Domestic violence is a serious family law issue. When you are the victim of domestic violence, it can seem like there is nowhere for you to turn for help. Some victims feel like they cannot leave their relationships because of love, or because they are dependent on their abuser in some way – possibly financially. However, no one should ever have to suffer through domestic violence. If you feel threatened, or your abuser has pushed you to the limit, there are ways for you to escape and put in place legal protections to help keep you safe from your abuser.
Domestic Violence Shelters
One way domestic violence victims overcome their struggle is by eventually calling the police on their abuser for help. When the police arrive at the home, they arrest the abuser and take them away. This gives the victim extra space and time to figure out what to do next. Many victims turn to domestic violence shelters for temporary lodging, protection and services. Once in the shelter, a victim is protected from their abuser by S.C. Ann. Code Section 16-25-125, which prohibits those who have been charged or convicted of acts of domestic violence from entering or staying at the same domestic violence shelter as the victim.
A victim of domestic violence can petition the court for an order of protection under S.C. Code Ann. Section 20-4-40. The court will schedule a hearing within 15 days of the petition, and if the request for the protection order is deemed to be valid and protection is warranted, the court will award the order. A violation of the protection order results in 30 days of jail or a fine of $200, and could even be considered contempt of court, which is punishable by up to a year in jail, a fine of $1,500 or both. Additionally, if you are a new resident to South Carolina, and you have a valid protection order from another state, you can seek enforcement of your out-of-state protection order.
Emergency Order Protection
In certain domestic violence situations, if the victim can demonstrate that there is an imminent present danger of bodily injury, the courts may award an emergency hearing to be conducted within 24 hours of the petition for a protection order and then an emergency order in accordance with S.C. Code Ann. Section 20-4-50. A full hearing will still need to be conducted within 15 days, but the emergency order will provide the victim with legal protection immediately.
Contacting a Charleston Family Law Attorney
There are ways to protect yourself and get away from someone who is committing acts of domestic violence against you. When you are ready, an experienced family law lawyer can help you with your domestic violence legal matters. Please contact the experienced Charleston family law attorneys at Sarji Law Firm, LLC today. We can be reached by calling 843-323-4341.