Criminal Defense Violence Charges - 2nd Degree

Get the Information You Need to Protect Your Rights

At the South Carolina CDV Defense practice of The Law Office of James R. Snell, Jr., LLC, in Lexington, we represent clients charged with all levels of criminal domestic violence. We understand that many DV arrests are based on insufficient evidence or mistakes made by law enforcement. Further many times the original allegations are exaggerated and made during a heated argument or are complete false and designed to purposely cause an arrest.

The following is a detailed summary of the South Carolina law for second degree domestic violence. It is important that anyone who is charged with this crime take the time to educate themselves about the law and Court procedure. This will give you the best opportunity at resolving your case in the most favorable way possible. This law not only applies for people charged with DV 2nd Degree in Lexington or Columbia but in all Courts throughout South Carolina.

DV 2nd degree is a serious criminal offense. It is prosecuted by the Solicitor's office in the Court of General Sessions. This means that when you are charged you do not report to a local Magistrate, City, or Traffic Court, but instead must attend felony "roll call" appearances in the county courthouse. This means that you will share your initial court date with those charged with offenses like armed robbery, child molestation, and drug trafficking. Your case will also share the same general court procedures and time-line as other offenses considered "serious" or "violent" by the state.

Criminal Domestic Violence charges are brought by the State - not by the alleged victim. This means that even if the person who called the police, or was allegedly assaulted doesn't want to press charges or have the case dropped the Court will not honor this request. This means that everyone charged with DV should plan on seeing their case through to conclusion - and for DV 2nd degree this generally means a trial, plea bargain, or participation in a domestic violence diversion program.

Those who are unsuccessful with their defense strategy face up to a three year sentence in the South Carolina Department of Corrections.

After defending hundreds of domestic violence cases we have learned that no case is hopeless. Although the government process is slow, inefficient, and cumbersome, in almost all instances it is possible to obtain a fair and just conclusion to these charges.

DV 2nd degree is not the same thing as the old CDV 2nd offense. There is no requirement that you have a prior record of domestic violence in order to be arrested for a second degree charge. In fact there is no requirement that you have any prior record at all, or that the police even believe that you caused any physical injury. DV 2nd degree was created in 2015 by the passage of the South Carolina Domestic Violence Reform Act. The goal of the government in passing this law was to increase the maximum penalty by up to thirty-six times for many first offense cases.

Instead, DV 2nd is based on the same low standard as would support a lesser charge, but with an aggravating factor. The most common aggravating factors are:

  • Children in the same general area as the incident
  • Taking away a cell phone or car keys during an argument
  • An alleged victim who claims to be pregnant (regardless of paternity)
  • Marks on the throat or allegations involving touching the throat

Being arrested does not guarantee someone will be convicted. A conviction only occurs when a defendant either pleads guilty, no contest or is found guilty after a trial. If you have been charged with any domestic violence offense your goal should be to avoid the conviction. Our lawyers will not hesitate to challenge your case in court if that is necessary.

South Carolina's criminal domestic violence state is codified in S.C. Code § 16-25-10, et seq. This law states that you cannot:

  • Cause physical harm or injury to a person's household member; or
  • Offer or attempt to cause physical harm or injury to a person's household member with apparent present ability under circumstances reasonably creating fear of imminent peril.

Our courts have interpreted "physical harm" to mean an unwanted or rude touching - so there is no requirement anyone was actually injured or harmed to have legal "physical harm." There is an additional requirement that the alleged victim be a spouse, former spouse, person with a child in common or someone of the opposite sex that you either now or formally lived with. The fact that the law is written so broadly enables to police to arrest a great number of people, many of whom would not have otherwise violated any South Carolina assault law.

Typically the bond set for a DV 2nd degree is higher than for a lesser offense and the Bond Court will impose a "no contact" order that will prevent a defendant from having contact with the alleged victim. This is regardless of if they are married, live together, run a business or have children together. Hearings to modify the bond restrictions must be heard in General Sessions Court. It is important that defendants honor all instructions given to them in Bond Court to avoid subjecting themselves to an immediate return to jail (that could last months with no possibility of bond).

As a Lexington Domestic Violence Defense Attorney James R. Snell, Jr. represents clients throughout South Carolina with criminal charges include criminal domestic violence. We handle cases in Columbia, Newberry, Orangeburg, Spartanburg, Saluda, Aiken and elsewhere in South Carolina. To schedule a confidential consultation with our office about your case call us at (888) 302-5840.

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