If you are a defendant in a domestic violence case in South Carolina, it is essential to understand your rights so that you can get justice. Your lawyer will explain to you that domestic violence allegations can be dropped by the plaintiff and the DA’s office if there is sufficient proof that the allegations cannot be substantiated with physical evidence. However, to prove this, you need a good defense attorney. Domestic violence cases can create a permanent psychological impact on the defendant. So, you must hire a good domestic violence defense attorney near Charleston, SC, so that you are well-represented in court. If you are not well-represented and the prosecutor can prove the act is a felony, you are looking at a jail term. Some of the ways that a domestic violence defense attorney can help you understand your legal rights and options in such a case are discussed below.
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What should you know about South Carolina’s domestic violence defense strategy?
It is essential to understand that the South Carolina laws governing domestic violence are pretty strict. For example, even if the plaintiff wishes to drop the allegations against the defendant, the final decision rests with the DA’s office. If the prosecutor of the case feels that the defendant shows no remorse and shows extreme indifference to human life, he can consider it to be domestic violence of a high and aggravated nature or DVHAN. This carries the maximum sentence, and it can damage your future permanently. Thus, it is essential to develop a strategy that shows you were forced to use violence, and you did this to save yourself or your family member. Some of the defense strategies that are used in domestic violence cases in South Carolina are as follows:
- Act was committed in self-defense
This is one of the best ways of developing a domestic violence case defense strategy. According to an expert domestic violence defense attorney near North Charleston, self-defense cannot be prosecuted under South Carolina law. If you prove that you were forced to use extreme force to protect yourself or a family member, you will be acquitted under South Carolina law. You must understand here that there must be evidence proving that there was no other alternative but to attack the plaintiff. Suppose you can prove that you have been a victim of domestic violence and the plaintiff had attacked you with the intent of causing bodily harm. In that case, the court will no longer consider you to be the perpetrator. Similarly, if you can prove that you had to use force to protect a child, then, too, the case will fall apart. Thus, an act committed in self-defense is the best way to prove that you are the victim of domestic violence and not the perpetrator.
- Unlawful seizure or inadmissible evidence
Proving domestic violence in court requires expertise, and as a layperson, you might not be aware that the police often overstep their authority while collecting evidence to prove domestic violence. As proving it to be a felony is their objective, you might find that they often do their best to protect the victim of domestic violence without trying to protect the constitutional rights of the alleged perpetrator. When you hire a renowned domestic violence defense attorney near Folly Beach, SC, he will evaluate how the police have gathered the evidence. Suppose he finds it unlawful and violates the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition on unreasonable searches and seizures. In that case, it will become an essential point of your defense, and all such evidence will become unacceptable in court.
- Proving false allegations
It is commonly seen that people often file false domestic violence cases against spouses and partners. The primary reason for this is that the DA’s office is bound to take all domestic violence cases seriously, so a preliminary investigation must be carried out by the police. However, with a good domestic violence defense attorney near Isle of Palms, SC proving false allegations becomes easy. In most cases, the person filing the false lawsuit is driven by personal vendetta, or he wants to blackmail you. In such a scenario, you need a defense lawyer to maneuver the case and prove you are the victim. The court does not take kindly to false allegations, and if your lawyer can prove it, not only will you be acquitted, but you can also demand compensation from the plaintiff.
- No offer to do physical harm
In a domestic violence case, it is essential to prove that you intended physical violence to the victim. When building a strategy, your lawyer will ask you to provide details of the incident, and you will find that it is vital to mention whether you harmed the victim physically. If you did not hurt the victim physically, then you can build your case around the notion that you did not mean to hurt the victim physically. Here, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that you had the intention of hurting the victim and that you have no remorse for your act. If it is a one-off incident and the evidence is circumstantial, your lawyer will build a defense strategy around this notion.
Thus, building a strategy to strengthen your case requires a thorough evaluation of the case and knowledge of the South Carolina law regarding domestic violence. In South Carolina, domestic violence is a criminal act, and hence, the law is quite strict. To build a strategy that will strengthen your case, you need a good defense lawyer to represent you in court and ensure you get a chance to tell your side of the story. This is essential to establish justice and get an unbiased hearing in court. Building a strategy would involve considering all evidence and witness statements. You can do this only with the help of an excellent domestic violence defense lawyer.
How to fight domestic violence charges in South Carolina?
If you want to fight domestic violence charges in South Carolina, the first step in the process would be to understand the charges. You can be charged with domestic violence only when you are a spouse or ex-spouse, or have a shared child. Household members can bring domestic violence charges against a perpetrator if they feel that the person physically threatens them. When the police arrive to investigate a domestic violence charge against you, the first thing that you must do is hire a domestic violence defense attorney near Summerville, SC. This is important because the investigation that the police do will be more aligned with helping the DA, and hence, if you want somebody in your corner, you must have a defense attorney to fight your case. Some of the factors to remember when you fight domestic violence charges in South Carolina are as follows:
- Keep calm and discuss your options with the lawyer
In South Carolina, it is essential to get proper representation when you are accused of domestic violence. The primary reason for this is there are different degrees of domestic violence, and false accusations are quite common. Moreover, in South Carolina, you can be arrested even without physical evidence, and this means even when you do not attack your partner, she can accuse you of domestic violence if she feels threatened. However, this must stand in court, and the prosecutor must prove the intent to attack, which can be difficult. A conviction of domestic violence can have a long-lasting effect on your mental health, your relationships, and your ability to become responsible for children. To prevent such a situation, you must discuss your options with your lawyer, develop a suitable strategy, and then fight the case in court.
- Understand the charges
When you fight a domestic violence case, you must understand the nature of the charges. The four types of domestic violence offenses in South Carolina are as follows:
- Domestic violence in the third degree
This is the least severe of the charges and carries a sentence of 90 days in jail. This can happen only when the defendant has threatened to cause physical harm and has not caused any significant bodily harm.
- Domestic violence in the second degree
In South Carolina, this is a misdemeanor offense and carries a sentence of imprisonment for three years or a $5000 fine. Here, the defendant must have caused moderate bodily harm to the plaintiff to be charged with domestic violence in the second degree.
- Domestic violence in the third degree
If the defendant has two or more prior convictions, then he can be charged with domestic violence in the third degree. This conviction can carry a prison sentence of 10 years.
- Domestic violence of a High and Aggravated Nature or DVHAN
This is the most severe domestic violence charge in South Carolina. A defendant is charged with this only if he shows indifference towards human life and no remorse for his crime. This is a felony charge and is punishable by 20 years in prison.
Thus, when fighting a domestic violence case, it is essential to understand the charges to develop a strategy against it. Most of the time, the strategies designed by an expert defense lawyer will be to preserve your good name and freedom. In other words, your best interests will be your lawyer’s priority.
When you fight domestic violence charges, the first thing that you must do is hire a good attorney. This is important so that they are well-represented in court. When you hire a domestic violence defense attorney near James Island, SC, you will find that he will explain the charges and the strategies you must develop to ensure you are acquitted. Most of the time, domestic violence cases are based on false allegations, but you need a lawyer to prove it. The lawyer can only identify errors in the witness statements or establish that the plaintiff wants to vilify the defendant’s good name. So, hiring a lawyer to represent you in court is essential before presenting your case.
Legal rights in South Carolina domestic violence cases
If you are charged with domestic violence, it is essential to understand that you have certain constitutional rights, and these must be upheld throughout the process. When you hire a domestic violence defense attorney near West Ashley, SC, you will find that he will tell you that the police are supposed to read you your Miranda rights. If the police fail to do so, your case cannot be admitted in court, and you must be acquitted.
Another right that you must remember is that you must be a household member if you are to be charged with domestic violence. If the person accusing you of domestic violence does not reside with you or is not the parent of your child, the case will not be admissible in court. A household member means the person must be a spouse or a former spouse, or you must have a shared child.
So, when the authorities come to make the arrest, you can clarify whether you are a member of the accuser’s household. They cannot arrest you if you do not belong to the household. However, it is best to hire an attorney and have him talk to the police and avoid discussing anything with them. The primary reason is that whatever you say to the police can be used against you. Thus, it is best to consult a lawyer first and then give a statement to the police.
If you are looking for the best domestic violence defense attorney near Charleston, SC, you must contact us at Longshore Law Firm, LLC. If you are facing domestic violence charges, the stakes are high, and the situation is critical. Rely on the expertise of Attorney Edward Longshore, who has more than 20 years of experience providing aggressive legal representation.
Call us today at (803) 319-3360 for a free, confidential consultation to discuss your case and legal options.