Domestic Violence Defense Attorney
An updated domestic violence law went into effect in South Carolina in 2015 that changed the criminal charge from criminal domestic violence to domestic violence. It also increased potential penalties for a conviction. If you’ve been arrested for domestic violence, you need the help of an experienced domestic violence defense attorney.
Nathan Sheldon is an experienced criminal defense attorney near you. As a former prosecutor, he understands how the criminal justice system works and what defense strategies to use in court. He is a member of the South Carolina Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.
Call 803-504-3411 now to schedule your consultation.
What are Domestic Violence Charges in South Carolina?
Domestic violence crimes are similar to assault charges, except that the person being injured or threatened is a household member. The law defines household member in this case as spouses, former spouses, people who have children together or people have lived together no matter what the current living arrangements are.
There are four levels of domestic violence charges in South Carolina.
- Criminal Domestic Violence of a High and Aggravated Nature
- First Degree Domestic Violence
- Second Degree Domestic Violence
- Third Degree Domestic Violence
Criminal Domestic Violence of a High and Aggravated Nature is the most serious of the charges and can result in as much as 20 years in prison. First degree domestic violence is also a felony and can result in 10 years in prison. Second degree and Third degree domestic violence are both misdemeanors.
What You Could Happen if You Are Convicted of Domestic Violence
Jail or Prison
The lowest level, first-offense domestic violence conviction can now result in a 90-day jail sentence and you could be charged and convicted even if the other person wasn’t physically injured.
Impacts on Child Custody and Visitation Rights
You may lose joint custody of your child or face supervised visitation. In addition, a protective order could further complicate spending time with your children. Nathan Sheldon also practices family law and can provide guidance with these types of impacts as well.
You Won’t Be Able to Have a Gun
Under state and federal law, even a misdemeanor domestic violence conviction will prevent you from legally having a gun.
Negative Impact on Employment
A conviction could result in you losing your job and may keep employers from hiring you for future opportunities.
Defense is Not as Simple as the Other Person Asking Charges Be Dropped
South Carolina law is clear that the solicitor’s office has the right to prosecute, not the other person involved in a domestic abuse case. Even without their testimony, prosecutors can use photographs, video, medical reports and 911 recordings as evidence against you.
There is too much at stake with a domestic violence charge to hope that charges will just be dropped. You need the help of an experienced domestic violence defense attorney to guide you through the process and determine what the best defense strategy is in your situation.