Domestic violence or CDV is a serious offense that can have impacts beyond the actual criminal charge. A conviction for domestic violence can result in prohibitions against owning firearms or ammunition and restraining orders from having contact with the victim.
Domestic violence charges are broken down into different degrees from 1st degree, 2nd degree, and 3rd degree with 1st degree being the worst and 3rd degree being the least offense. There is also a greater charge or Criminal Domestic Violence of a High and Aggravated Nature.
Domestic violence is generally defined under S.C. Code Section 16-25-20 (A). This section defines domestic violence as either causing physical harm or injury to a person's own household member OR offering or attempting to cause physical harm or injury to a person's own household member with apparent present ability under circumstances reasonably creating fear of imminent peril.
Violation of section 16-25-20 (A) will be criminal domestic violence in the 3rd degree. In order for a higher charge to be supported, the individual must have aggravating factors the state must prove in addition to the conduct in 16-25-20 (A). Those aggravating facts are listed in S.C. Code Section 16-25-20 (B) for domestic violence in the 1st degree and 16-25-20 (C) for domestic violence in the 2nd degree. Criminal Domestic Violence of a High and Aggravated Nature is defined under section 16-25-65.
Regardless of the exact charge, all domestic violence charges should be handled with extreme care. A person charged with domestic violence in the 3rd degree is eligible for pre-trial intervention (but needs the State's recommendation to get in), successful completion of which would result in dismissal. Get a domestic violence lawyer who knows the law to fight for you!
In most cases the Court will set a no contact provision with the victim in the case. If you have contact, your bond can be revoked and you can end up waiting on a trial date in jail. It is possible to potentially eliminate this condition if the victim wants it eliminated as well.