For a free in person consultation

Dial: 803-808-0905

As a result of South Carolina’s Criminal Domestic Violence Law, if you’ve been charged with domestic violence after June 4, 2015, you could face more serious consequences.

Along with increasing the seriousness of consequences, the law changed the way police and judges deal with Criminal Domestic Violence (now simply called domestic violence or DV). This law was established because South Carolina commonly has one of the highest rates of domestic violence-related deaths in the nation, reports WCNC. If you’re facing a domestic violence charge, it’s important that you understand this new law and know what it means to you.

What does this new law mean?

When she signed the bill, Governor Nikki Haley said, “South Carolina is thinking about strengthening the survivor.” To help survivors, the bill made it easier for first-time offenders to receive serious punishments.

To allow judges to hand down serious sentences, the bill changed the way consequences are determined. Before this bill, punishment for DV mainly depended on the number of times someone was charged with a domestic violence-related crime. Under the new law, now the seriousness of the incident is taken into account when deciding the sentence.

Degrees of domestic violence

For an instance, to be considered DV of any degree under South Carolina’s law, you and the victim must be married, live together, previously have lived together and/or share a child.

Also, you must have injured, or threatened to injure, the victim.

The new legislation spells out both the definition of, and punishment for, four degrees of DV.

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 to your situation:

  • The victim died or nearly died
  • The victim was permanently disfigured
  • You used a deadly weapon (This doesn’t 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 to your situation:

  • 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

This 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 to your situation:

  • 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.

Have you been charged with domestic violence (CDV) in Lexington, Aiken, Newberry, Columbia, SC or surrounding areas? Would you like to talk about your options?

Call 803-808-0905, or use this form to speak with Kent Collins.

Schedule Your Free
In Person Consultation!

Contact Kent Collins

Get in Touch