How do you beat a CDV charge in South Carolina?
Domestic violence is a serious crime in South Carolina, and a conviction can have serious consequences. These include prison, heavy fines – and a criminal record. That's why it's important to have an experienced criminal defense lawyer on your side.
If you are facing charges, an attorney can review the details of the case and determine the best defense strategy for your situation. In general, potential defenses include:
The allegations were false.
Sadly, people sometimes falsely accuse others of domestic violence. There are spouses, domestic partners, and even family members who make up stories about violence for various reasons. Talking to family, friends, and other witnesses can sometimes reveal that the accusations are untrue.
Actions were taken in self-defense.
In South Carolina, you have the right to defend yourself if someone in your home attacks you. But you must be able to prove that you acted in response to a threat and believed it was necessary to use force to prevent serious harm or death.
Actions were taken in defense of others.
If you believed you had to use force to protect someone from serious harm or death, you can claim you were acting in "defense of others." For example, if a partner was physically abusive toward a child, you could argue that the use of force was justified.
There was no attempt to cause physical harm.
Some domestic violence cases are about threatening or trying to hurt someone. If you're accused of threatening or attempting to harm a household member without physical contact, the prosecution must prove that you genuinely tried or threatened to hurt them.
The alleged victim was not a "household member."
For an action to be considered domestic violence in South Carolina, it must involve a "household member." As defined in section 16-25-10(3) of the South Carolina Code of Laws, this includes a spouse, a former spouse, a parent of a shared child, or a current or former domestic partner. But while you can't be convicted of domestic violence against anyone who is not a household member, you could face other charges.
A search or seizure was unlawful.
When police respond to a domestic violence call, they can take action to safeguard the reported victim. But they must also respect the constitutional rights of the accused. If the police searched your home or took evidence in violation of the Fourth Amendment, this could be an effective defense.
You were not read your rights.
When you are taken into custody and interrogated, police are required to read you your Miranda rights. Failure to do so can make any statements you made inadmissible.
Certain evidence is inadmissible.
If the police acquired evidence unlawfully, it doesn't mean that your case will be dismissed. But if some of their evidence is ruled inadmissible, their case against you can be weakened considerably.
There is not enough evidence.
Some prosecution's evidence may be accepted in court, but that doesn't ensure a conviction. The jury must be convinced of your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Your attorney can make the case that the evidence is insufficient to establish guilt.
You are eligible for a diversionary program.
If you're facing a possible conviction at trial, you may be able to enroll in a diversionary program. If you qualify and successfully complete the program, your charge and conviction could be expunged from your record after a certain amount of time.
Strategic criminal defense for DV charges
Matt Bodman, P.A. is a former criminal prosecutor in South Carolina. He understands how domestic violence cases are put together. He knows where to look for weaknesses in the case. Attorney Bodman believes everyone deserves the best defense and is committed to helping you get the best possible outcome.
Learn more about your potential legal options. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation at our Columbia, SC office.