Restraining Orders in Charleston, South Carolina: What You Need to Know
How Does a Person Seek a Restraining Order?
If you cannot afford a family law or criminal defense lawyer and need protection, go to the Family Court Clerk of Court in your county. The Clerk can provide you with the necessary forms. There is no fee to file and some counties offer free legal services for those who cannot afford a family law or criminal defense attorney.
What Happens When We Get to Court?
After the petition is filed, a hearing will be scheduled. Some hearings are held within 24 hours, if the judge believes an emergency exists. When you attend this hearing, you must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that a household member committed physical harm, bodily injury, assault, the threat of physical harm, or sexual criminal offenses against you or someone in your care.
If you or your attorney successfully prove your case in court at the hearing, then the family court judge can choose to order any or all of the following conditions:
- Restraining the abuser from abusing, threatening, or molesting you or the person or persons in your case on whose behalf the petition was filed.
- Restraining the abuser from communicating or attempting to communicate with you or the person in your care in any form, and also from from entering or attempting to enter your home, your place of employment, your school, or any other place the judge deems necessary.
- Determining temporary custody and, possibly, visitation of any children you and the abuser share.
- Requiring the abuser to pay temporary child and/or spousal support.
- Granting temporary exclusive use of your residence to you.
- Prohibiting the transferring, destruction, or disposition of jointly owned property.
- Providing for temporary possession of personal property and ordering that the Sheriff will assist in the hand off of personal property.
- Requiring the abuser to pay for fees to your family law or criminal defense attorney.
What Happens if the Restraining Order is Granted?
If the order is granted, the judge will determine which limits will be placed upon the abuser. A family court order of protection will be enforced for at least for six months but for no more than one year. The restrained abuser will not be permitted to obtain a gun at any point while the order is still active.
If the abuser should violate the order in any way, there are two possible avenues:
- A charge of contempt of court, carrying up to one year in jail and/or $1,500 in fines.
2. A criminal charge carrying up to 30 days in jail, with or without a fine.
If you are the alleged abuser and you have an order of protection against you in Charlotte, South Carolina, it is paramount that you work with an experienced criminal defense attorney to avoid violations and further criminal charges. Call Sahn Law Firm – Attorneys at Law to minimize the damage today.