South Carolina has a tough and broad statute on criminal domestic violence. Simply put, criminal domestic violence or CDV in South Carolina is defined as causing harm, trying to cause harm or threatening to cause harm to a household member.
There are serious penalties for those convicted of CDV. Being arrested is not the same as being convicted. In order to be convicted of CDV you must either plead guilty, no contest or be found guilty after a trial. Once someone is convicted of CDV it will be up to a Court to determine what penalties are imposed.
Everyone convicted of domestic violence will experience a loss of privileges relating to firearms. It will also create a permanent criminal record, and difficulties in traveling internationally or immigrating to the United States.
For purposes of the CDV sentencing law a prior conviction is one that occurred within the past ten years. Convictions from other states may also count if their CDV law is substantially similar to South Carolina’s.
1st offense CDV is a misdemeanor. The sentence can be up to thirty days in jail, a fine of $5,000 or 26 weeks of domestic abuse counseling.
2nd offense CDV is a misdemeanor. The sentence will be 30 days to up to one year in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
3rdo offense CDV is a felony and is punished by a minimum of one to a maximum of five years imprisonment.
A conviction to Criminal Domestic Violence of a High and Aggravated Nature (CDVHAN) carries a penalty of a minimum of one year to ten years imprisonment. This is even for a first offense.
No matter what the circumstances are surrounding a domestic violence arrest it is important to know that a conviction is not inevitable. In addition to legal or factual defenses there may be circumstances in place which would create an opportunity to reach a negotiated resolution with the prosecution that would avoid all of the penalties discussed herein.