Domestic violence charges in South Carolina can include very serious consequences to those charged. The person accused of criminal domestic violence could face stiff financial penalties, could lose the right to carry a firearm, be evicted from his or her apartment, and even be jailed, losing your most important right: your freedom. Given the potentially severe consequences, it is important to learn more about a Greenville criminal domestic violence charge.
Those accused of domestic violence also have rights in South Carolina, including the right to a trial by jury, the right to challenge witnesses, and the right to testify (or not) at trial. It’s crucial to understand that perpetrators of domestic violence do not need to prove their innocence; the law exists to require prosecutors to prove that the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Those arrested and charged with criminal domestic violence in South Carolina should also understand that they are entitled to be represented by a lawyer at every stage of the process. This is a critical right, as it allows defendants to rely on the years of experience of a seasoned criminal defense attorney. Rather than feel alone in a confusing and often scary criminal justice system, a criminal defense attorney understands the process and can effectively advocate on your behalf, standing in your corner when so many others may be in opposition.
A skilled South Carolina criminal defense lawyer will step in from the very beginning of the criminal process and ensure that your rights are protected. This is done by thoroughly investigating the facts underlying your charges, challenging the prosecution’s version of events, and exploring possible alternatives to a risky criminal trial, such as a negotiated plea deal.
It isn’t uncommon for domestic disturbances to escalate quickly. What began as a small argument may become increasingly loud and hostile and lead to police involvement and even an arrest. Once tempers cool, those involved may have second thoughts about the seriousness of the event, and may even decide to drop any criminal complaint against the perpetrator. In other cases, a victim of domestic violence may be terrified of going forward with a criminal prosecution, fearing this could spark even worse violence. As a result, the victim may ask to drop charges. So what do prosecutors do?
Some police departments and counties in South Carolina handled the issue by implementing what are known as “no drop” policies. A “no drop” policy refers to the inability of victims of criminal domestic violence to drop charges against the perpetrator.
Though these “no drop” policies used to be far more common, today, police departments and prosecutors are mindful that not every domestic violence case deserves to move forward. Prosecutors can and sometimes do dismiss cases if the facts are such that moving ahead is not in the interest of justice.