The courts take criminal domestic violence allegations extremely seriously. But then there are those who, for some reason, are wrongly accused of engaging in domestic violence acts. If you’re also going through a divorce or some other family law case, you should even be more careful with allegations like these because they could also significantly influence the results of your case, especially if you’re likewise facing criminal charges.
Domestic Violence Penalties
The following are penalties for domestic violence in South Carolina and the factors the courts consider when determining domestic violence (DV) cases:
Third-Degree Domestic Violence
Factors that need to be proven include the infliction of injury or the attempt to inflict injury or physical harm to a member of the household that created fear of imminent danger. Such an action is a misdemeanor and is punishable by a fine of up to $2,500 and 90 days in jail.
Second-Degree Domestic Violence
Besides the factors in the third-degree domestic violence crime, the defendant should have likewise committed one or more of these violations:
- Inflicted moderate bodily injury (MBI)
- Has a past domestic violence conviction within the last 10 years and committed breaking and entering
- Acted in a manner that could possibly cause MBI
The defendant could likewise be charged with second-degree domestic violence for committing third-degree domestic violence if at least one of these factors are true:
- The defendant knew or should’ve known that the DV victim was pregnant.
- A minor witnessed the event or was present.
- The defendant restricted the DV victim’s airflow or breathing.
- The defendant committed DV while also committing theft, kidnapping, burglary, or robbery.
- The defendant violated a restraining or protection
- The defendant committed DV using the threat of or actual physical force to stop the victim from accessing a phone or other electronic communication device to prevent the victim from reporting the DV event or getting emergency medical help.
Any of these are misdemeanors and punishable by a fine of up to $5,000 and up to three years in jail.
First-Degree Domestic Violence
Aside from the domestic violence factors present in both the third and second-degree DV cases, the defendant could be charged with first-degree domestic violence if:
- The defendant had two or more domestic violence convictions within the last 10 years.
- The defendant committed breaking and entering using a firearm.
- The defendant’s actions resulted in great bodily injury (GBI) or could have resulted in GBI.
This is a felony and is punishable by costly fines and up to 10 years imprisonment.
Domestic Violence of a High and Aggravated Nature (DVHAN)
Aside from the DV factors present in the lesser DV charges, the defendant could be charged with DVHAN if they committed DV under circumstances that exhibited immense or intentional indifference or disregard for human life
DVHAN is a felony punishable by costly fines and up to 20 years of incarceration.
Get Help From an Experienced Domestic Violence Attorney in Greenville Now
Here at Bannister, Wyatt & Stalvey, we understand that there are always two sides to every story. If you’ve been accused of domestic violence, arrange a case review with our Greenville domestic violence attorney by contacting us online or calling us at 864-523-7742.
Criminal Domestic Violence Case FAQs
Do I need a lawyer for a domestic violence charge?
You are not required by law to hire an attorney. However, without proper legal representation, a charge of domestic violence could destroy your family, reputation, and career.
What happens if I violate a restraining or protection order?
You could be held in contempt of court or charged with a crime, or jailed and fined.
Can I see my kids if I’m charged with domestic violence?
Unfortunately, a charge of domestic violence trumps your parental rights. You could, however, request for visitation with help from your lawyer and prove that you’re not a threat to your kids.