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Statutes: South Carolina

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Statutes: South Carolina

Updated: 
March 26, 2018

Current through 2018 Act No. 133, subject to technical revisions by the Code Commissioner as authorized by law before official publication. You will find these statutes on the South Carolina Legislature.

Title 16. Crimes & Offenses

Updated: 
March 26, 2018

Chapter 1. Felonies and Misdemeanors; Accessories

Updated: 
March 26, 2018

16-1-20. Penalties for classes of felonies.

Updated: 
March 26, 2018

(A) A person convicted of classified offenses, must be imprisoned as follows:

(1) for a Class A felony, not more than thirty years;

(2) for a Class B felony, not more than twenty-five years;

(3) for a Class C felony, not more than twenty years;

(4) for a Class D felony, not more than fifteen years;

(5) for a Class E felony, not more than ten years;

(6) for a Class F felony, not more than five years;

(7) for a Class A misdemeanor, not more than three years;

(8) for a Class B misdemeanor, not more than two years;

(9) for a Class C misdemeanor, not more than one year.

(B) For all offenders sentenced on or after July 1, 1993, the minimum term of imprisonment required by law does not apply to the offenses listed in Sections 16-1-90 and 16-1-100 unless the offense refers to a mandatory minimum sentence or the offense prohibits suspension of any part of the sentence. Offenses listed in Section 16-1-10(C) and (D) are exempt and minimum terms of imprisonment are applicable. No sentence of imprisonment precludes the timely execution of a death sentence.

(C) This chapter does not apply to the minimum sentences established for fines or community service.

16-1-60. Violent crimes defined.

Updated: 
March 26, 2018

For purposes of definition under South Carolina law, a violent crime includes the offenses of: murder (Section 16-3-10); attempted murder (Section 16-3-29); assault and battery by mob, first degree, resulting in death (Section 16-3-210(B)), criminal sexual conduct in the first and second degree (Sections 16-3-652 and 16-3-653); criminal sexual conduct with minors, first, second, and third degree (Section 16-3-655); assault with intent to commit criminal sexual conduct, first and second degree (Section 16-3-656); assault and battery with intent to kill (Section 16-3-620); assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature (Section 16-3-600(B)); kidnapping (Section 16-3-910); trafficking in persons (Section 16-3-2020); voluntary manslaughter (Section 16-3-50); armed robbery (Section 16-11-330(A)); attempted armed robbery (Section 16-11-330(B)); carjacking (Section 16-3-1075); drug trafficking as defined in Section 44-53-370(e) or trafficking cocaine base as defined in Section 44-53-375(C); manufacturing or trafficking methamphetamine as defined in Section 44-53-375; arson in the first degree (Section 16-11-110(A)); arson in the second degree (Section 16-11-110(B)); burglary in the first degree (Section 16-11-311); burglary in the second degree (Section 16-11-312(B)); engaging a child for a sexual performance (Section 16-3-810); homicide by child abuse (Section 16-3-85(A)(1)); aiding and abetting homicide by child abuse (Section 16-3-85(A)(2)); inflicting great bodily injury upon a child (Section 16-3-95(A)); allowing great bodily injury to be inflicted upon a child (Section 16-3-95(B)); domestic violence of a high and aggravated nature (Section 16-25-65); domestic violence in the first degree (Section 16-25-20(B)); abuse or neglect of a vulnerable adult resulting in death (Section 43-35-85(F)); abuse or neglect of a vulnerable adult resulting in great bodily injury (Section 43-35-85(E)); taking of a hostage by an inmate (Section 24-13-450); detonating a destructive device upon the capitol grounds resulting in death with malice (Section 10-11-325(B)(1)); spousal sexual battery (Section 16-3-615); producing, directing, or promoting sexual performance by a child (Section 16-3-820); sexual exploitation of a minor first degree (Section 16-15-395); sexual exploitation of a minor second degree (Section 16-15-405); promoting prostitution of a minor (Section 16-15-415); participating in prostitution of a minor (Section 16-15-425); aggravated voyeurism (Section 16-17-470(C)); detonating a destructive device resulting in death with malice (Section 16-23-720(A)(1)); detonating a destructive device resulting in death without malice (Section 16-23-720(A)(2)); boating under the influence resulting in death (Section 50-21-113(A)(2)); vessel operator's failure to render assistance resulting in death (Section 50-21-130(A)(3)); damaging an airport facility or removing equipment resulting in death (Section 55-1-30(3)); failure to stop when signaled by a law enforcement vehicle resulting in death (Section 56-5-750(C)(2)); interference with traffic-control devices, railroad signs, or signals resulting in death (Section 56-5-1030(B)(3)); hit and run resulting in death (Section 56-5-1210(A)(3)); felony driving under the influence or felony driving with an unlawful alcohol concentration resulting in death (Section 56-5-2945(A)(2)); putting destructive or injurious materials on a highway resulting in death (Section 57-7-20(D)); obstruction of a railroad resulting in death (Section 58-17-4090); accessory before the fact to commit any of the above offenses (Section 16-1-40); and attempt to commit any of the above offenses (Section 16-1-80). Only those offenses specifically enumerated in this section are considered violent offenses.

Chapter 3. Offenses against the Person

Updated: 
March 26, 2018

Article 17. Harassment and Stalking

Updated: 
March 26, 2018

16-3-1700. Definitions.

Updated: 
March 26, 2018

As used in this article:

(A) “Harassment in the first degree” means a pattern of intentional, substantial, and unreasonable intrusion into the private life of a targeted person that serves no legitimate purpose and causes the person and would cause a reasonable person in his position to suffer mental or emotional distress. Harassment in the first degree may include, but is not limited to:

(1) following the targeted person as he moves from location to location;

(2) visual or physical contact that is initiated, maintained, or repeated after a person has been provided oral or written notice that the contact is unwanted or after the victim has filed an incident report with a law enforcement agency;

(3) surveillance of or the maintenance of a presence near the targeted person's:

(a) residence;

(b) place of work;

(c) school; or

(d) another place regularly occupied or visited by the targeted person; and

(4) vandalism and property damage.

(B) “Harassment in the second degree” means a pattern of intentional, substantial, and unreasonable intrusion into the private life of a targeted person that serves no legitimate purpose and causes the person and would cause a reasonable person in his position to suffer mental or emotional distress. Harassment in the second degree may include, but is not limited to, verbal, written, or electronic contact that is initiated, maintained, or repeated.

(C) “Stalking” means a pattern of words, whether verbal, written, or electronic, or a pattern of conduct that serves no legitimate purpose and is intended to cause and does cause a targeted person and would cause a reasonable person in the targeted person's position to fear:

(1) death of the person or a member of his family;

(2) assault upon the person or a member of his family;

(3) bodily injury to the person or a member of his family;

(4) criminal sexual contact on the person or a member of his family;

(5) kidnapping of the person or a member of his family; or

(6) damage to the property of the person or a member of his family.

(D) “Pattern” means two or more acts occurring over a period of time, however short, evidencing a continuity of purpose.

(E) “Family” means a spouse, child, parent, sibling, or a person who regularly resides in the same household as the targeted person.

(F) “Electronic contact” means any transfer of signs, signals, writings, images, sounds, data, intelligence, or information of any nature transmitted in whole or in part by any device, system, or mechanism including, but not limited to, a wire, radio, computer, electromagnetic, photoelectric, or photo-optical system.

(G) This section does not apply to words or conduct protected by the Constitution of this State or the United States, a law enforcement officer or a process server performing official duties, or a licensed private investigator performing services or an investigation as described in detail in a contract signed by the client and the private investigator pursuant to Section 40-18-70.

(H) A person who commits the offense of harassment in any degree or stalking, as defined in this section, while subject to the terms of a restraining order issued by the family court may be charged with a violation of this article and, upon conviction, may be sentenced pursuant to the provisions of Section 16-3-1710, 16-3-1720, or 16-3-1730.

16-3-1705. Electronic mail service provider; immunity; definition.

Updated: 
March 26, 2018

(A) An electronic mail service provider must not be charged with or have a penalty assessed based upon a violation of this article or have a cause of action filed against it based on the electronic mail service provider's:

(1) being an intermediary between the sender and recipient in the transmission of an electronic contact that violates this article; or

(2) providing transmission of an electronic contact over the provider's computer network or facilities that violates this article.

(B) For purposes of this article, "electronic mail service provider" means a person or entity which:

(1) is an intermediary in sending or receiving electronic mail; and

(2) provides to users of electronic mail services the ability to send or receive electronic mail.

16-3-1710. Penalties for conviction of harassment in the second degree.

Updated: 
March 26, 2018

(A) Except as provided in subsection (B), a person who engages in harassment in the second degree is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined not more than two hundred dollars, imprisoned not more than thirty days, or both.

(B) A person convicted of harassment in the second degree is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined not more than one thousand dollars, imprisoned not more than one year, or both if:

(1) the person has a prior conviction of harassment or stalking within the preceding ten years; or

(2) at the time of the harassment an injunction or restraining order, including a restraining order issued by the family court, was in effect prohibiting the harassment.

(C) In addition to the penalties provided in this section, a person convicted of harassment in the second degree who received licensing or registration information pursuant to Article 4 of Chapter 3 of Title 56 and used the information in furtherance of the commission of the offense under this section must be fined two hundred dollars or imprisoned thirty days, or both.

16-3-1730. Penalties for conviction of stalking.

Updated: 
March 26, 2018

(A) A person who engages in stalking is guilty of a felony and, upon conviction, must be fined not more than five thousand dollars, imprisoned not more than five years, or both.

(B) A person who engages in stalking when an injunction or restraining order, including a restraining order issued by the family court, is in effect prohibiting this conduct is guilty of a felony and, upon conviction, must be fined not more than seven thousand dollars, imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.

(C) A person who engages in stalking and who has a prior conviction of harassment or stalking within the preceding ten years is guilty of a felony and, upon conviction, must be fined not more than ten thousand dollars, imprisoned not more than fifteen years, or both.

(D) In addition to the penalties provided in this section, a person convicted of stalking who received licensing or registration information pursuant to Article 4, Chapter 3 of Title 56 and used the information in furtherance of the commission of the offense pursuant to this section must be fined one thousand dollars or imprisoned one year, or both.

16-3-1720. Penalties for conviction of harassment in the first degree.

Updated: 
March 26, 2018

(A) Except as provided in subsections (B) and (C), a person who engages in harassment in the first degree is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined not more than one thousand dollars, imprisoned not more than three years, or both.

(B) A person who engages in harassment in the first degree when an injunction or restraining order, including a restraining order issued by the family court, is in effect prohibiting this conduct is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined not more than two thousand dollars, imprisoned not more than three years, or both.

(C) A person who engages in harassment in the first degree and who has a prior conviction of harassment or stalking within the preceding ten years is guilty of a felony and, upon conviction, must be fined not more than five thousand dollars, imprisoned not more than five years, or both.

(D) In addition to the penalties provided in this section, a person convicted of harassment in the first degree who received licensing or registration information pursuant to Article 4 of Chapter 3 of Title 56 and used the information in furtherance of the commission of the offense under this section must be fined one thousand dollars or imprisoned one year, or both.

16-3-1735. Law enforcement officer empowered to sign warrant in place of victim.

Updated: 
March 26, 2018

A law enforcement officer or another person with knowledge of the circumstances may sign a warrant in place of the victim for a person alleged to have committed a harassment or stalking offense as provided in Section 16-3-1710, 16-3-1720, or 16-3-1730.

16-3-1740. Mental health evaluations of persons convicted of stalking or harassment; notice to victim in person of unsupervised release.

Updated: 
March 26, 2018

(A) Before sentencing a person convicted of stalking or harassment in the first or second degree, the court may require the person to undergo a mental health evaluation. If the court determines from the results of the evaluation that the person needs mental health treatment or counseling, the court shall require him to undergo mental health treatment or counseling by a court-approved mental health professional, mental health facility, or facility operated by the State Department of Mental Health as a part of his sentence.

(B) When the court orders a mental health evaluation, the evaluation may not take place until the facility conducting the evaluation has received all of the documentation including, but not limited to, warrants, incident reports, and NCIC reports associated with the charges.

(C) If the evaluation results in the unsupervised release of the person, the victim must be notified prior to the person's release. All reasonable efforts must be made to notify the victim personally to assure the notice is received.

16-3-1750. Action seeking a restraining order against a person engaged in harassment or stalking; jurisdiction and venue; forms; enforceability.

Updated: 
March 26, 2018

(A) Pursuant to this article, the magistrates court has jurisdiction over an action seeking a restraining order against a person engaged in harassment in the first or second degree or stalking.

(B) An action for a restraining order must be filed in the county in which:

(1) the defendant resides when the action commences;

(2) the harassment in the first or second degree or stalking occurred; or

(3) the plaintiff resides if the defendant is a nonresident of the State or cannot be found.

(C) A complaint and motion for a restraining order may be filed by any person. The complaint must:

(1) allege that the defendant is engaged in harassment in the first or second degree or stalking and must state the time, place, and manner of the acts complained of, and other facts and circumstances upon which relief is sought;

(2) be verified; and

(3) inform the defendant of his right to retain counsel to represent him at the hearing on the complaint.

(D) The magistrates court must provide forms to facilitate the preparation and filing of a complaint and motion for a restraining order by a plaintiff not represented by counsel. The court must not charge a fee for filing a complaint and motion for a restraining order against a person engaged in harassment or stalking. However, the court shall assess a filing fee against the nonprevailing party in an action for a restraining order. The court may hold a person in contempt of court for failure to pay this filing fee.

(E) A restraining order remains in effect for a fixed period of time of not less than one year, as determined by the court on a case-by-case basis.

(F) Notwithstanding another provision of law, a restraining order or a temporary restraining order issued pursuant to this article is enforceable throughout this State.

16-3-1760. When temporary restraining orders may be granted without notice; notice and hearing on motion seeking restraining order.

Updated: 
March 26, 2018

(A) Within twenty-four hours after the filing of a complaint and motion seeking a restraining order pursuant to Section 16-3-1750, the court, for good cause shown, may hold an emergency hearing and, if the plaintiff proves his allegation by a preponderance of the evidence, may issue a temporary restraining order without giving the defendant notice of the motion for the order. A prima facie showing of present danger of bodily injury, verified by supporting affidavits, constitutes good cause.

(B) A temporary restraining order granted without notice must be served upon the defendant together with a copy of the complaint and a Rule to Show Cause why the order should not be extended for the full one-year period. The Rule to Show Cause must provide the date and time of the hearing for the Rule to Show Cause. The defendant must be served within five days before the hearing in the same manner required for service as provided in the South Carolina Rules of Civil Procedure.

(C) In cases not provided in subsection (A), the court shall cause a copy of the complaint and motion to be served upon the defendant at least five days before the hearing in the same manner required for service as provided in the South Carolina Rules of Civil Procedure.

(D) The court shall hold a hearing on a motion for a restraining order within fifteen days of the filing of a complaint and motion, but not sooner than five days after service has been perfected upon the defendant.

(E) Upon motion of a party, the court may determine that a temporary restraining order was improperly issued due to unknown facts. The court may order the temporary restraining order vacated and all records of the improperly issued restraining order destroyed.

16-3-1770. Form and content of temporary restraining order.

Updated: 
March 26, 2018

(A) A temporary restraining order granted without notice must be endorsed with the date and hour of issuance and entered of record with the magistrates court.

(B) The terms of the restraining order must protect the plaintiff and may include temporarily enjoining the defendant from:

(1) abusing, threatening to abuse, or molesting the plaintiff or members of the plaintiff's family;

(2) entering or attempting to enter the plaintiff's place of residence, employment, education, or other location; and

(3) communicating or attempting to communicate with the plaintiff in a way that would violate the provisions of this article.

(C) A restraining order issued pursuant to this article conspicuously must bear the following language:

(1) “Violation of this order is a criminal offense punishable by thirty days in jail, a fine of five hundred dollars, or both.”; and

(2) “Pursuant to Section 16-25-125, it is unlawful for a person who has been charged with or convicted of criminal domestic violence or criminal domestic violence of a high and aggravated nature, who is subject to an order of protection, or who is subject to a restraining order, to enter or remain upon the grounds or structure of a domestic violence shelter in which the person's household member resides or the domestic violence shelter's administrative offices. A person who violates this provision is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined not more than three thousand dollars or imprisoned for not more than three years, or both. If the person is in possession of a dangerous weapon at the time of the violation, the person is guilty of a felony and, upon conviction, must be fined not more than five thousand dollars or imprisoned for not more than five years, or both.”.

(D) A restraining order issued by a court may not contain the social security number of a party to the order and must contain as little identifying information as is necessary of the party it seeks to protect.

16-3-1780. Expiration of temporary restraining orders and restraining orders; extensions and modifications.

Updated: 
March 26, 2018

(A) A temporary restraining order remains in effect until the hearing on the Rule to Show Cause why the order should not be extended for the full one-year period. The temporary restraining order must be for a fixed period in accordance with subsection (B) if the court finds the defendant in default at the hearing.

(B) In cases not provided for in subsection (A), a restraining order must be for a fixed period not to exceed one year but may be extended by court order on a motion by the plaintiff, showing good cause, with notice to the defendant. The defendant is entitled to a hearing on the extension of an order issued pursuant to this subsection within thirty days of the date upon which the order will expire.

(C) Notwithstanding subsection (B), the provisions included in a restraining order granting relief pursuant to Section 16-3-1770 dissolve one year following the issuance of the order unless, prior to the expiration of this period, the court has charged the defendant with the crime of harassment in the first or second degree or stalking and has scheduled a date for trial on the charge. If the trial has been scheduled, relief granted pursuant to Section 16-3-1770 remains in effect beyond the one-year period only until the conclusion of the trial.

(D) The court may modify the terms of an order issued pursuant to this section.

16-3-1790. Service of certified copies of restraining orders.

Updated: 
March 26, 2018

A magistrates court shall serve the defendant with a certified copy of an order issued pursuant to this article and provide a copy to the plaintiff and to the local law enforcement agencies having jurisdiction over the area where the plaintiff resides. Service must be made without charge to the plaintiff.

16-3-1800. Arrest upon violation of restraining order.

Updated: 
March 26, 2018

Law enforcement officers shall arrest a defendant who is acting in violation of a restraining order after service and notice of the order is provided. An arrest warrant is not required.

16-3-1810. Law enforcement officer's responsibilities when responding to a harassment or stalking incident.

Updated: 
March 26, 2018

(A) The primary responsibility of a law enforcement officer when responding to a harassment in the first or second degree or stalking incident is to enforce the law and protect the complainant.

(B) The law enforcement officer shall notify the complainant of the right to initiate criminal proceedings and to seek a restraining order.

16-3-1820. Immunity from liability for filing a report or complaint or participating in a judicial proceeding concerning alleged harassment or stalking; rebuttable presumption of good faith.

Updated: 
March 26, 2018

A person who reports an alleged harassment in the first or second degree or stalking, files a criminal complaint, files a complaint for a restraining order, or who participates in a judicial proceeding pursuant to this article and who is acting in good faith is immune from criminal and civil liability that might otherwise result from these actions. A rebuttable presumption exists that the person was acting in good faith.

16-3-1830. Availability of other civil and criminal remedies.

Updated: 
March 26, 2018

A proceeding commenced pursuant to this article is in addition to other civil and criminal remedies.

16-3-1840. Mental health evaluation as condition of bail.

Updated: 
March 26, 2018

Prior to setting bail, a magistrate or a municipal judge may order a defendant charged with harassment in the first or second degree or stalking pursuant to this article to undergo a mental health evaluation performed by the local mental health department. The purpose of this evaluation is to determine if the defendant needs mental health treatment or counseling as a condition of bond. The evaluation must be scheduled within ten days of the order's issuance. Once the evaluation is completed, the examiner must, within forty-eight hours, issue a report to the local solicitor's office, summary court judge, or other law enforcement agency. Upon receipt of the report, the solicitor, summary court judge, or other law enforcement agency must arrange for a bond hearing before a circuit court judge or summary court judge.

Article 7. Assault and Criminal Sexual Conduct

16-3-600. Assault and battery; definitions; degrees of offenses

(A) For purposes of this section:
(1) “Great bodily injury” means bodily injury which causes a substantial risk of death or which causes serious, permanent disfigurement or protracted loss or impairment of the function of a bodily member or organ.
(2) “Moderate bodily injury” means physical injury that involves prolonged loss of consciousness, or that causes temporary or moderate disfigurement or temporary loss of the function of a bodily member or organ, or injury that requires medical treatment when the treatment requires the use of regional or general anesthesia or injury that results in a fracture or dislocation. Moderate bodily injury does not include one-time treatment and subsequent observation of scratches, cuts, abrasions, bruises, burns, splinters, or any other minor injuries that do not ordinarily require extensive medical care.
(3) “Private parts” means the genital area or buttocks of a male or female or the breasts of a female.
(B)(1) A person commits the offense of assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature if the person unlawfully injures another person, and:
(a) great bodily injury to another person results; or
(b) the act is accomplished by means likely to produce death or great bodily injury.
(2) A person who violates this subsection is guilty of a felony, and, upon conviction, must be imprisoned for not more than twenty years.
(3) Assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature is a lesser-included offense of attempted murder, as defined in Section 16-3-29.
(C)(1) A person commits the offense of assault and battery in the first degree if the person unlawfully:
(a) injures another person, and the act:
(i) involves nonconsensual touching of the private parts of a person, either under or above clothing, with lewd and lascivious intent; or
(ii) occurred during the commission of a robbery, burglary, kidnapping, or theft; or
(b) offers or attempts to injure another person with the present ability to do so, and the act:
(i) is accomplished by means likely to produce death or great bodily injury; or
(ii) occurred during the commission of a robbery, burglary, kidnapping, or theft.
(2) A person who violates this subsection is guilty of a felony, and, upon conviction, must be imprisoned for not more than ten years.
(3) Assault and battery in the first degree is a lesser-included offense of assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature, as defined in subsection (B)(1), and attempted murder, as defined in Section 16-3-29.
(D)(1) A person commits the offense of assault and battery in the second degree if the person unlawfully injures another person, or offers or attempts to injure another person with the present ability to do so, and:
(a) moderate bodily injury to another person results or moderate bodily injury to another person could have resulted; or
(b) the act involves the nonconsensual touching of the private parts of a person, either under or above clothing.
(2) A person who violates this subsection is guilty of a misdemeanor, and, upon conviction, must be fined not more than two thousand five hundred dollars, or imprisoned for not more than three years, or both.
(3) Assault and battery in the second degree is a lesser-included offense of assault and battery in the first degree, as defined in subsection (C)(1), assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature, as defined in subsection (B)(1), and attempted murder, as defined in Section 16-3-29.
(E)(1) A person commits the offense of assault and battery in the third degree if the person unlawfully injures another person, or offers or attempts to injure another person with the present ability to do so.
(2) A person who violates this subsection is guilty of a misdemeanor, and, upon conviction, must be fined not more than five hundred dollars, or imprisoned for not more than thirty days, or both.
(3) Assault and battery in the third degree is a lesser-included offense of assault and battery in the second degree, as defined in subsection (D)(1), assault and battery in the first degree, as defined in subsection (C)(1), assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature, as defined in subsection (B)(1), and attempted murder, as defined in Section 16-3-29.

16-3-615. Spousal sexual battery

(A) Sexual battery, as defined in Section 16-3-651(h), when accomplished through use of aggravated force, defined as the use or the threat of use of a weapon or the use or threat of use of physical force or physical violence of a high and aggravated nature, by one spouse against the other spouse if they are living together, constitutes the felony of spousal sexual battery and, upon conviction, a person must be imprisoned not more than ten years.
(B) The offending spouse's conduct must be reported to appropriate law enforcement authorities within thirty days in order for that spouse to be prosecuted for this offense.
(C) The provisions of Section 16-3-659.1 apply to any trial brought under this section.
(D) This section is not applicable to a purported marriage entered into by a male under the age of sixteen or a female under the age of fourteen.

16-3-652. Criminal sexual conduct in the first degree

(1) A person is guilty of criminal sexual conduct in the first degree if the actor engages in sexual battery with the victim and if any one or more of the following circumstances are proven:
(a) The actor uses aggravated force to accomplish sexual battery.
(b) The victim submits to sexual battery by the actor under circumstances where the victim is also the victim of forcible confinement, kidnapping, trafficking in persons, robbery, extortion, burglary, housebreaking, or any other similar offense or act.
(c) The actor causes the victim, without the victim's consent, to become mentally incapacitated or physically helpless by administering, distributing, dispensing, delivering, or causing to be administered, distributed, dispensed, or delivered a controlled substance, a controlled substance analogue, or any intoxicating substance.
(2) Criminal sexual conduct in the first degree is a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than thirty years, according to the discretion of the court.

16-3-653. Criminal sexual conduct in the second degree

(1) A person is guilty of criminal sexual conduct in the second degree if the actor uses aggravated coercion to accomplish sexual battery.
(2) Criminal sexual conduct in the second degree is a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than twenty years according to the discretion of the court.

16-3-654. Criminal sexual conduct in the third degree

(1) A person is guilty of criminal sexual conduct in the third degree if the actor engages in sexual battery with the victim and if any one or more of the following circumstances are proven:
(a) The actor uses force or coercion to accomplish the sexual battery in the absence of aggravating circumstances.
(b) The actor knows or has reason to know that the victim is mentally defective, mentally incapacitated, or physically helpless and aggravated force or aggravated coercion was not used to accomplish sexual battery.
(2) Criminal sexual conduct in the third degree is a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than ten years, according to the discretion of the court.

16-3-658. Criminal sexual conduct; when victim is spouse

A person cannot be guilty of criminal sexual conduct under Sections 16-3-651 through 16-3-659.1 if the victim is the legal spouse unless the couple is living apart and the offending spouse's conduct constitutes criminal sexual conduct in the first degree or second degree as defined by Sections 16-3-652 and 16-3-653.
The offending spouse's conduct must be reported to appropriate law enforcement authorities within thirty days in order for a person to be prosecuted for these offenses.
This section is not applicable to a purported marriage entered into by a male under the age of sixteen or a female under the age of fourteen.

Chapter 13. Forgery, Larceny, Embezzlement, False Pretenses and Cheats

Updated: 
March 26, 2018

Article 2. Personal Financial Security Act

Updated: 
March 26, 2018

16-13-510 Financial identity fraud or identity fraud; penalty

Updated: 
March 26, 2018

(A) It is unlawful for a person to commit the offense of financial identity fraud or identity fraud.

(B) A person is guilty of financial identity fraud when the person, without the authorization or permission of another individual, and with the intent of unlawfully:

(1) appropriating the financial resources of the other individual to the person’s own use or the use of a third party;

(2) devising a scheme or artifice to defraud; or

(3) obtaining money, property, or services by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises obtains or records identifying information which would assist in accessing the financial records of the other individual or accesses or attempts to access the financial resources of the other individual through the use of identifying information as defined in subsection (D).

(C) A person is guilty of identity fraud when the person uses identifying information, as defined in subsection (D), of another individual for the purpose of obtaining employment or avoiding identification by a law enforcement officer, criminal justice agency, or another governmental agency, including, but not limited to, law enforcement, detention, and correctional agencies or facilities.

(D) “Personal identifying information” includes, but is not limited to:

(1) social security numbers;

(2) driver’s license numbers or state identification card numbers issued instead of a driver’s license;

(3) checking account numbers;

(4) savings account numbers;

(5) credit card numbers;

(6) debit card numbers;

(7) personal identification (PIN) numbers;

(8) electronic identification numbers;

(9) digital signatures;

(10) dates of birth;

(11) current or former names, including first and last names, middle and last names, or first, middle, and last names, but only when the names are used in combination with, and linked to, other identifying information provided in this section;

(12) current or former addresses, but only when the addresses are used in combination with, and linked to, other identifying information provided in this section; or

(13) other numbers, passwords, or information which may be used to access a person’s financial resources, numbers, or information issued by a governmental or regulatory entity that uniquely will identify an individual or an individual’s financial resources.

(E) “Financial resources” includes:

(1) existing money and financial wealth contained in a checking account, savings account, line of credit, or otherwise;

(2) a pension plan, retirement fund, annuity, or other fund which makes payments monthly or periodically to the recipient; and

(3) the establishment of a line of credit or an amount of debt whether by loan, credit card, or otherwise for the purpose of obtaining goods, services, or money.

(F) A person who violates this section is guilty of a felony, and, upon conviction, must be fined in the discretion of the court or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both. The court may order restitution to the victim pursuant to the provisions of Section 17-25-322.

(G) Venue for the prosecution of offenses pursuant to this section is in the county in which:

(1) the victim resided at the time the information was obtained or used; or

(2) the information is obtained or used.

(H) In a prosecution for a violation of this section, the State is not required to establish and it is not a defense that some of the acts constituting the crime did not occur in this State or within one city, county, or local jurisdiction.

Chapter 17. Offenses Against Public Policy

Updated: 
March 26, 2018

Article 7. Miscellaneous Offenses

Updated: 
March 26, 2018

16-17-495. Custodial interference.

Updated: 
March 26, 2018

(A)(1) When a court of competent jurisdiction in this State or another state has awarded custody of a child under the age of sixteen years or when custody of a child under the age of sixteen years is established pursuant to Section 63-17-20(B), it is unlawful for a person with the intent to violate the court order or Section 63-17-20(B) to take or transport, or cause to be taken or transported, the child from the legal custodian for the purpose of concealing the child, or circumventing or avoiding the custody order or statute.

(2) When a pleading has been filed and served seeking a determination of custody of a child under the age of sixteen, it is unlawful for a person with the intent to circumvent or avoid the custody proceeding to take or transport, or cause to be taken or transported, the child for the purpose of concealing the child, or circumventing or avoiding the custody proceeding. It is permissible to infer that a person keeping a child outside the limits of this State for more than seventy-two hours without notice to a legal custodian intended to violate this subsection.

(B) A person who violates subsection (A)(1) or (2) is guilty of a felony and, upon conviction, must be fined in the discretion of the court or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.

(C) If a person who violates subsection (A)(1) or (2) returns the child to the legal custodian or to the jurisdiction of the court in which the custody petition was filed within three days of the violation, the person is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined in the discretion of the court or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.

(D) Notwithstanding the provisions of this section, if the taking or transporting of a child in violation of subsections (A)(1) or (2), is by physical force or the threat of physical force, the person is guilty of a felony and, upon conviction, must be fined in the discretion of the court or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.

(E) A person who violates the provisions of this section may be required by the court to pay necessary travel and other reasonable expenses including, but not limited to, attorney's fees incurred by the party entitled to the custody or by a witness or law enforcement.

Chapter 23. Offenses Involving Weapons

Updated: 
March 26, 2018

Article 1. Handguns

Updated: 
March 26, 2018

16-23-10. Definitions.

Updated: 
March 26, 2018

When used in this article:

(1) “Handgun” means any firearm designed to expel a projectile and designed to be fired from the hand, but shall not include any firearm generally recognized or classified as an antique, curiosity, or collector's item, or any that does not fire fixed cartridges.

(2) “Dealer” means any person engaged in the business of selling firearms at retail or any person who is a pawnbroker.

(3) “Crime of violence” means murder, manslaughter (except negligent manslaughter arising out of traffic accidents), rape, mayhem, kidnapping, burglary, robbery, housebreaking, assault with intent to kill, commit rape, or rob, assault with a dangerous weapon, or assault with intent to commit any offense punishable by imprisonment for more than one year.

(4) “Fugitive from justice” means any person who has fled from or is fleeing from any law enforcement officer to avoid prosecution or imprisonment for a crime of violence.

(5) “Subversive organization” means any group, committee, club, league, society, association, or combination of individuals the purpose of which, or one of the purposes of which, is the establishment, control, conduct, seizure, or overthrow of the government of the United States or any state or political subdivision thereof, by the use of force, violence, espionage, sabotage, or threats or attempts of any of the foregoing.

(6) “Conviction”' as used herein shall include pleas of guilty, pleas of nolo contendere, and forfeiture of bail.

(7) “Division” means the State Law Enforcement Division.

(8) “Purchase” or “sell” means to knowingly buy, offer to buy, receive, lease, rent, barter, exchange, pawn or accept in pawn.

(9) “Person” means any individual, corporation, company, association, firm, partnership, society, or joint stock company.

(10) “Luggage compartment” means the trunk of a motor vehicle which has a trunk; however, with respect to a motor vehicle which does not have a trunk, the term “luggage compartment” refers to the area of the motor vehicle in which the manufacturer designed that luggage be carried or to the area of the motor vehicle in which luggage is customarily carried. In a station wagon, van, hatchback vehicle, truck, or sport utility vehicle, the term “luggage compartment” refers to the area behind the rearmost seat.

16-23-30. Sale or delivery of handgun to and possession by certain persons unlawful; stolen handguns.

Updated: 
March 26, 2018

(A) It is unlawful for a person to knowingly sell, offer to sell, deliver, lease, rent, barter, exchange, or transport for sale into this State any handgun to:

(1) a person who has been convicted of a crime of violence in any court of the United States, the several states, commonwealths, territories, possessions, or the District of Columbia or who is a fugitive from justice or a habitual drunkard or a drug addict or who has been adjudicated mentally incompetent;

(2) a person who is a member of a subversive organization;

(3) a person under the age of eighteen, but this shall not apply to the issue of handguns to members of the Armed Forces of the United States, active or reserve, National Guard, State Militia, or R. O. T. C., when on duty or training or the temporary loan of handguns for instructions under the immediate supervision of a parent or adult instructor; or

(4) a person who by order of a circuit judge or county court judge of this State has been adjudged unfit to carry or possess a firearm, such adjudication to be made upon application by any police officer, or by any prosecuting officer of this State, or sua sponte, by the court, but a person who is the subject of such an application is entitled to reasonable notice and a proper hearing prior to any such adjudication.

(B) It is unlawful for a person enumerated in subsection (A) to possess or acquire handguns within this State.

(C) A person shall not knowingly buy, sell, transport, pawn, receive, or possess any stolen handgun or one from which the original serial number has been removed or obliterated.

16-23-50. Penalties; disposition of fines; forfeiture and disposition of handguns.

Updated: 
March 26, 2018

(A)(1) A person, including a dealer, who violates the provisions of this article, except Section 16-23-20, is guilty of a felony and, upon conviction, must be fined not more than two thousand dollars or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.

(2) A person violating the provisions of Section 16-23-20 is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined not more than one thousand dollars or imprisoned not more than one year, or both.

(B) In addition to the penalty provided in this section, the handgun involved in the violation of this article must be confiscated. The handgun must be delivered to the chief of police of the municipality or to the sheriff of the county if the violation occurred outside the corporate limits of a municipality. The law enforcement agency that receives the confiscated handgun may use it within the agency, transfer it to another law enforcement agency for the lawful use of that agency, trade it with a retail dealer licensed to sell handguns in this State for a handgun or any other equipment approved by the agency, or destroy it. A weapon must not be disposed of in any manner until the results of any legal proceeding in which it may be involved are finally determined. If the State Law Enforcement Division seized the handgun, the division may keep the handgun for use by its forensic laboratory. Records must be kept of all confiscated handguns received by the law enforcement agencies under the provisions of this article.

Chapter 25. Domestic Violence

Article 1. General Provisions

16-25-10. Definitions

As used in this article, the term:
(1) “Deadly weapon” means any pistol, dirk, slingshot, metal knuckles, razor, or other instrument which can be used to inflict deadly force.
(2) “Great bodily injury” means bodily injury which causes a substantial risk of death or which causes serious, permanent disfigurement or protracted loss or impairment of the function of a bodily member or organ.
(3) “Household member” means:
(a) a spouse;
(b) a former spouse;
(c) persons who have a child in common; or
(d) a male and female who are cohabiting or formerly have cohabited.
(4) “Moderate bodily injury” means physical injury that involves prolonged loss of consciousness or that causes temporary or moderate disfigurement or temporary loss of the function of a bodily member or organ or injury that requires medical treatment when the treatment requires the use of regional or general anesthesia or injury that results in a fracture or dislocation. Moderate bodily injury does not include one-time treatment and subsequent observation of scratches, cuts, abrasions, bruises, burns, splinters, or any other minor injuries that do not ordinarily require extensive medical care.
(5) “Prior conviction of domestic violence” includes conviction of any crime, in any state, containing among its elements those enumerated in, or substantially similar to those enumerated in, Section 16-25-20(A) that is committed against a household member as defined in item (3) within the ten years prior to the incident date of the current offense.
(6) “Protection order” means any order of protection, restraining order, condition of bond, or any other similar order issued in this State or another state or foreign jurisdiction for the purpose of protecting a household member.
(7) “Firearm” means a pistol, revolver, rifle, shotgun, machine gun, submachine gun, or an assault rifle which is designed to fire or is capable of firing fixed cartridge ammunition or from which a shot or projectile is discharged by an explosive but does not include an antique firearm as defined in 18 U.S.C. 921(a)(16).

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.

16-25-30. Firearms and ammunition prohibitions; penalties

(A) Notwithstanding the provisions of Section 16-23-30, it is unlawful for a person to ship, transport, receive, or possess a firearm or ammunition, if the person:
(1) has been convicted of a violation of Section 16-25-20(B) or 16-25-65, or has been convicted of domestic violence in another state, tribe, or territory containing among its elements those elements enumerated in Section 16-25-20(B) or Section 16-25-65;
(2) has been convicted of a violation of Section 16-25-20(C) and the court made specific findings and concluded that the person caused moderate bodily injury to their own household member, or has been convicted of domestic violence in another state, tribe, or territory containing among its elements those elements enumerated in Section 16-25-20(C) and the court made specific findings and concluded that the person caused moderate bodily injury to their own household member;
(3) has been convicted of a violation of Section 16-25-20(C) or (D) and the judge at the time of sentencing ordered that the person is prohibited from shipping, transporting, receiving, or possessing a firearm or ammunition, or has been convicted of domestic violence in another state, tribe, or territory containing among its elements those elements enumerated in Section 16-25-20(C) or (D) and the judge at the time of sentencing ordered that the person is prohibited from shipping, transporting, receiving, or possessing a firearm or ammunition;
(4) is subject to a valid order of protection issued by the family court pursuant to Chapter 4, Title 20, and the family court judge at the time of the hearing made specific findings of physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or that the person offered or attempted to cause physical harm or injury to a person's own household member with apparent and present ability under the circumstances reasonably creating fear of imminent peril and the family court judge ordered that the person is prohibited from shipping, transporting, receiving, or possessing a firearm or ammunition. The standard applied in this subsection applies only to the determination of whether to prohibit a person from possessing a firearm or ammunition and does not apply to the issuance of the order pursuant to Chapter 4, Title 20; or
(5) is subject to a valid order of protection related to domestic or family violence issued by a court of another state, tribe, or territory in compliance with the Uniform Interstate Enforcement of Domestic Violence Protection Orders Act, and the judge at the time of the hearing made specific findings of physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or that the person offered or attempted to cause physical harm or injury to a person's own household member with apparent and present ability under the circumstances reasonably creating fear of imminent peril and the judge ordered that the person is prohibited from shipping, transporting, receiving, or possessing a firearm or ammunition. The standard applied in this subsection applies only to the determination of whether to prohibit a person from possessing a firearm or ammunition and does not apply to the issuance of the order pursuant to Chapter 4, Title 20.
(B) A person who violates subsection (A)(1) is guilty of a felony and, upon conviction, must be fined not more than two thousand dollars or imprisoned for not more than five years, or both. A person who violates subsection (A)(2) or (A)(3) is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined not more than one thousand dollars or imprisoned not more than three years, or both. A person who violates subsection (A)(4) or (A)(5) is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined not more than five hundred dollars or imprisoned not more than thirty days, or both.
(C) A person must not be considered to have been convicted of domestic violence for purposes of this section unless the person was represented by counsel in the case, or knowingly and intelligently waived the right to counsel in the case; and in the case of a prosecution for an offense described in this section for which a person was entitled to a jury trial in the jurisdiction in which the case was tried, either the case was tried by a jury, or the person knowingly and intelligently waived the right to have the case tried by a jury, by guilty plea or otherwise. A person must not be considered to have been convicted of domestic violence for purposes of this section if the conviction has been expunged, set aside, or is an offense for which the person has been pardoned.
(D) At the time a person is convicted of violating the provisions of Section 16-25-20 or 16-25-65, or upon the issuance of an order of protection pursuant to Chapter 4, Title 20, the court must deliver to the person a written form that conspicuously bears the following language: “Pursuant to 18 U.S.C. Section 922, it is unlawful for a person convicted of a violation of Section 16-25-20 or 16-25-65, or a person who is subject to a valid order of protection pursuant to Chapter 4, Title 20, to ship, transport, possess, or receive a firearm or ammunition.”
(E) The provisions of this section prohibiting the possession of firearms and ammunition by persons who have been convicted of domestic violence shall apply to a person who has been convicted of domestic violence for:
(1) life, if the person has been convicted of a violation of Section 16-25-65, or has been convicted of domestic violence in another state, tribe, or territory containing among its elements those elements enumerated in Section 16-25-65;
(2) ten years from the date of conviction or the date the person is released from confinement for the conviction, whichever is later, if the person has been convicted of a violation of Section 16-25-20(B), or has been convicted of domestic violence in another state, tribe, or territory containing among its elements those elements enumerated in Section 16-25-20(B);
(3) three years from the date of conviction or the date the person is released from confinement for the conviction, whichever is later, if the person has been convicted of a violation of Section 16-25-20(C) or (D) and the judge at the time of sentencing ordered that the person is prohibited from shipping, transporting, receiving, or possessing a firearm or ammunition, or has been convicted of domestic violence in another state, tribe, or territory containing among its elements those elements enumerated in Section 16-25-20(C) or (D) and the judge at the time of sentencing ordered that the person is prohibited from shipping, transporting, receiving, or possessing a firearm or ammunition; or
(4) the duration of the order of protection, if the person is subject to a valid order of protection issued by the family court pursuant to Chapter 4, Title 20, and the family court judge at the time of the hearing made specific findings of physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or that the person offered or attempted to cause physical harm or injury to a person's own household member with apparent and present ability under the circumstances reasonably creating fear of imminent peril and the family court judge ordered that the person is prohibited from shipping, transporting, receiving, or possessing a firearm or ammunition, or is subject to a valid order of protection related to domestic or family violence issued by a court of another state, tribe, or territory in compliance with the Uniform Interstate Enforcement of Domestic Violence Protection Orders Act and the judge at the time of the hearing made specific findings of physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or that the person offered or attempted to cause physical harm or injury to a person's own household member with apparent and present ability under the circumstances reasonably creating fear of imminent peril and the judge ordered that the person is prohibited from shipping, transporting, receiving, or possessing a firearm or ammunition.
(F)(1) Following the period of time established in subsection (E), if the person has not been convicted of any other domestic violence offenses pursuant to this article or similar offenses in another jurisdiction, no domestic violence charges are currently pending against the person, and the person is not otherwise prohibited from shipping, transporting, receiving, or possessing a firearm or ammunition pursuant to any other State law, the person's right to ship, transport, receive, or possess a firearm or ammunition shall be restored.
(2) Following the period of time established in subsection (E), if the person requests in writing to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED), SLED shall notify the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) that the State has restored the person's right to ship, transport, receive, or possess a firearm or ammunition, and shall request immediate removal of the person's name to whom the restrictions contained in this section apply.

16-25-65. Domestic violence of a high and aggravated nature; elements; penalty; statutory offense

(A) A person who violates Section 16-25-20(A) is guilty of the offense of domestic violence of a high and aggravated nature when one of the following occurs. The person:
(1) commits the offense under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life and great bodily injury to the victim results;
(2) commits the offense, with or without an accompanying battery and under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life, and would reasonably cause a person to fear imminent great bodily injury or death; or
(3) violates a protection order and, in the process of violating the order, commits domestic violence in the first degree.
(B) A person who violates subsection (A) is guilty of a felony and, upon conviction, must be imprisoned for not more than twenty years.
(C) The provisions of subsection (A) create a statutory offense of domestic violence of a high and aggravated nature and must not be construed to codify the common law crime of assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature.
(D) Circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life include, but are not limited to, the following:
(1) using a deadly weapon;
(2) knowingly and intentionally impeding the normal breathing or circulation of the blood of a household member by applying pressure to the throat or neck or by obstructing the nose or mouth of a household member and thereby causing stupor or loss of consciousness for any period of time;
(3) committing the offense in the presence of a minor;
(4) committing the offense against a person he knew, or should have known, to be pregnant;
(5) committing the offense during the commission of a robbery, burglary, kidnapping, or theft; or
(6) using physical 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:
(a) the report of any criminal offense, bodily injury, or property damage to a law enforcement agency; or
(b) a request for an ambulance or emergency medical assistance to any law enforcement agency or emergency medical provider.

Title 20. Domestic Relations

Updated: 
March 26, 2018

Chapter 3. Divorce

Updated: 
March 26, 2018

Article 1. Divorces in This State

Updated: 
March 26, 2018

20-3-160. Care, custody and maintenance of children.

Updated: 
March 26, 2018

In any action for divorce from the bonds of matrimony the court may at any stage of the cause, or from time to time after final judgment, make such orders touching the care, custody and maintenance of the children of the marriage and what, if any, security shall be given for the same as from the circumstances of the parties and the nature of the case and the best spiritual as well as other interests of the children may be fit, equitable and just.

Chapter 4. Protection from Domestic Abuse

Updated: 
March 26, 2018

Article 1. Protection from Domestic Abuse

Updated: 
March 26, 2018

20-4-10. Short title.

Updated: 
March 26, 2018

This chapter may be cited as the "Protection from Domestic Abuse Act".

20-4-20. Definitions.

Updated: 
March 26, 2018

As used in this chapter:

(a) "Abuse" means:

(1) Physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or the threat of physical harm;

(2) Sexual criminal offenses, as otherwise defined by statute, committed against a family or household member by a family or household member;
(b) "Household member" means:

(i) a spouse;

(ii) a former spouse;

(iii) persons who have a child in common;

(iv) a male and female who are cohabiting or formerly have cohabited.

(c) "Court" means the Family Court.

(d) "Petitioner" means the person alleging abuse in a petition for an order of protection.

(e) "Respondent" in a petition for an order of protection means the person alleged to have abused another or a person alleged to have aided and abetted such abuse.

(f) "Order of protection" means an order of protection issued to protect the petitioner or minor household members from the abuse of another household member where the respondent has received notice of the proceedings and has had an opportunity to be heard.

20-4-30. Jurisdiction.

Updated: 
March 26, 2018

A) The family court has jurisdiction over all proceedings under this chapter except that, during nonbusiness hours or at other times when the court is not in session, the petition may be filed with a magistrate. The magistrate may issue an order of protection granting only the relief provided by Section 20-4-60(a)(1).

(B) Except as provided in subsection (C), actions for an order of protection must be filed in the county in which:

(1) the alleged act of abuse occurred;

(2) the petitioner resides or is sheltered, unless the petitioner is a nonresident of the State;

(3) the respondent resides, unless the respondent is a nonresident of the State; or

(4) the parties last resided together.

(C)(1) If the action is filed in the county in which the petitioner resides or is sheltered and the respondent is a nonresident of that county, the petitioner must request that the action be immediately transferred to another county in which venue is proper and must include a supplemental petition that designates the transfer county and that changes all specific references to the county of filing to the transfer county. The clerk of court must transfer and forward the supplemental petition to the transfer county.

(2) If the petitioner is a nonresident of the State, the action must be filed in the county specified in item (1), (3), or (4) of subsection (B).

(3) If the respondent is a nonresident of the State, the petitioner may request that the action be immediately transferred to another county in which venue is proper and must include a supplemental petition that designates the transfer county and that changes all specific references to the county of filing to the transfer county. The clerk of court must transfer and forward the supplemental petition to the transfer county.

(D) Hearings on the petition may be held in any county in the same judicial circuit as the county in which the action is filed or to which the action is transferred.

20-4-40. Petition for order of protection.

Updated: 
March 26, 2018

There is created an action known as a “Petition for an Order of Protection” in cases of abuse to a household member.

(a) A petition for relief under this section may be made by any household members in need of protection or by any household members on behalf of minor household members.

(b) A petition for relief must allege the existence of abuse to a household member. It must state the specific time, place, details of the abuse, and other facts and circumstances upon which relief is sought and must be verified.

(c) The petition must inform the respondent of the right to retain counsel.

(d) In a pending action for divorce or separate support and maintenance, the petition for relief shall be brought in the form of a motion for further relief and shall be served on counsel of record, if any. Where no action is pending, the petition shall be filed and served as an independent action. A pending motion or petition for relief shall not be dismissed solely because the underlying action is dismissed.

(e) The clerk of court must provide simplified forms which will facilitate the preparation and filing of a petition under this section by any person not represented by counsel, including motions and affidavits to proceed in forma pauperis.

(f) The clerk of court may not charge a fee for filing a petition for an order for protection from domestic abuse.

20-4-50. Hearing on petition.

Updated: 
March 26, 2018

(a) Within twenty-four hours after service of a petition under this chapter upon the respondent, the court may, for good cause shown, hold an emergency hearing and issue an order of protection if the petitioner proves the allegation of abuse by a preponderance of the evidence. A prima facie showing of immediate and present danger of bodily injury, which may be verified by supporting affidavits, constitutes good cause for purposes of this section.

(b) If the court denies the motion for a twenty-four-hour hearing or such a hearing is not requested, the petitioner may request and the court must grant a hearing within fifteen days of the filing of a petition. The court must cause a copy of the petition to be served upon the respondent at least five days prior to the hearing, except as provided in subsection (a), in the same manner required for service in the circuit courts. Where service is not accomplished five days prior to the hearing, the respondent, upon his motion, is entitled to a continuance until such time is necessary to provide for compliance with this section.

20-4-60. Order of protection; contents.

Updated: 
March 26, 2018

(A) Any order of protection granted under this chapter shall be to protect the petitioner or the abused person or persons on whose behalf the petition was filed and may include:

(1) temporarily enjoining the respondent from abusing, threatening to abuse, or molesting the petitioner or the person or persons on whose behalf the petition was filed;

(2) temporarily enjoining the respondent from communicating or attempting to communicate with the petitioner in any way which would violate the provisions of this chapter and temporarily enjoining the respondent from entering or attempting to enter the petitioner's place of residence, employment, education, or other location as the court may order.

(B) Every order of protection issued pursuant to this chapter shall conspicuously bear the following language:

(1) “Violation of this order is a criminal offense punishable by thirty days in jail or a fine of two hundred dollars or may constitute contempt of court punishable by up to one year in jail and/or a fine not to exceed fifteen hundred dollars.” and

(2) “Pursuant to Section 16-25-125 of the South Carolina Code of Laws, it is unlawful for a person who has been charged with or convicted of criminal domestic violence or criminal domestic violence of a high and aggravated nature, who is subject to an order of protection, or who is subject to a restraining order, to enter or remain upon the grounds or structure of a domestic violence shelter in which the person's household member resides or the domestic violence shelter's administrative offices. A person who violates this provision is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined not more than three thousand dollars or imprisoned for not more than three years, or both. If the person is in possession of a dangerous weapon at the time of the violation, the person is guilty of a felony and, upon conviction, must be fined not more than five thousand dollars or imprisoned for not more than five years, or both.”

(C) When the court has, after a hearing for any order of protection, issued an order of protection, it may, in addition:

(1) award temporary custody and temporary visitation rights with regard to minor children living in the home over whom the parties have custody;

(2) direct the respondent to pay temporary financial support for the petitioner and minor child unless the respondent has no duty to support the petitioner or minor child;

(3) when the respondent has a legal duty to support the petitioner or minor children living in the household and the household's residence is jointly leased or owned by the parties or the respondent is the sole owner or lessee, grant temporary possession to the petitioner of the residence to the exclusion of the respondent;

(4) prohibit the transferring, destruction, encumbering, or otherwise disposing of real or personal property mutually owned or leased by the parties or in which one party claims an equitable interest, except when in the ordinary course of business;

(5) provide for temporary possession of the personal property, including pet animals, of the parties and order assistance from law enforcement officers in removing personal property of the petitioner if the respondent's eviction has not been ordered.

(6) award costs and attorney's fees to either party;

(7) award any other relief authorized by Section 63-3-530; provided, however, the court must have due regard for any prior family court orders issued in an action between the parties.

(8) prohibit harm or harassment, including a violation of Chapter 1, Title 47, against any pet animal owned, possessed, kept, or held by:

(a) the petitioner;

(b) any family or household member designated in the order;

(c) the respondent if the petitioner has a demonstrated interest in the pet animal.

(D) No protective order issued pursuant to this chapter may, in any manner, affect the title to real property.

(E) No mutual order of protection may be granted unless the court sets forth findings of fact necessitating the mutual order or unless both parties consent to a mutual order.

(F) If mutual orders of protection have been entered that do not comply with the provisions of this section a petitioner may request the order be vacated and all records of the order be destroyed.

20-4-65. Order of protection from domestic abuse; filing fee.

Updated: 
March 26, 2018

A person seeking an order of protection from domestic abuse pursuant to the provisions of this chapter is not required to pay the filing fee as provided in Section 8-21-310(11)(a).

20-4-70. Duration of order of protection; modification of terms.

Updated: 
March 26, 2018

(A) An order of protection issued under Section 20-4-60 must be for a fixed time not less than six months nor more than one year unless the parties have reconciled as evidenced by an order of dismissal and may be extended or terminated by order of the court upon motion by either party showing good cause with notice to the other party. A respondent has the right to a hearing on the extension of an order issued pursuant to this section within thirty days of the date upon which the order will expire. If the parties reconcile, the issuing court may grant an order of dismissal without a hearing if the petitioner receiving the order of protection to be dismissed appears personally at the offices of the issuing court, shows proper identification, and signs a written request to dismiss based on the reconciliation.

(B) Provisions included in an order of protection granting relief pursuant to Section 20-4-60(c) must be enforced until further order of the court following the issuance of the order unless before the expiration of the period the court has scheduled a hearing pursuant to the filing of an action for divorce or separate support and maintenance to determine the temporary rights and obligations of the parties with respect to support of a spouse or children, custody and visitation, or the distribution of personal property. If the hearing has been scheduled, relief granted under Section 20-4-60(c) remains in effect until an order pursuant to the hearing is issued by the court.

(C) The family court may modify the terms of any order issued under this section.

(D) An order of protection issued by a magistrate expires as provided under the terms of the order or upon the issuance of a subsequent order by the family court, whichever occurs first.

20-4-80. Mailing or service of order.

Updated: 
March 26, 2018

A certified copy of an order of protection must be mailed to or served upon the petitioner, the respondent, and local law enforcement agencies having jurisdiction in the area where the petitioner resides. No charge may be made to the petitioner for such action.

20-4-90. Sheriff's department to assist in execution of order.

Updated: 
March 26, 2018

When any order is issued pursuant to this chapter, upon request of the petitioner, the court may, as part of the order, require the sheriff's department or the police department pursuant to duties described under Section 20-4-100 to accompany the petitioner and assist in placing the petitioner in the possession of the dwelling or residence or otherwise assist in execution of service of the order.

20-4-100. Responsibilities of law enforcement officer.

Updated: 
March 26, 2018

The primary duty of a law enforcement officer when responding to a domestic abuse incident is to enforce the laws allegedly violated and to protect the abused person if facts are found which substantiate the complaint. In such incidents, the law enforcement officer must take the following protective measures:

(a) Notify the abused person of the right to initiate criminal proceedings and to seek an order of protection under this chapter.

(b) Advise the parties of the importance of preserving evidence. To provide protection to the petitioner and any minor children, the officer may offer or arrange to provide transportation of the abused person to a hospital for treatment of injuries or to a place of shelter or safety and to accompany the abused person to his or her residence to allow for the removal of clothing, medication, and such personal property as is reasonably necessary.

20-4-110. Immunity from civil or criminal liability.

Updated: 
March 26, 2018

Any person who makes a report pursuant to this chapter or who participates in judicial proceedings resulting therefrom, acting in good faith, is immune from civil and criminal liability which might otherwise result by reason of such actions. In all such civil or criminal proceedings good faith is rebuttably presumed.

20-4-120. Actions not affecting right to relief.

Updated: 
March 26, 2018

The petitioner's right to relief under this chapter is not affected by leaving the residence or household to avoid further abuse.

The petitioner's right to relief under this chapter is not affected by the use of such physical force against the respondent as is reasonably believed by the petitioner to be necessary to defend the petitioner or others from imminent physical injury or abuse.

20-4-130. Applicability of other remedies.

Updated: 
March 26, 2018

Any proceeding under this chapter is in addition to other civil and criminal remedies.

20-4-160. Domestic Violence Fund.

Updated: 
March 26, 2018

A) There is established the Domestic Violence Fund, a fund separate and distinct from the general fund, in the State Treasury. The fund must be administered by the Department of Social Services and revenues of the fund must be used solely to award grants to domestic violence centers and programs in the State.

(B) In order for a domestic violence center or program to be eligible to receive funds, it must be a nonprofit corporation and must:

(1) have been in operation on the preceding July 1 and continue to be in operation; and

(2) offer the following services:

(a) a twenty-four hour hotline;

(b) transportation services;

(c) community education programs;

(d) daytime services, including counseling; and

(e) other criteria as may be established by the department.

(C) The Domestic Violence Fund must receive its revenue from that portion of marriage license fees provided for in Section 20-1-375 and donations, contributions, bequests, or other gifts made to the fund. Contributions to the fund must not be used to supplant existing funds appropriated to the department for domestic violence programs and grants. Monies in the fund may be carried forward from one fiscal year to the next, and interest earned on monies in the fund must be retained by the fund.

Article 3. Uniform Interstate Enforcement of Domestic Violence Protection Orders Act

Updated: 
March 26, 2018

20-4-310. Citation of article.

Updated: 
March 26, 2018

This article may be cited as the “Uniform Interstate Enforcement of Domestic Violence Protection Orders Act”.

20-4-320. Definitions.

Updated: 
March 26, 2018

For purposes of this article:

(1) “Foreign protection order” means a protection order issued by a tribunal of another state.

(2) “Issuing state” means the state whose tribunal issues a protection order.

(3) “Mutual foreign protection order” means a foreign protection order that includes provisions in favor of both the protected individual seeking enforcement of the order and the respondent.

(4) “Protected individual” means an individual protected by a protection order.

(5) “Protection order” means an injunction or other order, issued by a tribunal under the domestic violence, family violence, or anti-stalking laws of the issuing state, to prevent an individual from engaging in violent or threatening acts against, harassment of, contact or communication with, or physical proximity to, another individual.

(6) “Respondent” means the individual against whom enforcement of a protection order is sought.

(7) “State” means a state of the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the United States Virgin Islands, or any territory or insular possession subject to the jurisdiction of the United States. The term includes an Indian tribe or band that has jurisdiction to issue protection orders.

(8) “Tribunal” means a court, agency, or other entity authorized by law to issue or modify a protection order.

20-4-330. Judicial enforcement of foreign protection order; determining validity of order.

Updated: 
March 26, 2018

(A) A person authorized by the law of this State to seek enforcement of a protection order may seek enforcement of a valid foreign protection order in a tribunal of this State. The tribunal shall enforce the terms of the order, including terms that provide relief that a tribunal of this State would lack power to provide but for this section. The tribunal shall enforce the order, whether the order was obtained by independent action or in another proceeding, if it is an order issued in response to a complaint, petition, or motion filed by or on behalf of an individual seeking protection. In a proceeding to enforce a foreign protection order, the tribunal shall follow the procedures of this State for the enforcement of protection orders.

(B) A tribunal of this State may not enforce a foreign protection order issued by a tribunal of a state that does not recognize the standing of a protected individual to seek enforcement of the order.

(C) A tribunal of this State shall enforce the provisions of a valid foreign protection order, which govern custody and visitation, if the order was issued in accordance with the jurisdictional requirements governing the issuance of custody and visitation orders in the issuing state.

(D) A foreign protection order is valid if it:

(1) identifies the protected individual and the respondent;

(2) is currently in effect;

(3) was issued by a tribunal that had jurisdiction over the parties and subject matter under the law of the issuing state; and

(4) was issued after the respondent was given reasonable notice and had an opportunity to be heard before the tribunal issued the order or, in the case of an order ex parte, the respondent was given notice and has had or will have an opportunity to be heard within a reasonable time after the order was issued, in a manner consistent with the rights of the respondent to due process.

(E) A foreign protection order valid on its face is prima facie evidence of its validity.

(F) Absence of any of the criteria for validity of a foreign protection order is an affirmative defense in an action-seeking enforcement of the order.

(G) A tribunal of this State may enforce provisions of a mutual foreign protection order which favor a respondent only if:

(1) the respondent filed a written pleading seeking a protection order from the tribunal of the issuing state; and

(2) the tribunal of the issuing state made specific findings in favor of the respondent.

20-4-340. Enforcement by law enforcement officer; service of order on respondent.

Updated: 
March 26, 2018

(A) A law enforcement officer of this State, upon determining that there is probable cause to believe that a valid foreign protection order exists and that the order has been violated, shall enforce the order as if it were the order of a tribunal of this State. Presentation of a protection order that identifies both the protected individual and the respondent and, on its face, is currently in effect constitutes probable cause to believe that a valid foreign protection order exists. For the purposes of this section, the protection order may be inscribed on a tangible medium or may have been stored in an electronic or other medium if it is retrievable in perceivable form. Presentation of a certified copy of a protection order is not required for enforcement.

(B) If a foreign protection order is not presented, a law enforcement officer of this State may consider other information in determining whether there is probable cause to believe that a valid foreign protection order exists.

(C) If a law enforcement officer of this State determines that an otherwise valid foreign protection order cannot be enforced because the respondent has not been notified or served with the order, the officer shall inform the respondent of the order, make a reasonable effort to serve the order upon the respondent, and allow the respondent a reasonable opportunity to comply with the order before enforcing the order.

(D) Registration or filing of an order in this State is not required for the enforcement of a valid foreign protection order pursuant to this article.

20-4-350. Registration; presentation to family court; affidavit of currency; entry in state or federal registry; fee.

Updated: 
March 26, 2018

(A) Any individual may register a foreign protection order in this State. To register a foreign protection order, an individual shall present a certified copy of the order to the family court.

(B) Upon receipt of a foreign protection order, the family court shall register the order in accordance with this section. After the order is registered, the family court shall furnish to the individual registering the order a certified copy of the registered order.

(C) The family court shall register an order upon presentation of a copy of a protection order, which has been certified by the issuing state. A registered foreign protection order that is inaccurate or is not currently in effect must be corrected or removed from the registry in accordance with the law of this State.

(D) An individual registering a foreign protection order shall file an affidavit by the protected individual in the family court stating that, to the best of the protected individual's knowledge, the order is currently in effect.

(E) A foreign protection order registered under this article may be entered in any existing state or federal registry of protection orders, in accordance with applicable law.

(F) A fee may not be charged for the registration of a foreign protection order.

20-4-360. Immunity.

Updated: 
March 26, 2018

This State or a local governmental agency, or a law enforcement officer, prosecuting attorney, clerk of court, or any state or local governmental official acting in an official capacity, is immune from civil and criminal liability for an act or omission arising out of the registration or enforcement of a foreign protection order or the detention or arrest of an alleged violator of a foreign protection order if the act or omission was done in good faith in an effort to comply with this article.

20-4-370. Remedies available to protected individual.

Updated: 
March 26, 2018

A protected individual who pursues remedies under this article is not precluded from pursuing other legal or equitable remedies against the respondent.

20-4-375. Filing false protection order; criminal penalty; civil liability.

Updated: 
March 26, 2018

(A) A person who knowingly or wilfully makes, presents, files, or attempts to file a false, fictitious, or fraudulent foreign protection order is guilty of a felony and, upon conviction, must be fined not more than five thousand dollars or imprisoned for not more than five years, or both, in the discretion of the court.

(B) If a family court determines that a person has knowingly or wilfully made, presented, filed, or attempted to file a false, fictitious, or fraudulent foreign protection order, the respondent is entitled to recover from the person who made, presented, filed, or attempted to file the report such relief as may be appropriate, including:

(1) actual damages;

(2) punitive damages; and

(3) a reasonable attorney's fee and other litigation costs reasonably incurred.

20-4-380. Construction of act.

Updated: 
March 26, 2018

In applying and construing this uniform act, consideration must be given to the need to promote uniformity of the law with respect to its subject matter among states that enact it.

20-4-390. Severability.

Updated: 
March 26, 2018

If any section, subsection, paragraph, subparagraph, sentence, clause, phrase, or word of this act is for any reason held to be unconstitutional or invalid, such holding shall not affect the constitutionality or validity of the remaining portions of this act, the General Assembly hereby declaring that it would have passed this article, and each and every section, subsection, paragraph, subparagraph, sentence, clause, phrase, and word thereof, irrespective of the fact that any one or more other sections, subsections, paragraphs, subparagraphs, sentences, clauses, phrases, or words hereof may be declared to be unconstitutional, invalid, or otherwise ineffective.

20-4-395. Applicability.

Updated: 
March 26, 2018

This article applies to protection orders issued before July 1, 2007, and to continuing actions for enforcement of foreign protection orders commenced before July 1, 2007. A request for enforcement of a foreign protection order made after June 30, 2007, for violations of a foreign protection order occurring before July 1, 2007, is governed by this article.

Title 63. South Carolina Children's Code

Updated: 
March 26, 2018

Chapter 3. Family Court

Updated: 
March 26, 2018

Article 5. Jurisdiction and Court Powers and Procedures

Updated: 
March 26, 2018

63-3-530. Jurisdiction in domestic matters.

Updated: 
March 26, 2018

(A) The family court has exclusive jurisdiction:

(1) to hear and determine matters which come within the provisions of the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act;

(2) to hear and determine actions for divorce a vinculo matrimonii, separate support and maintenance, legal separation, and in other marital litigation between the parties, and for settlement of all legal and equitable rights of the parties in the actions in and to the real and personal property of the marriage and attorney's fees, if requested by either party in the pleadings;

(3) to hear and determine actions for and related to the adoption of children and adults;

(4) to hear and determine actions for termination of parental rights, whether such action is in connection with an action for adoption or apart therefrom;

(5) (Reserved)

(6) to hear and determine actions for the annulment of marriage;

(7) (Reserved)

(8) to hear and determine actions for changing names, whether in connection with a divorce or a separate support and maintenance action or apart therefrom;

(9) to hear and determine actions for the correction of birth records;

(10) to consent to the enlistment of a minor in the military service or the employment of a minor, if a minor has no one standing in loco parentis to do so;

(11) to hear and determine proceedings within the county to compel the support of a spouse or child, whether legitimate or illegitimate;

(12) for the protection, guardianship and disposition of neglected or dependent minors in proceedings properly brought before it for the support of a spouse or child;

(13) in all cases or proceedings within the county against persons charged with failure to obey an order of the court made pursuant to authority conferred by law;

(14) to order support of a spouse or child, or both, irrespective of whether they are likely to become a public charge;

(15) to include in the requirements of an order for support the providing of necessary shelter, food, clothing, care, medical attention, expenses of confinement, both before and after the birth, the expense of educating his or her child and other proper and reasonable expenses;

(16) to require of persons legally chargeable with the support of a spouse or child, who are possessed of sufficient means or who are able to earn such means, the payment weekly, or at other fixed periods, of a fair and reasonable sum for such support, or as a contribution toward such support, according to the means of the persons so chargeable;

(17) To make all orders for support run until further order of the court, except that orders for child support run until the child turns eighteen years of age or until the child is married or becomes self-supporting, as determined by the court, whichever occurs first, or past the age of eighteen years if the child is enrolled and still attending high school, not to exceed high school graduation or the end of the school year after the child reaches nineteen years of age, whichever is later; or in accordance with a preexisting agreement or order to provide for child support past the age of eighteen years; or in the discretion of the court, to provide for child support past age eighteen when there are physical or mental disabilities of the child or other exceptional circumstances that warrant the continuation of child support beyond age eighteen for as long as the physical or mental disabilities or exceptional circumstances continue. When child support is terminated due to the child turning eighteen years of age, graduating from high school, or reaching the end of the school year when the child is nineteen, no arrearage may be incurred as to that child after the date of the child's eighteenth birthday, the date of the child's graduation from high school, or the last day of the school year when the child is nineteen, whichever date terminated the child support obligation.

(18) to make an order for support of a husband or wife and children by his or her spouse, even though he or she may have left the home, in cases where the spouse's conduct or condition or his or her cruel or inhuman behavior made it unsafe or improper for the deserting spouse to continue to live with him or her.

Such orders may require either spouse or any other party to the proceeding:

(a) to stay away from the home or from the other or either spouse or children;

(b) to permit either spouse to visit the children at stated periods;

(c) to abstain from offensive conduct against the other spouse or either of them, or against the children;

(d) to give proper attention to the care of the home;

(e) to refrain from acts of commission or omission that tend to make the home not a proper place for the other, or either spouse, or the children;

(19) in furtherance of the complete disposition of cases in the jurisdiction of the court, to bring in and make parties to any proceedings pending in the court any person or persons charged with or alleged to be interfering with the marital relationship between a husband and wife, in violation of the law or of the rights of either party to the marriage, or whose presence to the proceedings may be found necessary to a complete determination of the issues therein, or the relief to which the parties thereto, or any of them, may be entitled; and shall have the power to enjoin and restrain such interference and to punish for contempt of court violations of such injunctions or restraining orders;

(20) to award the custody of the children, during the term of any order of protection, to either spouse, or to any other proper person or institution;

(21) to determine the manner in which sums ordered paid for support shall be paid and applied, either to a person through the court, through the clerk of court, or through a centralized wage withholding system if required by federal statute or regulation;

(22) to require a person ordered to support another to give security by a written undertaking that he will pay the sums ordered by the court for such support and, upon the failure of any person to give such security by a written undertaking when required by order of the court, to punish such person for contempt and, when appropriate, to discharge such undertaking;

(23) in lieu of requiring an undertaking, to suspend sentence and place on probation a person who has failed to support another as required by law, and to determine the conditions of such probation and require them to be observed; to revoke such suspension of sentence and probation, where circumstances warrant it; and to discharge a respondent from probation;

(24) to release on probation prior to the expiration of the full term a person committed to jail for failure to obey an order of the court, where the court is satisfied that the best interest of the family and the community will be served thereby;

(25) to modify or vacate any order issued by the court;

(26) to order either before, during or after a hearing a mental, physical and psychiatric examination as circumstances warrant;

(27) to exclude the public from the courtroom in a proper case;

(28) to send processes or any other mandates in any matter in which it has jurisdiction into any county of the State for service or execution in like manner and with the same force and effect as similar processes or mandates of the circuit courts, as provided by law;

(29) to compel the attendance of witnesses;

(30) to make any order necessary to carry out and enforce the provisions of this title, and to hear and determine any questions of support, custody, separation, or any other matter over which the court has jurisdiction, without the intervention of a jury; however, the court may not issue an order which prohibits a custodial parent from moving his residence to a location within the State unless the court finds a compelling reason or unless the parties have agreed to such a prohibition;

(31) to require spouse to furnish support or to be liable for nonsupport, as provided above, if, at the time of the filing of the petition for supports:

(a) he is residing or domiciled in the county or when such area is the matrimonial domicile of the parties; or

(b) he is not residing or domiciled in the area referred to in subsection (A), but is found therein at such time, provided the petitioner is so residing or domiciled at such time; or

(c) he is neither residing or domiciled nor found in such area but, prior to such time and while so residing or domiciled, he shall have failed to furnish such support, or shall have abandoned his spouse or child and thereafter shall have failed to furnish such support, provided that the petitioner is so residing or domiciled at that time;

(32) the petitioner need not continue to reside or be domiciled in such area where the cause of action arose, as provided in subitems (a) and (b) of item (31) of this section, if the conduct of the respondent has been such as to make it unsafe or improper for her to so reside or be domiciled, and the petitioner may bring action in the court of the jurisdiction wherein she is residing or has become domiciled;

(33) to order visitation for the grandparent of a minor child where either or both parents of the minor child is or are deceased, or are divorced, or are living separate and apart in different habitats, if the court finds that:

(1) the child's parents or guardians are unreasonably depriving the grandparent of the opportunity to visit with the child, including denying visitation of the minor child to the grandparent for a period exceeding ninety days; and

(2) awarding grandparent visitation would not interfere with the parent-child relationship; and:

(a) the court finds by clear and convincing evidence that the child's parents or guardians are unfit; or

(b) the court finds by clear and convincing evidence that there are compelling circumstances to overcome the presumption that the parental decision is in the child's best interest.

The judge presiding over this matter may award attorney's fees and costs to the prevailing party.

For purposes of this item, “grandparent” means the natural or adoptive parent of a natural or adoptive parent of a minor child.

(34) to order custody with all rights of guardianship as described in Section 21-21-55;

(35) to hear and determine actions for protection from domestic abuse;

(36) to issue orders compelling public officials and officers to perform official acts under Title 63, the Children's Code, Protection from Domestic Abuse Act, and Chapter 35, Title 43, Omnibus Adult Protection Act;

(37) to appoint guardians ad litem in actions pertaining to custody or visitation pursuant to Section 63-3-810;

(38) to hear and determine an action where either party in his or her complaint, answer, counterclaim, or motion for pendente lite relief prays for the allowance of suit money pendente lite and permanently. In this action the court shall allow a reasonable sum for the claim if it appears well-founded. Suit money, including attorney's fees, may be assessed for or against a party to an action brought in or subject to the jurisdiction of the family court. An award of temporary attorney's fees or suit costs must not be stayed by an appeal of the award;

(39) to require the parties to engage in court-mandated mediation pursuant to Family Court Mediation Rules or to issue consent orders authorizing parties to engage in any form of alternate dispute resolution which does not violate the rules of the court or the laws of South Carolina; provided however, the parties in consensual mediation must designate any arbiter or mediator by unanimous consent subject to the approval of the court;

(40) to require the parent of a child brought before the court for adjudication of a delinquency matter and agencies providing services to the family to cooperate and participate in a plan adopted by the court to meet the needs and best interests of the child and to hold a parent or agency in contempt for failing to cooperate and participate in the plan adopted by the court. In imposing its contempt powers the Family Court must take into consideration mitigating circumstances including the parent's or legal custodian's participation in the treatment plan, the level of services being offered by the lead and participating agencies, and the level of cooperation by the lead and participating agencies as the court may deem appropriate;

(41) to order a person required to pay support under a court order being enforced under Title IV-D of the Social Security Act who is unemployed or underemployed and who is the parent of a child receiving Temporary Assistance to Needy Families benefits to participate in an employment training program or public service employment pursuant to regulations promulgated by the department. The Division of Child Support Enforcement of the State Department of Social Services also has jurisdiction under this item in cases under Title IV-D of the Social Security Act brought pursuant to Article 5, Chapter 17, Title 63 of the 1976 Code;

(42) to order joint or divided custody where the court finds it is in the best interests of the child;

(43) to enforce an administrative subpoena or subpoena duces tecum issued by the Department of Social Services pursuant to Section 63-17-850 and to enforce fines assessed by the department pursuant to Sections 63-17-850, 63-17-2310(C), and 43-5-598(G);

(44) to order sibling visitation where the court finds it is in the best interest of the children;

(45) to hear and determine actions concerning control of the person of a minor, including guardianship of the minor;

(46) to order custody of a minor child to the de facto custodian under the circumstances specified in Section 63-15-60.

(B) Notwithstanding another provision of law, the family court and the probate court have concurrent jurisdiction to hear and determine matters relating to paternity, common-law marriage, and interpretation of marital agreements; except that the concurrent jurisdiction of the probate court extends only to matters dealing with the estate, trust, and guardianship and conservatorship actions before the probate court.

Chapter 15. Child Custody and Visitation

Updated: 
March 26, 2018

Article 1. General Provisions

Updated: 
March 26, 2018

63-15-20. Religious faith.

Updated: 
March 26, 2018

In placing the child in the custody of an individual or a private agency or institution, the court shall, whenever practicable, select a person or an agency or institution governed by persons of the same religious faith as that of the parents of such child, or, in case of a difference in the religious faith of the parents, then of the religious faith of the child, or, if the religious faith of the child is not ascertainable, then of the faith of either of the parents.

63-15-30. Child's preference.

Updated: 
March 26, 2018

In determining the best interests of the child, the court must consider the child's reasonable preference for custody. The court shall place weight upon the preference based upon the child's age, experience, maturity, judgment, and ability to express a preference.

63-15-40. Consideration of domestic violence.

Updated: 
March 26, 2018

(A) In making a decision regarding custody of a minor child, in addition to other existing factors specified by law, the court must give weight to evidence of domestic violence as defined in Section 16-25-20 or Section 16-25-65 including, but not limited to:

(1) physical or sexual abuse; and

(2) if appropriate, evidence of which party was the primary aggressor, as defined in Section 16-25-70.

(B) The absence or relocation from the home by a person, against whom an act of domestic violence has been perpetrated, if that person is not the primary aggressor, must not be considered by the court to be sufficient cause, absent other factors, to deny custody of the minor child to that person.

63-15-50. Domestic violence and visitation; payment for treatment.

Updated: 
March 26, 2018

(A) A court may award visitation to a person who has been found by a general sessions, magistrates, municipal, or family court to have committed domestic violence, as defined in Section 16-25-20 or Section 16-25-65, or in cases in which complaints were made against both parties, to the person found by a general sessions, magistrates, municipal, or family court to be the primary aggressor under Section 16-25-70, only if the court finds that adequate provision for the safety of the child and the victim of domestic violence can be made.

(B) In a visitation order, a court may:

(1) order an exchange of a child to occur in a protected setting;

(2) order visitation supervised by another person or agency;

(3) order a person who has been found by a general sessions, magistrates, municipal, or family court to have committed domestic violence, or in cases in which complaints were made against both parties, the person found by the court to have been the primary aggressor, to attend and complete, to the satisfaction of the court, a program of intervention for offenders or other designated counseling as a condition of the visitation;

(4) order a person who has been found by a general sessions, magistrates, municipal, or family court to have committed domestic violence, or in cases in which complaints were made against both parties, the person found by the court to have been the primary aggressor, to abstain from possession or consumption of alcohol or controlled substances during the visitation and for twenty-four hours preceding the visitation;

(5) order a person who has been found by a general sessions, magistrates, municipal, or family court to have committed domestic violence, or in cases in which complaints were made against both parties, the person found by a general sessions, magistrates, municipal, or family court to be the primary aggressor, to pay a fee to defray the costs of supervised visitation;

(6) prohibit overnight visitation;

(7) require a bond from a person who has been found by a general sessions, magistrates, municipal, or family court to have committed domestic violence, or in cases in which complaints were made against both parties, from the person found by a general sessions, magistrates, municipal, or family court to be the primary aggressor, for the return and safety of the child if that person has made a threat to retain the child unlawfully;

(8) impose any other condition that is considered necessary to provide for the safety of the child, the victim of domestic violence, and any other household member.

(C) If a court allows a household member to supervise visitation, the court must establish conditions to be followed during the visitation.

(D) A judge may, upon his own motion or upon the motion of any party, prohibit or limit the visitation when necessary to ensure the safety of the child or the parent who is a victim of domestic violence.

(E) If visitation is not allowed or is allowed in a restricted manner to provide for the safety of a child or parent who is a victim of domestic violence, the court may order the address of the child and the victim to be kept confidential.

(F) The court must order a person who has been found by a general sessions, magistrates, municipal, or family court to have committed domestic violence, or in cases in which complaints were made against both parties, the person found by a general sessions, magistrates, municipal, or family court to be the primary aggressor, to pay the actual cost of any medical or psychological treatment for a child who is physically or psychologically injured as a result of one or more acts of domestic violence.