South Carolina's stay-at-home order (Executive Order No. 2020-21) was issued by Governor Henry McMaster to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. The social distancing guidelines urging residents to stay home — unless they must travel for essential purposes — has saved countless lives. These safety measures didn't come without consequences, however.
Many adults are either out of work or are working from home. Children will not return to school until September. As a result, families all over South Carolina are confined in the same homes together. While this can have a profound impact on anyone's mental health, the current situation has led to an increase in domestic violence cases.
Some non-violent domestic disputes can lead to false reporting of domestic violence. False domestic violence claims are often called in when one party seeks to get revenge on another following a dispute. In some cases, intense yelling or blocking the door can be construed as domestic violence.
What is domestic violence?
Under South Carolina law, domestic violence includes:
- Physical assault, such as hitting, pushing or grabbing
- Assault with intent to inflect serious harm
- Brandishing a weapon or firearm
- Violating a protection order
A domestic violence claim may be made by:
- A spouse
- Boyfriend or girlfriend
- An ex-partner who has a child in common
- Other household members
The penalties for domestic violence may depend on the severity of the alleged crime or the criminal history of the person being accused. These include:
- First offense: Up to 30 days in jail and a fine between $1,000 - $2,500
- Second offense: Between 30 days and 1 year in jail and a fine between $2,000 - $5,000
- Third or subsequent offenses: Between 1-5 years in jail
- Violating a protection order: Up to 30 days in jail and a fine up to $500
How can a defense attorney help me fight domestic violence charges?
If you were arrested after a domestic violence report, it may be difficult to prove your innocence. In most cases, it's your word against the alleged victim's. You may need an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side who can investigate the incident and gather the facts while leaving no stone unturned.
Your attorney can weigh the accusations with the actual physical injuries sustained by the alleged victim. In addition, your attorney can devise a solid legal strategy to help you fight the charges in court by interviewing all parties and witnesses, examining the police report and looking at your criminal record.