What Happens If You Violate a Restraining Order in South Carolina?

Law and order concept. Handcuffs, gavel on book on a wooden background, top view

If you’ve been accused of a violent or domestic offense in South Carolina, you can face a restraining order. A restraining order restricts a person’s behavior to ensure the safety of a victim of abuse or harassment. This court order comes with a specific set of conditions that must be followed. Restraining order violations can have severe consequences. Please continue reading to learn about the potential consequences and how a determined Chesterfield Criminal Defense Lawyer can help you defend your rights.

What is a Restraining Order?

A restraining order is an official court order prohibiting another person from doing certain things. It protects a person from abuse, stalking, and harassment. Essentially, this document specifically states what a person isn’t allowed to do. If they violate the conditions of the court order, intentionally or unintentionally, they can be charged with a restraining order violation. Engaging in prohibited conduct at any time while a restraining order is in effect can result in a criminal conviction. These acts include:

  • Having contact with the alleged victim
  • Following them
  • Coming within a certain distance of the alleged victim’s home, school, or place of employment
  • Threatening the alleged victim or any of their family members
  • Repeated unwanted communication
  • Damaging property
  • Returning to a residence shared with the alleged victim
  • Possesing firearms or ammunition

What Are the Potential Consequences in South Carolina?

It’s crucial to understand that violating a restraining order is a serious criminal offense in South Carolina. A restraining order is an official court order, which means violations warrant contempt charges. The penalties for restraining order violations vary depending on the case’s unique circumstances. If you violate a temporary restraining order, you can face up to 30 days in jail and a fine of $500. If you violate a permanent restraining order, the potential punishment increases to 12 months in jail and a fine of up to $1,500. If you violate a restraining order by visiting a domestic violence shelter, you can face up to three years of incarceration. In addition, if you violate a restraining order with a dangerous weapon, you can face up to five years of incarceration.

Nevertheless, a restraining order violation can have other consequences besides steep monetary fines and jail time. For instance, a criminal conviction could negatively impact your efforts to obtain custody or visitation if you’re in a custody dispute. Being convicted of a restraining order violation will also limit your employment opportunities and prevent you from enjoying certain other privileges.

Given the potential consequences of a restraining order violation, if you’re facing criminal charges, it’s in your best interest to contact the Cockrell Law Firm, P.C. Our team can help shield you from your charges.