Domestic violence is a serious issue in South Carolina and across the country. As the rate of domestic violence situations in the state is one of the highest nationwide, it is understandable that lawmakers and law enforcement agencies are hoping that a newly passed bill will help reduce the number of such incidents. For an individual accused of this type of behavior, though, changes to the penalties associated with a domestic violence conviction can have a drastic effect on his or her future. As such, a criminal defense attorney may prove to be a valuable commodity when it comes to fighting such allegations.
According to a recent report, a new law regarding domestic violence came into effect earlier this summer. It has not been in place long enough to see if it has helped to reduce the number of reported cases; however, lawmakers are hopeful that the changes made will have an overall positive affect. Unfortunately, it can take years of reviewing data to see if that is the case.
What changes were made and how could these changes affect those accused of committing acts of domestic violence? Those convicted on this type of charge already faced fairly significant penalties, but these have been greatly increased thanks to this new legislation. The details of an alleged incident will play a big role in determining how long a sentence one is given if convicted. A couple examples of what will be looked for include the severity of the violence, number of offenses on one's record, weapon use and acts of violence committed in front of a child.
Domestic violence does happen, and it affects quite a few South Carolina residents every year. However, these cases often come down to a he said, she said debate, and some accusations are simply without merit. A criminal defense attorney can help an individual accused of domestic violence by thoroughly investigating any and all claims against him or her, and by questioning any evidence offered by prosecutors. In doing so, the accused, along side his or her attorney, can decide on a legal course that will be of most benefit for the situation at hand.
Source: nbc26.tv, "New law & task force expected to lower South Carolina's domestic violence rate", Robert Kittle, Sept. 8, 2015