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
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
- 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.