application for Pre Trial Intervention.

What Should I Expect When Completing the Pre Trial Intervention For My Criminal Domestic Violence in South Carolina?

  • Pay the Pre Trial Intervention fees ($100 application fee, plus $250 participation fee) – certified check or money order only made out the Solicitor’s Office.
  • If you are required to go to counseling, you are responsible for paying your own counseling fees.
  • Bring a photo ID and your social security card to your first Pre Trial Intervention appointment at the Solicitor’s Office.
  • Complete Pre Trial Intervention orientation.
  • Complete Community Service Hours, if assigned.
  • Keep all appointments and be on time for them.
  • Stay in the Pre Trial Intervention program at least 90 days.
  • If you owe the alleged victim any money, pay it back.
  • Promise you will not be rearrested while in the Pre Trial Intervention program.
  • Stay in South Carolina unless you get permission from the Pre Trial Intervention.
  • Agree to take, and pass. random drug tests.

If you have been charged with Criminal Domestic Violence, it is likely you feel upset, even betrayed. However, it is vital that you do not allow your emotions get the best of you. Losing your composure is understandable as you have been falsely accused of Criminal Domestic Violence, however, it will not help your case as you exhibit the behavior of which you are accused. Additionally, a Criminal Domestic Violence conviction has implications that are far-reaching. If you have been falsely accused of Criminal Domestic Violence, it is imperative to have an experienced litigator by your side. Contact the Deaton Law Firm.

 

2018-05-24T10:48:54+00:00February 25th, 2018|Criminal Defense|0 Comments