South Carolina has a special law and legal procedures for those arrested or charged with domestic violence. The law is contained in S.C. Code 16-25-10. It makes it illegal to cause physical harm, attempt to cause physical harm or threaten to cause physical harm to a household member. Household member is defined as a current or former spouse, current or former live-in boyfriend or girlfriend or someone you have a child in common with. Physical harm in this context has been found by South Carolina Court’s to include a rude or unwanted touching. Although the law is broadly written, and there is a no drop policy prohibiting cases from being dismissed at the request of the alleged victim there may be factual or legal defenses available in nearly every case.
The most common domestic violence crime in Columbia is 1st offense CDV. This is a misdemeanor and first time offenders may be sentenced to up to thirty days in jail, fined up to $5,200 and ordered to attend 26 weekly domestic abuse classes. The charges become substantially more serious for those arrested for other domestic violence crimes with first time offenders for CDVHAN facing a mandatory minimum of one year in the Department of Corrections.
If you are arrested in Columbia SC for CDV your case will be referred to one of several Courts. The Court will be determined by exactly where the alleged crime occurred as well as the exact charge.
If your arrest was made by the Richland County Sheriff’s Department your case will be initially referred to the Richland County CDV Court at 1400 Huger Street. If your arrest was by the City of Columbia Police Department you will be referred to the City of Columbia Municipal Court at 811 Washington Street. In addition to these Courts there are also city Courts that may hear CDV cases in Forest Acres, Blythewood, Arcadia Lakes and Eastover. If you are charged with second or third offense CDV, or the felony level CDVHAN your case will be referred to Richland County General Sessions.
When someone is arrested for CDV it does not mean that they are automatically going to be convicted by the Court. Someone is convicted if they wither plead guilty, no contest or are found guilty after a trial. There are several options to those who have been arrested for CDV to try to avoid the penalties. To explore these options it is important that someone who has been arrested for CDV consult with an attorney prior to going to Court.