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DV 3rd Degree

South Carolina’s Domestic Violence Charge

Have you or a loved one been charged with DV 3rd Degree? You’ve found the right law office for help. We assist our clients in fighting false and unfair allegations in Columbia, Lexington and throughout South Carolina.

DV 3rd degree is a criminal misdemeanor. It is punishable by up to 90 days in jail. Most cases are prosecuted in magistrate or city court, but in some areas these cases are handled in general sessions. The law is contained in S.C. Code § 16-25-20.

Many of our DV 3rd clients have no prior criminal history. They are scared, confused, and unsure of what to do. Most have good jobs and families that they are supporting. Our office is retained by those who are seeking to avoid a conviction for domestic violence, seeking to avoid jail or prison time, and who want the best resolution possible for their case.

How Did This Happen?

South Carolina consistently ranks as one of the top states for the number of women killed or injured by domestic violence. As a result, specialized laws and court procedures have been created to try to maximize the number of arrests and convictions of domestic violence cases.

Although the purpose is to try to help women trapped in violent, abusive relationships, the way the law is actually enforced applies to everyone. This includes men, woman, young and old. DV 3rd is intended to apply to all scenarios involving possible violence (no actual physical contact is required). Police have been trained to always make an arrest whenever possible and cases are prosecuted over the alleged victim’s objections due to the no drop policy. So whenever police are called to an argument, it is likely that someone is going to jail.

False and Unfair Allegations

Every case is different, but after representing hundreds of area residents charged with DV, we have seen a lot of common case types. Probably the most prevalent is when a domestic violence arrest is made on the basis of false or unfair allegations.

Typical is a situation where a couple is having a heated argument. This might be a big fight, the kind that only happens once or twice a year. Alcohol might be involved and there might be some other relationship stressors such as job loss or infidelity.

Someone calls 911 hoping that the police can settle the other person down. When police respond they separate the parties and may talk to only one or both sides. Police have been trained in zero tolerance domestic violence enforcement, so if they find any evidence of unwanted physical contact, attempted unwanted contact, or a threat of unwanted contact, they make an arrest. About one-third of our clients called 911 themselves seeking help, only to find that they were the ones charged.

During the police interview, the side of the argument most angry may, in the heat of the moment, exaggerate or falsify statements. They may be trying their hardest to get the police on their side. In many instances, later on after a cooling off period, they regret what they said and now want to help with the case by having charges dropped. Only once police have made an arrest, they don’t do anything but take the defendant to jail and refer the case to court.

Guilty? But Need a Second Chance?

The other major category of cases we see are those where otherwise law abiding citizens are guilty but want and deserve a second chance. We have developed steps to take in their representation to help maximize the likelihood of a positive outcome, while at the same time remaining respectful of their loved ones and family structure. We frequently recommend counseling or other referrals to those whose cases may benefit. There are possible outcomes, even for those who feel responsible for their arrest, which may include no criminal sentence and no criminal record.

No situation is hopeless. Taking the proper steps to ensure that your interests are represented can not only benefit you, but also make sure that you are able to provide for your family in the years to come.

What Steps to Take

If you have been charged with DV 3rd degree, it is important that you consult with a lawyer before going to court. Everyone charged with domestic violence has important rights that can help them avoid an unnecessary conviction.

A conviction is when you plead guilty, no contest, or are found guilty by the court. With the conviction comes the criminal penalties: a fine and\or jail sentence, loss of firearm rights, and a criminal record that can interfere with any employment screening or other background check.

We are hired by those who are seeking to avoid the conviction. To accomplish that, we file paperwork with the court as soon as we are hired notifying them that we are objecting to a conviction. This will normally automatically cancel the first court date. We then utilize that extra time to obtain information obtained by law enforcement about the case (called discovery). We frequently use a defense investigator (we don’t rely solely on the police to investigate disputed allegations), who can help interview witnesses and locate and secure helpful evidence. We have successfully achieved dismissals, not-guilty verdicts, and favorable resolutions in hundreds of DV cases. While no lawyer can make any promise regarding the outcome of your case, we won’t hesitate to fight it in court if it is not otherwise resolved to your satisfaction.

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