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Legal Information: South Carolina

Statutes: South Carolina

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Updated: 
March 26, 2018

16-25-20. Acts prohibited; penalties

(A) It is unlawful to:
(1) cause physical harm or injury to a person's own household member; or
(2) offer or attempt to cause physical harm or injury to a person's own household member with apparent present ability under circumstances reasonably creating fear of imminent peril.
(B) Except as otherwise provided in this section, a person commits the offense of domestic violence in the first degree if the person violates the provisions of subsection (A) and:
(1) great bodily injury to the person's own household member results or the act is accomplished by means likely to result in great bodily injury to the person's own household member;
(2) the person violates a protection order and in the process of violating the order commits domestic violence in the second degree;
(3) has two or more prior convictions of domestic violence within ten years of the current offense;
(4) the person uses a firearm in any manner while violating the provisions of subsection (A); or
(5) in the process of committing domestic violence in the second degree one of the following also results:
(a) the offense is committed in the presence of, or while being perceived by a minor;
(b) the offense is committed against a person known, or who reasonably should have been known, by the offender to be pregnant;
(c) the offense is committed during the commission of a robbery, burglary, kidnapping, or theft;
(d) the offense is committed by impeding the victim's breathing or air flow; or
(e) the offense is committed using physical force or the threatened use of force against another to block that person's access to any cell phone, telephone, or electronic communication device with the purpose of preventing, obstructing, or interfering with:
(i) the report of any criminal offense, bodily injury, or property damage to a law enforcement agency; or
(ii) a request for an ambulance or emergency medical assistance to any law enforcement agency or emergency medical provider.
A person who violates this subsection is guilty of a felony and, upon conviction, must be imprisoned for not more than ten years.
Domestic violence in the first degree is a lesser included offense of domestic violence of a high and aggravated nature, as defined in Section 16-25-65.
(C) A person commits the offense of domestic violence in the second degree if the person violates subsection (A) and:
(1) moderate bodily injury to the person's own household member results or the act is accomplished by means likely to result in moderate bodily injury to the person's own household member;
(2) the person violates a protection order and in the process of violating the order commits domestic violence in the third degree;
(3) the person has one prior conviction for domestic violence in the past ten years from the current offense; or
(4) in the process of committing domestic violence in the third degree one of the following also results:
(a) the offense is committed in the presence of, or while being perceived by, a minor;
(b) the offense is committed against a person known, or who reasonably should have been known, by the offender to be pregnant;
(c) the offense is committed during the commission of a robbery, burglary, kidnapping, or theft;
(d) the offense is committed by impeding the victim's breathing or air flow; or
(e) the offense is committed using physical force or the threatened use of force against another to block that person's access to any cell phone, telephone, or electronic communication device with the purpose of preventing, obstructing, or interfering with:
(i) the report of any criminal offense, bodily injury, or property damage to a law enforcement agency; or
(ii) a request for an ambulance or emergency medical assistance to any law enforcement agency or emergency medical provider.
A person who violates this subsection is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined not less than two thousand five hundred dollars nor more than five thousand dollars or imprisoned for not more than three years, or both.
Domestic violence in the second degree is a lesser-included offense of domestic violence in the first degree, as defined in subsection (B), and domestic violence of a high and aggravated nature, as defined in Section 16-25-65.
Assault and battery in the second degree pursuant to Section 16-3-600(D) is a lesser-included offense of domestic violence in the second degree as defined in this subsection.
(D) A person commits the offense of domestic violence in the third degree if the person violates subsection (A).
(1) A person who violates this subsection is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined not less than one thousand dollars nor more than two thousand five hundred dollars or imprisoned not more than ninety days, or both. Notwithstanding the provisions of Sections 22-3-540, 22-3-545, and 22-3-550, an offense pursuant to the provisions of this subsection may be tried in summary court.
(2) Domestic violence in the third degree is a lesser-included offense of domestic violence in the second degree, as defined in subsection (C), domestic violence in the first degree, as defined in subsection (B), and domestic violence of a high and aggravated nature, as defined in Section 16-25-65.
(3) Assault and battery in the third degree pursuant to Section 16-3-600(E) is a lesser-included offense of domestic violence in the third degree as defined in this subsection.
(4) A person who violates this subsection is eligible for pretrial intervention pursuant to Chapter 22, Title 17.
(E) When a person is convicted of a violation of Section 16-25-20(B) or (C) or Section 16-25-65, the circuit court may suspend execution of all or part of the sentence and place the offender on probation, or if a person is convicted of a violation of Section 16-25-20(D), the court may suspend execution of all or part of the sentence, conditioned upon:
(1) the offender's mandatory completion, to the satisfaction of the court, of a domestic violence intervention program designed to treat batterers in accordance with the provisions of subsection (G);
(2) fulfillment of all the obligations arising under court order pursuant to this section and Section 16-25-65;
(3) other reasonable terms and conditions of probation as the court may determine necessary to ensure the protection of the victim; and
(4) making restitution as the court deems appropriate.
(F) In determining whether or not to suspend the imposition or execution of all or part of a sentence as provided in this section, the court must consider the nature and severity of the offense, the number of times the offender has repeated the offense, and the best interests and safety of the victim.
(G) An offender who participates in a domestic violence intervention program pursuant to this section, shall participate in a program offered through a government agency, nonprofit organization, or private provider selected and approved by the Circuit Solicitor with jurisdiction over the offense or the Attorney General if the offense is prosecuted by the Attorney General's Office. If the offender moves to a different circuit after entering a treatment program selected by the Circuit Solicitor, the Circuit Solicitor for the county in which the offender resides shall have the authority to select and approve the batterer's treatment program. The offender shall pay a reasonable fee, if required, for participation in the program but no person may be denied participation due to inability to pay. If the offender suffers from a substance abuse problem or mental health concern, the judge may order, or the program may refer, the offender to supplemental treatment coordinated through the Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services with the local alcohol and drug treatment authorities pursuant to Section 61-12-20 or the Department of Mental Health or Veterans' Hospital, respectively. The offender must pay a reasonable fee for participation in the substance abuse treatment or mental health program, if required, but no person may be denied participation due to inability to pay.
(H) A person who violates the terms and conditions of an order of protection issued in this State pursuant to Chapter 4, Title 20, the “Protection from Domestic Abuse Act”, or a valid protection order related to domestic or family violence issued by a court of another state, tribe, or territory is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be imprisoned not more than thirty days and fined not more than five hundred dollars.
(I) Unless the complaint is voluntarily dismissed or the charge is dropped prior to the scheduled trial date, a person charged with a violation provided in this chapter must appear before a judge for disposition of the case or be tried in the person's absence.