Domestic Violence Attorney in Rock Hill
Defending against Accusations of Domestic Abuse
At Bruce Law Firm, I understand that there are at least two sides to every domestic abuse allegation. I am here to make sure that yours is heard. As your attorney, I can review every aspect of your case and create a personalized strategy to help you obtain a favorable outcome. My goal is to obtain a case dismissal or a reduction of your charges, so that you can resume your life as normal.
What Constitutes Domestic Violence?
In South Carolina, domestic violence refers to any situation where an individual causes physical harm or injury to a member of the same household. A person can also be charged with domestic violence when they threaten or attempt to cause physical harm or injury to a household or family member, and in doing so, they reasonably create fear of imminent peril. A household member can be a spouse, former spouse, person with whom the alleged offender has a child in common, and a person of the opposite sex with whom the alleged offender lives with or formerly lived with.
Arrests for Domestic Violence
According to domestic violence laws, law enforcement must arrest an individual if they have probable cause to believe that person committed domestic violence, including a violation of a protection order. The police officer can make the arrest with or without a warrant, whether or not he or she witnessed the offense.
Protection Orders in Domestic Violence Cases
A protection order, or restraining order, is an order from the court that states that the person who has been accused of domestic violence cannot contact or come near the alleged victim. The alleged victim (or petitioner) can request a restraining order by filing a Petition for an Order of Protection. The defendant will need to be served a copy of the petition. Typically, within 15 days of the submission of the petition, the family court will hold a hearing. At the conclusion of the hearing, a judge may issue a court order that places many restrictions on the defendant. This order can last for six months to a year, and it may be extended.
A protection order may contain several stipulations, including:
- The defendant is prohibited from threatening, abusing, molesting, or contacting the petitioner
- The petitioner is awarded temporary custody and visitation of minor children
- The petitioner is granted temporary possession of personal property
- The defendant is prohibited from going to the petitioner’s home, workplace, or any other place indicated by the court
- The defendant must pay temporary financial support to the alleged victim and their children
- The defendant is prohibited from selling or destroying personal property
- The petitioner is granted temporary possession of a shared residence
- The petitioner is awarded court costs and attorney’s fees
If a petitioner is found to be in immediate and present danger of bodily injury, the court may hold an emergency hearing within 24 hours of the petition.
Penalties for Domestic Violence in South Carolina
Domestic violence offenses may be charged as either misdemeanors or felonies in South Carolina, depending on the circumstances. Repeat offenders will incur harsher penalties than those who have not been convicted of domestic violence within the past 10 years.
The potential penalties for domestic violence offenders include:
- First offense – Charged as a misdemeanor and punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a fine of $1,000 to $2,500.
- Second offense – Charged as a misdemeanor and punishable by 30 days to one year in jail and a fine of $2,000 to $5,000.
- Third and subsequent offenses – Charged as a felony and punishable by one to five years in prison.
Under South Carolina law, certain acts of domestic violence are punished more severely. When the domestic violence involves assault or battery with a deadly weapon or that causes injury, the crime is referred to as “domestic violence of a high and aggravated nature.” This level of offense is a felony, punishable by one to ten years in prison.
Contact Bruce Law Firm at (803) 336-7189 about defending your domestic violence charges.
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