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What to Do if You’ve Been Accused of Domestic Violence

Being faced with an accusation of domestic violence can make you feel helpless, worried, and afraid—and rightfully so. A domestic violence conviction can have profound consequences on your life, your future, and the lives of your loved ones.
These consequences can include:

  • Being removed from your home for the duration of any outstanding Orders of Protection
  • Suffering a damaged reputation amongst your friends, family, coworkers, and neighbors
  • Losing contact with your children
  • If convicted, jail time, fines, and it goes on your criminal record which can then be seen by future employers, schools, licensing boards, etc.
  • Prevent you from legally obtaining firearms in the future

So what can you do to protect yourself in the face of a potentially life-changing accusation?
Know the Law
Many people assume that the definition of domestic violence is limited to hitting, kicking, or pushing someone in your home.
But the truth is, South Carolina law does NOT require that physical injury occur to constitute domestic violence. Just threatening or attempting to commit an act of violence against a household member is enough to warrant a charge and conviction of domestic violence, or “DV.”  According to South Carolina Code Section 16-25-20, if the accusing party feels reasonably threatened by your words or actions in any way, you could be faced with a domestic violence charge.
It’s important to note that even if the “victim” asks for the domestic violence charge to be dismissed for whatever reason, it doesn’t mean that the charge will actually be dismissed. Once someone is accused of DV, the state prosecutor or solicitor’s office will take over.
Know What to Expect
No one is ever truly prepared to be involved in or accused of a domestic violence altercation. However, remembering a few key guidelines could make the difference between your freedom and incarceration, like:  
Don’t make statements to the police without an attorney present
Oftentimes, people charged with a crime who feel they have done nothing wrong are eager to tell law enforcement “their side” in an attempt to clear their name and go home. Even guilty parties will talk to the police to try and form a good rapport and cooperate. The police may even insinuate that requesting a lawyer implies guilt or that talking to them “now” will get you home sooner. Don’t fall victim to manipulative tactics.
The bottom line is that you should ALWAYS have an experienced criminal defense lawyer present during any conversation you have with law enforcement. As a potential defendant, the only person whose job it is to act in your best interest is your attorney.
Adhere to any and all conditions placed on you after release
You may be released back into the community until your formal court date. Chances are a judge will place restrictions or conditions on you before you are allowed to return to everyday life. These conditions may include things like:

  • Not returning to the family home until the matter has been resolved
  • No contact with your accuser or children
  • Surrendering any weapons or firearms you may own

While it may be hard to adhere to some of these strict conditions, it is in your best interests to do so. Breaking the court’s temporary conditions may result in being sent to jail, facing additional charges, or both.
Contact an experienced domestic violence defense attorney
As with any crime you’ve been accused of, the first and best line of defense is to obtain a criminal defense attorney. An experienced South Carolina criminal defense attorney can analyze your case and negotiate with prosecutors on your behalf to possibly have charges reduced, dismissed, or deferred. If you’ve been accused of domestic violence, call the Greg McCollum Legal Defense Team at (843) 626-5480.  
We’re here to lift some of the burden that comes with facing a criminal charge from your shoulders to ours.

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