Your spouse got you arrested for domestic violence, and isn’t even seriously hurt. But when the bail judge tells you the charge, your eyes pop out. It’s a General Sessions domestic violence charge, carrying years in prison!


How could this happen? South Carolina’s new domestic violence law, which was passed in 2015, toughened penalties and made it easier to get sacked with more serious charges. Here’s a quick look at how the new law allows domestic violence second and third degree charges to be upgraded, sometimes even when no one was seriously hurt.

Some Factors for Upgrading Domestic Violence Charges

Your second or third degree charge can be upgraded if you commit domestic violence while:

  • Violating a protective order, which can be issued in a range of situations.
  • A child is present. 
  • The complainant is pregnant—or you should have known she was. The “complainant,” commonly referred to as the “victim,” is the recipient of the alleged abuse. We use the term “complainant” because the victim could well be you: these accusations are sometimes just plain false.
  • Committing a robbery, burglary, kidnapping, or theft.
  • Choking the complainant.
  • Blocking the complainant’s access to a communication device to make a police report or seek emergency medical help. 

Don’t Stand Alone

If you are facing a domestic violence charge, the deck is already stacked against you. The complainant may even be licking his or her chops, on the offensive. You need a solid defense. 

An experienced domestic violence defense attorney can help you in a number of ways. For example, your attorney may be able to get you qualified for a process that can get your case dismissed and the charge off your record.

If not, your attorney might point out holes in the complainant’s story to show it’s false so you can win your case at trial. Alternatively, your attorney may be able to give a prosecutor reasons to downgrade the charge for a plea deal you can live with.

Are you ready to get started? Email us now to schedule a free meeting to build your defense against these tough charges. You need someone to stand up for you against an angry victim and a prosecutor who may be dead set on a conviction.


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