Beaufort Domestic Violence Lawyer
Domestic violence is a unique criminal offense that is defined separately from other forms of assault in the state penal code. Anyone found guilty of causing, attempting, or believably threatening bodily harm to a household member may face substantial consequences. Someone accused of this type of abuse could face criminal court and family court proceedings.
After a family abuse accusation or arrest, you have the option to retain a Schiller & Hamilton criminal defense attorney to protect your rights in court. An experienced Beaufort domestic violence lawyer could serve as a crucial ally through your case, from initial investigations to final sentencing in the event of a conviction.
Different Domestic Abuse Charges in Beaufort
South Carolina Code of Laws §16-25-20 lists distinct degrees of domestic violence offenses. Each offense is differentiated by the amount of harm the defendant actually inflicted or attempted to inflict, or whether the defendant had any prior convictions for the same offense. An eagle-eyed attorney in Beaufort could help someone understand of what degree of family violence they are being accused.
Third Degree Offenses
Someone who causes or threatens physical harm of any kind to a household member has committed family abuse in the third degree. This is a misdemeanor punishable upon conviction by a fine of between $1,000 and $2,500 and a maximum jail sentence of 90 days.
Second Degree Offenses
Second-degree domestic violence entails someone causing or threatening moderate bodily harm to a household member. If someone commits a third-degree crime of this nature with one prior conviction for the same offense, they will be charged with a second-degree crime. Second degree family abuse is a misdemeanor punishable by up to three years in jail and fines between $2,500 and $5,000.
First Degree Offenses
First-degree domestic abuse is a felony that involves someone causing or threatening great bodily harm, or committing any degree of family violence with two or more prior convictions. First-degree family abuse is punishable by a maximum of ten years in prison.
Offenses of High and Aggravated Nature
S.C. Code §16-25-65 defines someone accused of high and aggravated family violence as demonstrating “extreme indifference to… human life.” This could be by committing domestic abuse with a deadly weapon or another aggravating factor present.
Protective Orders Following Family Violence Accusations
Family courts in the state generally issue protection orders in response to a petition following hearings scheduled within 15 days of filing. However, if a court decides that the plaintiff is in immediate danger of physical injury, the court may schedule a hearing for an emergency order within 24 hours.
Once a protection order is in place, any violation of those terms is a criminal offense that could result in more serious penalties than the alleged crime that initially prompted the order. A domestic abuse attorney in Beaufort could play a crucial role in advocating for fair and evidence-based terms during a protection order hearing.
Talk to a Beaufort Domestic Violence Attorney Today
State law enforcement authorities take family violence allegations seriously. Unfortunately, this sometimes means that individuals accused of domestic abuse can have trouble enforcing their rights without the support of experienced legal counsel.
A capable Beaufort domestic violence lawyer could work tirelessly on your behalf to pursue the best possible resolution for your unique circumstances. Call Schiller & Hamilton today for a private meeting.