Women & Criminal Domestic Violence

Although criminal domestic violence laws were primarily enacted to assist women who are trapped in abusive relationships, we are now seeing more and more women who find themselves to be the one arrested. Many women who are arrested have themselves been the victim of relationship violence. Women may be arrested when their partner makes a false or unfair report to law enforcement.

Fighting CDV Charges in Lexington, SC

At the Law of James R. Snell, Jr., LLC, our domestic violence defense attorneys have experienced representing women who have been arrested and charged as the abuser. We have represented women in counties throughout South Carolina including Greenville, Richland, Lexington, Orangeburg, and Charleston. Our goal is to help our clients avoid being falsely and unfairly convicted as a criminal. We help fight allegations that arise from circumstances such as:

  • When CDV has occurred, but the police arrest the woman even though she was innocent and they should have arrested the man
  • When no crime has occurred and the police leap to conclusions based on false evidence
  • When the woman is victimized after being in a relationship with an abusive or manipulative man
  • Where the woman called 911 to try to get help, only to find herself arrested and taken to jail
  • Isolated incidents involving mutual arguments or alcohol consumption
  • Situations where the woman wrongly confessed in order to protect her male partner, only to be surprised when she herself was arrested and charged with domestic abuse

The law does not make any distinction between a man and a woman when it comes to criminal domestic violence. Woman who are arrested, even in situations where they have no prior criminal record, face the same stiff penalties that an abusive man would face.

The penalties for criminal domestic violence may include:

  • A fine of over $5,000 for a 1st offense
  • Up to thirty days in jail for a 1st offense
  • Public criminal record
  • Loss of employment or professional licensing
  • Difficulties in family court in any divorce or child custody case

It is important for anyone who has been charged with CDV, or for anyone who is helping a loved one with a charge, to understand that there are many legal strategies that can result in avoiding the criminal conviction. If you are ready to schedule your free initial consultation with our Lexington criminal defense attorney, call us today at 1-888-301-6004.

Don't Go to Court Alone

The first court date written on a blue ticket or assigned in Bond Court for a CDV 1st is a bench trial. At this hearing, there will be a judge on the bench expecting to take a guilty plea or conduct a "summary" style trial –without the defendant having the benefit of pretrial discovery or a jury. Things can move very quickly at these hearings, and unless the defendant has retained a lawyer in advance, no one is allowed to provide her with any legal advice.

By law, the police, court staff, professional CDV prosecutor or judge are not allowed to help a defendant with her defense, or even help her decide how to plead. By retaining an attorney beforehand, a defendant will have access to the appropriate defense strategies that can help avoid a conviction. These include things such as pre-trial discovery, suppression motions, subpoenaed witnesses, and a jury trial. Having a defense provides the best possible chance of a positive outcome.

No Drop Policy Applies

The CDV no drop policy applies equally to women defendants. This policy, as applied by courts and police departments throughout South Carolina, prevents a CDV case from being dismissed out of court. This means that your CDV case will not be dropped simply because the alleged victim asks. The no drop policy does not prevent your case from being resolved in other ways at court, including: being legally dismissed, being referred into pre-trial intervention (PTI), having charges reduced or being found not guilty after a trial. While the no drop policy requires every CDV defendant to take their case and their defense seriously, it does not make any case hopeless.

Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI) and CDV

Many people don't realize it but the pre-trial intervention (PTI) program can be used to resolve a CDV charge. Not every area in South Carolina will allow PTI for a CDV, but in the areas where it is available it can be a good option for many women who have been charged. The areas that don't offer PTI typically do so for political reasons so local politicians can report being tough on domestic violence (without regard to the merits of individual cases). To be referred into PTI will require the consent of the court and the prosecutor, and it is best to have an attorney retained before making the request.

PTI will include 26 weeks of domestic counseling in addition to the general requirements. Once PTI is completed it will result in a dismissal of the charge and an expungement of the arrest record. PTI can be a great way to assist in achieving a fully favorable result for a CDV case without having to go through the stress and uncertainty of a contested trial. We have significant experience in negotiating PTI for women who have been accused.

Children and CDV

Frequently women have complications caused by DSS or family court actions filed after a CDV arrest. How a DSS investigation is responded to can make the difference between it quickly going away, or being a long drawn out process that puts the children at risk of being placed with other family members or even in a foster home. Often times the police will automatically notify DSS anytime they made a CDV arrest with children in the home (even if the children didn't witness anything). Caseworkers then may follow up a few days later with letters, phone calls or surprise visits to the home.

Bond Violations and Modifications

Women who are arrested for CDV are normally placed under the same bond restrictions that the court would impose on a man. This is even if the man indicates that he is not afraid of the woman. These restrictions can prevent a women from returning home, even if her children live there. In extreme cases women and children have been forced to live in a motel or with other family members while a man (who may have been the true abuser) lives in the home or moves another woman in to live with him.

What is the first step?

Contact the Law Office of James R. Snell, Jr., LLC, if you or a loved one is facing a South Carolina criminal domestic violence charge. We offer free initial consultations in our office located in downtown Lexington. You can schedule your appointment by calling us at 1-888-301-6004. When you come to your first appointment, please be sure to bring any paperwork you might have received from the police or the Bond Court. You will be meeting personally with a defense attorney who will be able to answer your questions, give you an honest assessment of your case, and let you know exactly how your case will be handled.

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