Charged with Domestic Violence?
Our head attorney, James R. Snell, Jr., is an experienced lawyer who has skill representing clients in Lexington, Columbia and elsewhere in South Carolina. Criminal Domestic Violence, or CDV, is one of the most vigorously prosecuted offenses under South Carolina law. If convicted, you will lose your right to carry or possess a firearm and will face a substantial sentence or a high fine. It only gets worse for those with a prior offense.
Dealing with False Accusations
Our attorneys understand that just because someone has been charged with domestic violence offense does not mean that they are guilty of any wrongdoing. Some cases are brought by one partner who may obtain an advantage in a divorce or custody case. Law enforcement that responds to a 911 call may have been erroneously trained. They may be under the impression that when they report for a domestic disturbance call, they must make an arrest, even if they lack probable cause to believe that any crime actually took place.
Many situations are completely blown out of proportion and as a result, you may be improperly or overly charged. Defendants are frequently pushed through the system, even if a plain reading of the alleged facts giving rise to the arrest would fail to meet the legal requirements for a criminal domestic violence (CDV) charge. We also assist clients in appealing their recent CDV conviction, so do not hesitate to contact a Lexington criminal defense attorney at our firm today.
Domestic Violence Classifications
The two classifications for domestic violence charges in South Carolina are misdemeanor and felony. Misdemeanor domestic violence cases are prosecuted in the magistrate court for first-time offenders and are punishable by either 30 days in jail or a fine of over $5,000. Repeat offenders, or those charged with felony criminal domestic violence of a high and aggravated nature (CDVHAN) have their cases prosecuted in the court of general sessions. Those convicted of CDV or CDVHAN may receive a sentence of between one to ten years and will serve at least one full year of that sentence, day for day, in the South Carolina Department of Corrections.
In cases where the parties are married, living together or have children together, the victim may be referred to the family court for the filing of an order of protection under the South Carolina Protection from Domestic Abuse Act. At an order of protection hearing, the offender may be ordered out of the home, required to pay temporary alimony, and lose custody or visitation rights to children. Even in cases without an order of protection, the bond court's "no contact" order may separate parties from each other and their children, destroying whole families in the process.
Lexington County Criminal Domestic Violence Court
Domestic violence arrests are so sought out by local law enforcement that local communities have established special courts just to hear them. The Lexington County Criminal Domestic Violence Court, or Lexington CDV Court, is located at 139 East Main Street, Lexington, South Carolina. The Richland County Criminal Domestic Violence Court, or Richland CDV Court, is located at 1400 Huger Street, Columbia, South Carolina. If the charge originates from a town or city, such as Lexington, Irmo, Columbia, Cayce, or West Columbia, then the cases will be held at the municipal court.
If you have been charged with criminal domestic violence, you should retain an attorney prior to appearing alone in court. This will help ensure that you properly preserve your rights as well as not being pressured into a situation that is not in your best interest. Our attorney James R. Snell, Jr., is able to represent those charged with criminal charges related to the family. If you have been charged or accused of a similar crime, please contact our Lexington criminal defense lawyers to receive your free case evaluation.