Charleston Domestic Violence Attorneys
Providing Defense in Charleston, Summerville, and Throughout South Carolina
Domestic abuse in Charleston, SC, is a serious crime with severe penalties. But just because you've been accused does not mean you're guilty, and you have the right to defend your innocence. To do so effectively, it is essential that you have a criminal defense attorney on your side from the start of your case. Although you have the right to face your accuser without a lawyer, doing so can be very risky, as these are complicated matters. Additionally, the prosecutors will work hard to try to prove that you committed the alleged crime, and they will have extensive experience building these cases.
At Thurmond Kirchner & Timbes, P.A., our Charleston domestic violence defense lawyers can help level the playing field in your case. Our team knows the law, and we have achieved favorable results for past clients*. Recognizing the effects of a domestic violence accusation and conviction, we will invest the necessary time and resources to build and present a compelling defense for you. We are advocates who truly care about the people we help.
We will focus on protecting your best interests and can work toward an optimal outcome on your behalf. Set up your free initial consultation by calling us at (843) 790-0083 or contacting us online today.
What Is 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Degree Domestic Violence in South Carolina?
In general, domestic violence charges arise when a person harms or tries to harm a household member.
The law defines a household member as:
- A spouse,
- A former spouse,
- People who have a child together, or
- People of the opposite sex who live or have lived together
South Carolina Code of Laws § 16-25-20 separates domestic violence into three degrees. The severity of the conduct involved distinguishes the offenses. In this group, first-degree domestic violence is the most serious.
The degrees of domestic violence in South Carolina are as follows:
First-degree occurs when a person:
- Harmed or attempted to harm (with the ability to do so) a household member, and
- He or she caused or could have caused great bodily harm,
- He or she committed second-degree domestic violence while violating a protection order,
- He or she was previously convicted of domestic violence two or more times in the past 10 years,
- He or she used a gun during the offense, or
He or she committed second-degree domestic violence, and
- A minor was present or witnessed the offense;
- He or she knew or had reason to know that the alleged victim was pregnant;
- He or she was committing a robbery, burglary, kidnapping, or theft;
- He or she suffocated the alleged victim; or
- He or she used force to stop another from accessing a phone to contact emergency services
Second-degree occurs when a person:
- Harmed or attempted to harm a household member,
- He or she caused or could have caused moderate bodily injury,
- He or she committed third-degree domestic violence and violated a protection order,
- He or she was convicted once in the past 10 years of domestic violence,
He or she committed third-degree domestic violence under one or more of
the following circumstances:
- A minor was present or observed the offense;
- He or she knew or should have known the alleged victim was pregnant;
- He or she was in the process of committing robbery, burglary, kidnapping, or theft;
- He or she suffocated the alleged victim;
- He or she used force to stop another person from contacting emergency services;
Third-degree occurs when a person:
- Harms a household member, or
- Offers or attempts to harm a household member and he or she can carry out the offense
In addition to the three degrees of domestic violence listed above, South Carolina also has a law concerning more serious offenses against household members involving domestic violence of a high and aggravated nature.
South Carolina Code of Laws § 16-25-65 states that a person commits the crime when:
He or she showed extreme indifference to human life and
- Cause great bodily injury to another, or
- Cause another to fear they are in imminent danger of great bodily injury or death; or
- He or she committed first-degree domestic violence and violated a protection order
The law also provides that a person shows extreme indifference to human life when they commit an offense:
- With a deadly weapon;
- By choking or suffocating another;
- When a minor is present;
- Against a pregnant person;
- While committing a robbery, kidnapping, burglary, or theft; or
- While blocking a person's access to a phone to stop them from contacting emergency services
At Thurmond Kirchner & Timbes, P.A., our Charleston domestic violence attorneys take all such accusations seriously, regardless of the alleged conduct involved. When you turn to us, we'll learn about the events from your perspective and discuss available defenses.
Penalties for Domestic Violence in South Carolina
The potential conviction penalties for a domestic violence conviction are severe. In addition to fines and imprisonment, anyone convicted of domestic violence may lose their gun rights.
The punishments for the different offenses are as follows:
Domestic violence of a high and aggravated nature:
- Up to 20 years in prison
First-degree domestic violence:
- Up to 10 years in prison
Second-degree domestic violence:
- Up to 3 years' imprisonment and/or
- Up to $5,000 in fines
Third-degree domestic violence:
- Up to 90 days' imprisonment and/or
- Up to $2,500 in fines
Our domestic violence lawyers in Charleston are ready to fight your charge.
Experienced Representation for Your Case
At Thurmond Kirchner & Timbes, P.A., we're dedicated to providing outstanding counsel and will skillfully guide you through the judicial process. Our practice has strong leadership that ensures we are focused on developing creative legal strategies for complex matters. We work discretely to protect your reputation as we handle your case.
* The results achieved on behalf of one client in one matter do not necessarily indicate that similar results can be obtained for another client.