CRIMINAL DOMESTIC VIOLENCE (CDV)


S.C. Ann. Code §§ 16-25-10 thru 16-25-125

In South Carolina, it is unlawful to physically harm or injure a spouse, former spouse, person with whom you have a child with, or a person of the opposite sex who lives with you or had previously lived with you.  Additionally, it is unlawful to threaten or attempt to physically harm one of the above named persons if it appears that the threat or attempt is sincere under the circumstances and it causes the victim to have a reasonable fear of imminent harm. 

Criminal domestic violence is elevated to the level of “high and aggravated” when it involves a deadly weapon or causes serious bodily injury.  Additionally, an assault without physical injury can still be of a high and aggravated nature when the threat or attempt is sincere under the circumstances, and it would cause the victim to a have a reasonable fear of imminent serious bodily injury or death. 

It is important to note that when a law enforcement officer responds to a criminal domestic violence call, he or she may arrest the aggressor without a warrant if it appears that the crime is currently taking place or that it has been freshly committed.  However, if the responding officer witnesses evidence of physical injury caused by a freshly committed domestic violence incident, the officer is required to arrest the aggressor, even without a warrant. 

Below is a brief summary of potential penalties associated with CDV convictions: (*Please take notice, S.C. laws are ever changing. The below penalty’s must be verified).

First Offense*:

A first offense is considered a misdemeanor.  The penalty for a first offense conviction is fine OR imprisonment.  The fine may be suspended by the Court upon the condition that the person charged completes a program designed to treat batterers.

Fine:   $1000 – $2500

Imprisonment:  0 days – 30 days

Second Offense*:

A second offense is considered a misdemeanor.  The penalty for a first offense conviction is fine AND imprisonment.  The fine may be suspended by the Court upon the condition that the person charged completes a program designed to treat batterers.

Fine:   $2500 – $5000

Imprisonment:  30 days – 1 year

Third and Subsequent Offenses*:

A third or subsequent offense is considered a felony.  The penalty for a third or subsequent offense is imprisonment. 

Imprisonment:  1 year – 5 years

CDV High and Aggravated:

A criminal domestic violence offense of a high and aggravated nature is considered a felony.  The penalty for a CDV High and Aggravated offense is imprisonment.

Imprisonment:  1 year – 10 years

* When looking at whether the CDV offense is considered the accused’s first, second or third offense, the Court looks at prior convictions going back for ten years.  This includes convictions in other states with comparable CDV laws.