Domestic violence charges in South Carolina – Domestic violence is a term that most people have heard and have a general understanding of but may not fully understand all the elements of the crime. In fact, what constitutes domestic violence has some variation depending on the jurisdiction where the crime is alleged to have taken place.
In this blog, we will discuss the criminal charge of domestic violence in the context of South Carolina criminal law. Like all of our blogs, this blog is intended for general informational purposes only and not as a substitute for the advice and counsel of a criminal defense attorney.
What is domestic violence?
In South Carolina, domestic violence is defined as inflicting injury or giving the threat of injury to a member of your household. For the purposes of South Carolina law in this regard a member of your household is a spouse, former spouse, person who you have a child with, or man and women who are cohabitating or were cohabitating.
Levels of domestic violence
Domestic violence is classified in three different degrees; First degree, Second degree, and Third. First degree being the most serious and Third degree being the least serious.
- Domestic violence in the First Degree is a felony punished by not more than ten years in prison. In order for a defendant to be found guilty of this level of the crime, the government most prove that the defendant acted against a member of his household and caused an injury or a threat on injury with present and ability to do so in addition to another condition including but not limited to the following:
- Great bodily injury results or the act alleged was accomplished by means where great bodily injury was the likely result
- The defendant used a firearm
- The defendant has two or more prior convictions of domestic violence in the last ten years
- The defendant violated a domestic violence protective order in the process of committing domestic violence in the second degree.
- Domestic violence in the Second Degree is a misdemeanor and is punished with not more than three years in prison, a fine between $2,500 – $5,000 or both. In order for a defendant to be found guilty of this level of the crime the government must prove beyond a reason doubt that there was an injury be the defendant against a member of his household and or the threat and apparent ability to do carry out the threat in addition to another condition including but not limited to the following:
- The defendant caused moderate bodily injury to the victim through and act that was likely to cause moderate bodily injury
- The defendant has one prior conviction of domestic violence in the last three years
- Domestic violence in the third degree is a misdemeanor, and the defendant is eligible for pre-trial intervention.
Collateral consequences of domestic violence convictions
Besides the fines and possible prison time associated with a conviction of domestic violence, the defendant upon conviction will also lose his ability to legally carry a gun. There are also consequences with regards to future job opportunities and residential rental opportunities.
If you have been charged with Domestic violence or any other crime in South Carolina, contact us.