Are you being accused of domestic violence in South Carolina? If so, your alleged victim may have sought out an Order of Protection against you. Under South Carolina law, residents can ask the court for an Order of Protection if they are victims of abuse. "How does the state define abuse?" Abuse refers to any of the following:
- Bodily injury,
- Physical harm,
- Threat of physical harm, or
- A family or household member committing a sexual criminal offense.
Not just anyone can ask the court for an Order of Protection. In order for a victim to file for one, the victim must be related to the abuser in one of these ways:
- The abuser is a husband or wife or former spouse.
- The abuser is the mother or father of the victim's child.
- The abuser is of the opposite sex and they live with the victim or they used to live with the victim.
Suppose the victim is not related to the abuser in any of the above ways; for example, the victim is a female and her abuser was a female roommate. If the victim does not fall into the above categories and he or she has been subjected to some form of abuse, he or she will need to ask the magistrate's court for a restraining order.
What Can an Order of Protection Do to You?
Let's say that a judge issued an Order of Protection naming you as the victim's abuser. In that case, what can the order do to you? It can give the following relief to the alleged victim for six to twelve months:
- Order you to STOP the abuse.
- Order you not to threaten the victim.
- Restrain you from communicating with the victim in any fashion.
- Restrain you from going to the victim's home, work, school, or other places the judge includes in the order.
- Grantcustody of your children to the victim.
- Grant you visitation with your children.
- Require you to pay child support.
- Require you to pay alimony or spousal support.
- Order you to move out of your home.
- Award attorney fees to your victim.
- Order you to hand over your firearms.
Violating an Order of Protection is a crime, which can result in a bench warrant for your arrest, criminal charges, fines and incarceration. If an Order of Protection has been taken against you, contact our Columbia criminal defense firm for a legal defense!