When a person uses abusive behavior in their relationship to maintain power over their partner, it is considered domestic violence. In South Carolina, domestic violence is serious and can result in significant penalties. Depending on the circumstances, it can even be classified as a felony, which may lead to a lengthy prison sentence and other harsh repercussions. If you are facing domestic violence charges, it is in your best interest to retain a seasoned Chesterfield County Defense Lawyer who can assist you in fighting these charges. Please continue reading to learn when domestic violence is considered a felony offense in South Carolina.
What is domestic violence in South Carolina?
Domestic violence is an act or threat of physical, sexual, emotional, financial, and psychological harm against a “household member.” In South Carolina, a household member can include a current or former spouse, individuals that live together, and any individuals that share a child. There is a common misconception that domestic violence can only occur when you are in a romantic relationship with the person you live with. However, that is not always the case. Essentially, anyone that cohabitates can be a victim of domestic violence.
When is it classified as a felony?
In South Carolina, domestic violence carries harsh penalties. However, the severity of your penalties will vary based on the level of harm inflicted, risk of injury, prior convictions, and whether a weapon was used to commit the crime. If you caused physical harm to a household member or tried to cause serious bodily injury, you will be charged with third-degree domestic violence. This offense is classified as a misdemeanor and is punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a fine of up to $2,500 fine. If this is your second domestic violence offense in 10 years and you caused or could have caused physical harm to a household member, you will be charged with second-degree domestic violence. Additionally, this offense can involve violating a protective order or harming a pregnant victim. Second-degree domestic violence is punishable by up to 3 years in prison and up to a $5,000 fine.
A domestic violence offense becomes a felony if this is your third domestic violence offense in 10 years, your actions caused or could have caused significant bodily injuries, you used a firearm, or you committed second-degree violence. If any of these circumstances apply, this domestic violence offense will be classified as a felony and punishable by up to 10 years in prison. Moreover, if you violate a protection order and commit first-degree domestic violence or commit domestic violence with extreme indifference to human life, meaning you used a deadly weapon, strangulation, in the presence of a minor, against a pregnant woman, or using physical force to prevent a victim from calling 911 it will be considered domestic violence of a high and aggravated nature which is a felony that carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
Contact the Cockrell Law Firm, P.C. today for more information on domestic violence charges. Our firm is committed to helping our clients fight the charges brought against them.