A frequent question submitted by readers of this website is whether or not the CDV no-drop policy means that a defense attorney can't help with the case. The question usually goes on to ask if under this circumstance if it would be a waste to hire an attorney.
First a review of the no-drop policy as it applies to South Carolina CDV cases. When someone is arrested for CDV the charges are brought by the State – not the alleged victim or the one who called for police assistance. Since all CDV charges have been picked up by the State it is not up to the alleged victim to request that the case be prosecuted – that happens automatically.
What the no-drop policy does mean is that unlike many other types of offenses, police or prosecutors are not allowed by policy to voluntarily forgo prosecution and dismiss a charge. If they do anyway, in violation of the no-drop policy, the charge can be picked up by the Attorney General's office who will continue with the case.
The no-drop policy does not prohibit any of the following resolutions to a CDV charge:
- Being found "not guilty" after a trial and having the charge immediately removed from the record. When someone is found "not guilty" there is no fine, no jail time and no counseling.
- Having a Court dismiss the charge through granting of a Directed Verdict motion after the State has failed to produce sufficient evidence of the CDV
- Having the charges reduced, typically to misdemeanor Assault or Public Disorderly Conduct.
- Being referred into Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI) – where upon completion the charge is immediately removed from the record.
What the no-drop policy means for a CDV defendant is that it is even more important that they obtain legal advice regarding the charge and their legal options. An arrest for domestic violence is not the same as a conviction, and there are avenues available that can assist in helping someone avoid the penalties.
At the Law Office of James R. Snell, Jr., LLC, in Lexington, South Carolina, our CDV defense attorneys help clients confront the no-drop policy in working toward an effective resolution of their charge. Whether that is seeking a diversionary program, reduction in charges or trial, we want to secure the best possible outcome for all of our clients. If you or a loved one has been charged with criminal domestic violence please contact our office at 1-888-301-6004 to schedule a free consultation with our office. Initial appointments are set at our office located at 316 South Lake Drive in downtown Lexington - cases are accepted in all counties in South Carolina.