Criminal Domestic Violence Defense
Defendants who are convicted of domestic violence offenses face consequences that affect their lives in many ways. However, they often have options that are available to them, such as obtaining treatment, negotiating a plea, minimizing your sentence, or pursuing suspension of your fine or sentence. Experienced South Carolina Criminal Domestic Violence Attorney Ronald F. Johnson understands the options that are available to defendants who are charged with domestic violence offenses, and he can help you pursue a resolution of your criminal case that will have the least possible impact on your life.
Criminal Domestic Violence Offenses in South Carolina
There are four categories of criminal domestic violence offenses in South Carolina. The first of these is domestic violence. Domestic violence refers to the infliction of physical harm or injury to a member of your household or attempting to cause physical harm or injury to a member of your household with an actual threat of violence that causes the person to fear that danger of harm is imminent. The law considers the following individuals to be household members: current and former spouses, parents of your children, and present or former partners who you either live with presently or have lived with in the past.
The second type of offense is domestic violence of a high and aggravated nature, which consists of either assault and battery that is committed with a deadly weapon or which results in serious bodily injury or assault which would cause a person to have a reasonable fear that serious bodily injury or death was imminent.
Violating a domestic violence protective order (restraining order) is the third type of criminal domestic violence offense. The fourth type of criminal domestic violence offense in South Carolina is trespassing on the grounds of a domestic violence shelter where a household member resides after being charged with or convicted of a domestic violence related crime.
Potential Consequences of a Domestic Violence Conviction
If convicted, first time domestic violence offenders charged with a misdemeanor are typically fined between one and two thousand dollars. Second offenses are also charged as misdemeanors, but with a larger monetary fine and thirty days to one year of imprisonment. Third and subsequent offenses constitute felonies, with sentences of one to five years in prison. Domestic violence of a high and aggravated nature is also a felony, punishable by one to ten years in prison.
Protective Order Attorney
Violation of a protective order is a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to five hundred dollars and up to thirty days in jail. Charges of criminal contempt often accompany charges for violating a protective order, which can mean an additional fine and up to one more year in jail if you are convicted. Trespassing on the grounds of a domestic violence shelter is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine and up to three years in jail. If the offender was armed with a “dangerous weapon” at the time of the trespass, the offense is charged as a felony, with an even higher fine and up to five years in jail.
There are other consequences that people who are convicted of domestic violence offenses often face. For example, you could be evicted from your home. You may lose custody of your children, or your visitation with them may be reduced or denied. You could also lose your right to possess firearms. People who have been convicted often find it difficult to find employment, seek educational opportunities, and obtain professional licenses.
For a professional assessment of your case and your rights, call Attorney Ronald F. Johnson today at (803) 794-0140 to arrange for a free, initial consultation. Mr. Johnson has served English and Spanish-speaking clients in South Carolina for over thirteen years. Our office is located in West Columbia, South Carolina and looks forward to serving you.