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Is There a Statute of Limitations on a Domestic Violence Charge in South Carolina?

Domestic violence is defined as any pattern of abusive behavior that is seen between family or household members. An individual can be charged with varying degrees of domestic violence based on the severity of the offense and other factors.

If you have been charged with domestic violence in South Carolina, it is important that you seek legal guidance immediately. In this article, our Greenville domestic violence lawyers will discuss all you need to know about a domestic violence charge.

Domestic Violence in South Carolina

South Carolina Code §16-25-20 defines domestic violence as:

Defining Household Member

In South Carolina, two people are considered household members if they fall under the following criteria:

Domestic Violence Charges and Penalties

Domestic violence charges from most to least severe are:

Domestic Violence of a High and Aggravated Nature (DVHAN)

Domestic Violence in the First Degree

Domestic Violence in the Second Degree

Domestic Violence in the Third Degree

The severity of your charge will depend on your past criminal history and any aggravating circumstances. Domestic violence in the third degree is the base offense, but if you are found in violation of a protection order, used a gun, or choked the victim, you will most likely be charged with a higher-level offense.

What Elements Must a Prosecutor Prove to Convict You?

If you have been arrested following a dispute with a family or household member, a state prosecutor can file criminal charges against you. The state has the burden of proving that you committed the crime in question.

Unlike civil cases, which require a plaintiff to prove that it is more likely than not that a defendant is liable, known as the preponderance of the evidence standard, criminal cases have a higher standard. In a criminal trial, the prosecution must prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The “trier of fact,” either a judge or jury, must agree that based on the facts presented, the only reasonable explanation is that you committed the act.

Statute of Limitations for Domestic Violence Charge

A statute of limitations places a time limit on how long after an incident litigation can begin. For example, South Carolina imposes a three-year statute of limitations for personal injury cases.

However, South Carolina has no statute of limitations for criminal offenses, including domestic violence. If you commit domestic violence, a prosecutor can press charges at any time, even years after the incident. That is why it is important to speak with a domestic violence lawyer if someone accuses you of domestic violence.

Greenville Domestic Violence Defense Lawyers Offering Aggressive Representation

A heated moment between relatives can quickly escalate into a visit from the police. If you are facing domestic violence allegations, there is no time to wait. To speak with one of our Greenville domestic violence lawyers, contact Ryan Beasley Law today by calling (864) 679-7777 or by completing our online contact form.