The offense of Domestic Violence is one of the offenses for which people are most often arrested. Oftentimes, people are arrested for Domestic Violence based merely on accusations by another without any corroborating evidence. In 2015, a bill implementing new penalties and creating new offenses regarding Domestic Violence was signed into law and took effect on June 4, 2015.
There are four offenses of Domestic Violence now. Domestic Violence 3rd Degree, 2nd Degree, 1st Degree, and Domestic Violence of a High and Aggravated Nature. These offenses carry potential penalties of up to 90 days in jail, up to 3 years, up to 10 years, and up to 20 years, respectively. A person convicted of an offense of Domestic Violence or of violating a valid Order of Protection are prohibited from ever owning or possessing a firearm or ammunition.
If a person is charged with any offense of Domestic Violence, South Carolina’s State Constitution ensures that they have a right to a trial by a jury of their peers if they so demand. No one, including a judge or a police officer, can deprive a person of that right. A jury cannot convict someone of Domestic Violence (or any offense) unless the government has proven the accused’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. When someone has been arrested for Domestic Violence, it is important that they consult a lawyer as soon as possible so that they can know what their rights and options are and how the case is likely to proceed.