The 2015 South Carolina Domestic Violence Act dramatically changed criminal domestic violence (CDV) laws in our state. It created degrees of CDV, naming several factors to justify upgrading charges. Let’s look at one of the most important ones: the extent of injury to the victim.

Always remember the State must prove these injuries beyond a reasonable doubt.

Criminal Domestic Violence, First Degree: “Great Bodily Injury”

To convict you for the most severe domestic violence charge based on the injury caused, the State must prove “great bodily injury” occurred. This means injury causing any of these:

  • Substantial risk of death.
  • Serious, permanent disfigurement.
  • Prolonged loss or impairment of a body part or organ.

Criminal Domestic Violence, Second Degree: “Moderate Bodily Injury”

This charge requires the State to prove “moderate bodily injury.” This could be satisfied by an injury involving:

  • Prolonged loss of consciousness.
  • Temporary or moderate disfigurement.
  • Temporary loss of function of a body part or organ.
  • Regional or general anesthesia.
  • Bone fracture.
  • Joint dislocation.

Moderate bodily injury does not mean one-time treatment and follow-ups for scratches, cuts, abrasions, bruises, burns, splinters, or any other minor injuries that do not ordinarily require extensive medical care.

Serious Charges Need Serious Help From A Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you are facing injury-based domestic violence charges, your back’s already against the wall. You need an experienced criminal defense lawyer who’s not afraid to present your defense—because you might have a winning one. You also need a sharp lawyer who can carefully compare the alleged injury to the legal definitions and possibly raise reasonable doubt you caused the harm required by the charge, leading to your acquittal or a reduced charge.

And what might be even better than that, a skilled defense lawyer might get you in to a program that dismisses the charge and removes it from your criminal record.

If you are wondering how you’ll ever defend yourself against these charges, strike up a live chat with us right where you are sitting so we can arrange a free meeting to discuss your defenses.


Rob Usry
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Rob is a Spartanburg personal injury lawyer. Rob also practices as a workers' compensation attorney.
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