Have you been charged with domestic violence? Do you just want to learn more about domestic violence in general? This article will introduce you to the basics of domestic violence and how to possibly beat a domestic violence charge.
Domestic Violence in South Carolina
In South Carolina, there are several types of Domestic Violence (often called DV)
- Domestic Violence of a High and Aggravated Nature
- Domestic Violence 1st Degree
- Domestic Violence 2nd Degree
- Domestic Violence 3rd Degree
Each of these criminal charges are different offenses.
Domestic Violence cases are usually taken very seriously by law enforcement and the
prosecutor. Accordingly to the Violence Policy Center, South Carolina has consistently ranked in the top 10 of states for the rate of women murdered by men for at least the last 20 years. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, twenty people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the U.S. Over the course of one year, that equals more than 10 million men and women!
DV Charge Requirements
There are four different types, or degrees, of domestic violence, but as a whole Domestic Violence requires two people who:
- Currently live together,
- Used to live together,
- Are currently married,
- Used to be married, OR
- Have a child together.
Domestic violence requires that one of those two people, namely, the alleged Defendant:
- Caused physical harm or injury to the victim OR
- Offered or attempted to cause physical harm or injury to the victim with apparent present ability under circumstances reasonably creating fear of imminent peril
So what does “offered or attempted to cause physical harm or injury to the victim with apparent present ability under circumstances reasonably creating fear of imminent peril” mean in non-lawyer terms? Basically it means the defendant threatened or tried to harm the victim while having the ability to do so under circumstances which reasonably created fear of immediate danger to the victim.
Beating Domestic Violence (DV) Charges
There are several different ways any case can end. The best resolution would be getting your charges dropped or dismissed, but that isn’t always how it goes. Your case can also be plea bargained, which can be another positive outcome. In any case, contact a criminal defense attorney that knows their way around the court and will look out for your best interest.
Solicitor/Prosecutor Drops the Case
This can be very difficult to do and certainly will not happen with every case. Some things that may help get a domestic violence charge dropped or dismissed would be mistakes made by police or mistakes made by prosecutors. Perhaps evidence was not handled properly. There may have been witnesses to the incident that law enforcement did not interview. There may be surveillance footage of the incident that law enforcement did not retrieve.
Victim Drops the Case
Another thing that may happen is the alleged victim “drops the case.” The alleged victim really can’t actually drop a case. The alleged victim can fill out a form requesting the charges be dropped. The authority to prosecute the case does not belong to the victim, but to the state.
After the alleged victim files a police report and the investigating agency investigates the case, it is forwarded to the prosecutor who then decides whether to prosecute the case or not. Even if the victim reaches out and wants to get the case dropped, it doesn’t mean the case will be dropped since the case in the prosecutor’s hands. If, however, the victim does not want to participate in prosecuting the case, the State may have a more difficult time proving the case unless there is other evidence or there is another witness to the alleged abuse.
Plea Bargaining with the Solicitor
Another resolution to a domestic violence case would be a plea bargain. There are several ways to plea bargain. On way is to plea to a lesser charge or get your charge reduced. The second occurs when a person is charged with more than one offense, s/he may plea to one charge in exchange for another being dismissed. A third way to plea bargain is to negotiate a sentence–for example, a plea to probation.
Need help with your domestic violence case in SC?
South Carolina has been plagued by domestic violence and deaths due to domestic violence. That’s why law enforcement and prosecutors take these cases seriously. That being said, not everyone charged with domestic violence is guilty of domestic violence, and there are certainly false allegations of domestic violence made. If you are charged with domestic violence, you should immediately get an attorney.