Your world can be turned upside down from a domestic violence accusation.
In South Carolina, there are several different Domestic Violence charges, all of which carry the potential for prison time. South Carolina takes domestic violence cases seriously. The penalties range from thirty (30) days in jail to twenty (20) years in prison, depending on the severity of the charge. In addition to the potential prison sentence, you could also face hefty fines and not be allowed to own a firearm of any kind. In addition to criminal consequences, you could also face a civil order of protection may prevent you from seeing your children and staying in your home. Your reputation in the community and ability to get a job or keep your current one, could also be in serious jeopardy if you are accused of domestic violence.
Domestic Violence and False Accusations
The collateral consequences stemming from a domestic violence charge and conviction are serious. As former prosecutors and a former judge turned long time criminal defense attorneys, we have seen countless false accusations of domestic violence. Often, these accusations are intertwined with other familial problems and stem from one person wanting to gain control over the situation. For example, a spouse may do this to leverage a child custody determination in a divorce to his or her favor.
You can still be prosecuted even if the victim does not participate.
Too often, many accused and charged with domestic violence are under the false assumption that the case will automatically be dismissed or dropped if the alleged victim does not want to participate in prosecution. The reason this is a false assumption is because, under South Carolina law, the prosecutor is the one who “holds the charge” or makes the determination on whether or not to prosecute the case. This is known as a victimless prosecution and can be a serious problem if you are not represented by an experienced criminal defense lawyer.