Judge, law, lawyer and Justice concept with a close-up 3d rendering of a gavel on a wooden desktop with dark red-brown background.

Domestic violence is one of the most serious criminal charges. The negative stigma and financial penalties associated with domestic violence charges can damage your career and destroy relationships with friends and family. If you have been charged with domestic violence, it is very important that you understand the basics of the law and consult with an Attorney Aaron De Bruin. In the state of South Carolina, a new law regarding domestic violence went into effect on June 4, 2015. The main difference between the old law and the new law is that the old law increased penalties based on the number of offenses committed, while the new law increases penalties based on the severity of the incident, making it tougher on first time offenders.

The New Domestic Violence Law

Under the new statute, the victim and accused must be male and female and must either be married, live together, used to live together, or have children in common. In order for a charge of domestic violence to be filed, the accused must either actually physically harm the victim or threaten to harm the victim in such a way that a reasonable person in the victim’s shoes would have feared immediate harm. If the accused is charged under threatening the victim, then they must have had the ability at that moment to harm the victim. If the parties to an incident do not meet these criteria then the charge of domestic violence is not issued. Generally, as in the case of LGBT couples, the incident will be filed as an assault or something similar.

Penalties For Domestic Violence

If all the above requirements are met, then the accused person will likely be charged with a third degree domestic violence charge under the new law. A third degree charge is a misdemeanor offense punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a $2,500 fine. The more serious second degree charge must meet additional criteria. A second degree charge may be issued if the victim:

  • Is unconscious;
  • Is disfigured;
  • Temporarily loses control of limbs;
  • Temporarily loses organ functionality;
  • Requires anesthesia;
  • Has fractured or dislocated bones;
  • Requires multiple medical treatments; or
  • Requires serious medical attention.

Additionally, a second degree charge may be issued under the following conditions:

  • The accused already had a domestic violence charge on their criminal record;
  • The accused violated a court-issued restraining or protective order;
  • If the accused knew or should have known the victim was pregnant;
  • A minor witnessed the incident;
  • The accused trespassed to get to the victim;
  • The accused restricted the victim’s breathing;  or
  • The accused denied the victim access to a communication device.

A second degree charge is also a misdemeanor offense, but is punishable by up to three years in jail and $5,000 fine. A first degree domestic violence offense is even more serious and may be issued if:

  • The accused has two or more domestic violence charges within the past 10 years;
  • The accused caused or could have caused serious injury on the victim’s body; or
  • The accused used a firearm.

Contact An Attorney When Charged With Domestic Violence

Finally, the most serious domestic violence charge is “Domestic Violence of a High and Aggravated Nature.” This charge is a felony and can result in up to 20 years in prison. In these cases, the victim is at serious risk of death or disfigurement or a deadly weapon is used. All of these charges are quite serious and if you are in South Carolina and have been charged with domestic violence you need knowledgeable legal representation. Allow the attorneys at the De Bruin Law Firm to represent you and handle your case in this difficult time.

What will a criminal defense attorney do for my case?

Once I have evaluated your case I will provide you an overview of your case. This will describe among other things the criminal law process, how we will work together to navigate the criminal justice system, and what expectation I have for you as a client and what expectations you should have for me as your defense attorney.

What should my attorney do to prepare my case for trial?

I collect not only the evidence that the government is required to supply, but also gather my own evidence for your defense as well. I will talk to witnesses, look for other video from third party sources, and go to the scene of the alleged offense. I believe your case is far to important not to go the extra mile to insure we know all the facts for your case, to provide you the best possible defense.

What do I need to do to help my attorney defend me?

No one cares more about your case than you. While we prepare your case, we also prepare your for trial. The one thing we need most from you is total honesty. Remember, everything you and I talk about is confidential. I am on your side.

For Drug offense cases, we may require you to look into a rehabilitation facility. I have had client’s charged with drug crimes who unfortunately we suffering from serious addiction and needed help, not jail. When I was able to convince those clients to make the difficult decision and enter a rehabilitation facility it helped create a positive situation that made negotiating their case more favorable. Many criminal cases last over a year. If I can help get a client suffering from an addition on the path to recovery while defending them from their criminal drug charges, their future becomes much more optimistic, and often, so does their case. Changing your life prior to trial or before a plea will greatly decrease your changes of going to jail. We are here to help not only with your legal needs, but also to help you in life. We have seen success stories and want you to be one too.

How much does a criminal defense attorney cost?

Your attorney’s fees will be based on multiple things including but not limited to, the severity of the crime, the evidence against you, prior convictions, and the amount of jail time your are facing if convicted. For criminal defense services I charge my client’s a flat fee on almost all cases at the start of their case. Therefore, you know how much your case will cost on day one.

I also am aware that  many people are unable to afford to pay thousands of dollars upfront. In order to better serve my clients I offer a payment plan option. If you’d like to see if you qualify for our criminal defense payment plan option please contact us by using our form, or call us directly at (864) 372-2896.

Who will handle my case?

How do you know the attorney you hire is the attorney who will represent you during the entire process? I personally guarantee that I will handle every part of your criminal case, you will not be passed of t a junior attorney.

Schedule a Free Consultation Today

If you are arrested for a felony, misdemeanor, DUI, or serious traffic offense in Greenville, SC or the surrounding area, Aaron De Bruin provides aggressive defense of his clients’ rights, freedom, and driving privileges. We have someone available to speak to you 24 hours/7 days per week. Our firm will even arrange in-house financing in certain cases. Call us today at 864-372-2896 to arrange a free no obligation confidential consultation.