CDV in SC: Was the Law Valid Before October of This Year?

Thousands of South Carolinians may have been arrested and imprisoned for CDV in SC using a law that is not valid.

According to Lexington defense lawyer Jim Snell, the SC criminal domestic violence law that has been used by police and prosecutors since 2015 did not have the state seal affixed to it and therefore is not valid.

Some might consider this a “technicality,” but it means that every criminal domestic violence arrest and conviction in South Carolina for the past several years is legally questionable.

Snell published an affidavit on Facebook from the SC Secretary of State that establishes this problem with the domestic violence law, and he points out that other laws addressing education, taxes, transportation, medical care, and real estate face similar issues.

Does it Matter if the SC CDV Law had the State Seal Affixed to It?

It might, but, ultimately, it’s going to be an issue for the SC Supreme Court to decide.

As Snell points out, “Article III, Section 18, of the South Carolina State Constitution requires that new laws have the State Seal affixed before they become final.” The seal was not affixed to the SC criminal domestic violence law until over two years after they began making arrests under the law.

Below is the affidavit from the Secretary of State confirming the date that the seal was affixed:

South Carolina Struggles with Domestic Violence Laws

The revelations of this new issue with SC’s domestic violence laws comes on the heels of another controversy caused when the SC legislature incorporated an unconstitutional exclusion of same-sex couples from the protections of SC’s criminal and civil domestic violence laws.

The SC Supreme Court initially issued an opinion “fixing” the unconstitutional statute by… continuing to exclude same-sex couples from the protections of SC’s criminal and civil domestic violence laws. They then withdrew their opinion and released a substituted opinion that declared the statutes unconstitutional as applied and ordered that same-sex couples be included in the statutes’ definitions.

What is Criminal Domestic Violence in SC?

South Carolina law says criminal domestic violence can occur between two household members who are or were married, who live together or used to live together, or who have a child together. This now includes partners in same-sex relationships.

If one household member harms another, threatens to cause immediate physical harm, or intimidates the alleged victim, they can be arrested and charged with criminal domestic violence. The law does not require actual violence – a threat can be enough to arrest someone.

CDV Defense Lawyers in Columbia, SC

If you are facing criminal domestic violence charges in SC, there may be a wide range of defenses available to get your case dismissed or to win your case at trial, including the State’s failure to affix the state seal to the CDV statute if you were charged before October 17, 2017.

The Thompson Defense Firm has offices in Columbia and Myrtle Beach, SC., and we only accept criminal defense cases.

We will get your case dismissed, find an acceptable resolution, or try your case to a jury. Call at 843-444-6122 or fill out our online contact form if you have questions or to set up a free initial consultation.

 

 

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