Where passion meets protection

Thompson & Hiller Defense Firm

Look no further: Thompson and Hiller are your trusted allies in navigating the complexities of criminal justice in Columbia, SC

Call Today for A Free Consultation


Lacey Thompson

When it comes to criminal defense in Lexington, Columbia, and Myrtle Beach, Lacey Thompson is the advocate you want in your corner. With a career dedicated solely to defending the accused, Lacey brings unparalleled dedication and a unique perspective to every case. A proud member of the South Carolina Bar, she’s not just an attorney—she’s a tireless champion for justice. Choose Lacey Thompson and experience the peace of mind that comes from having a true legal craftsman on your side.

Laura Hiller

When facing criminal charges in South Carolina, you need an attorney who knows the system inside and out. Meet Laura Hiller, a dedicated SC Criminal Defense Attorney with a track record of success. Since 2008, Laura has focused solely on defending the rights of the accused. A graduate of Charleston School of Law and a respected member of the SCACDL, she brings a wealth of experience and a passion for justice to every case. Choose Laura Hiller, and gain an advocate who will fight tirelessly for you.

South Carolina Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
Lacey Thompson Clients Choice Award
South Carolina Bar
Lacey Thompson Review Avvo Badge

Accomplished in Criminal Defense, we provide relentless advocacy and personalized strategies to safeguard your rights and secure the best possible outcome. Our experienced legal team understands the complexities of the criminal justice system and is dedicated to fighting for you every step of the way. Whether you’re facing charges for DUI, drug offenses, domestic violence, theft, or other criminal matters, we tailor our approach to meet the unique needs of your case. With a proven track record, we employ innovative defense tactics and thorough investigations to challenge the prosecution’s evidence and protect your future. Our commitment to personalized attention ensures you receive the support and guidance needed during this challenging time. Learn more about the areas we serve, including the Midlands and the Grand Strand, and how we can help you navigate the legal process with confidence and clarity.

Polite people and on top of there job.. if I'm ever in need I will definitely use there services again ???????? thanks again
Kid Grizzly
Kid Grizzly
May 31, 2024
I 100000% recommend this attorney! She was so wonderful and helpful. She went to bat for us with our best interest in mind. I will forever save this contact. Thanks again for all that you do.
Gina Parker
Gina Parker
May 15, 2024
Thompson & Hiller handled my case expertly. Their rates are very reasonable and their staff are wonderful to work with. I can’t recommend them enough!
Jason Ford
Jason Ford
April 9, 2024
Emily Guthrie
Emily Guthrie
November 17, 2023
They were simply put AMAZING‼️ No time wasted… GOT IT DONE! Mindi was great at keeping me posted every step of the way. Though they got it taken care immediately so there wasn’t much correspondence lol. HIGHLY RECOMMEND????????. Thank you again!
Justin Xavier
Justin Xavier
December 30, 2021
Let me first start off by saying, that these folks here are truly as professional as they come! Mindi, the paralegal is by far the most responsive, knowledgeable, and personable person I’ve ever had the pleasure of dealing with in any law firm! They truly worked hard to get my speeding ticket (30 mph over the speed limit) dismissed, which is unheard of where I am from up North. Due to CoVid and other restrictions my case kept getting pushed till over a year later. In that time frame, Mindi kept assuring me that everything is fine from their end and once they go to court she will let me know. I was able to communicate with Mindi and the law firm via email and phone, I never had to go to their office or even court. I spoke to many attorney offices when I received the citation and never felt at ease or comfortable with any of the other ones. They truly are great from communication to their solid work ethic. You would really be doing yourself a disservice if you don’t work them! And by the way, I am never one to write reviews, however with this particular level of service I had too!
Albee Rizk
Albee Rizk
August 26, 2021
After my case was settled I needed some documentations from my deposition and they were very helpful even though our engagement was over 2 years ago. Excellent firm, if you are in a tight spot they are your go to
jahmoy stjacques
jahmoy stjacques
December 3, 2020
Very helpful and friendly from the start. Thank you
Jon Ward
Jon Ward
November 17, 2020
Very impressed with Thompson's responsiveness, genuine willingness to help. She provided great information during our phone consultation regarding a traffic violation as an out of state resident. She went out of her way to provide me with tailored advice. I quickly realized I could trust her. Highly recommend!
David Lee
David Lee
November 12, 2019

 Thompson & Hiller Defense Firm-
Where Passion Meets Protection

We are a criminal defense firm dedicated to providing exceptional legal representation. Our team is committed to delivering understanding and compassionate service, ensuring tailored legal advice for every unique case.

Why Choose Us:

  • Experienced Women-Owned Firm: Leadership that brings diversity, strength, and a unique perspective to every case.
  • Community Advocates: Deeply committed to defending and supporting our local community with unwavering dedication.
  • Personalized Legal Strategies: Customized defense plans that address the specific needs and circumstances of each client.
  • Compassionate Representation: Offering empathetic support and clear communication throughout the entire legal process.

Results That Matter

At Thompson and Hiller, our commitment to excellence is reflected in every case we handle. We have a proven history of achieving successful outcomes, defending our clients’ rights with precision and passion. Whether in the courtroom or through strategic negotiations, our results demonstrate our relentless pursuit of justice for those we serve.

State v. J.T.

Hit and Run with Death – Dismissed at the preliminary hearing. The judge determined there was No Probable Cause based on the evidence presented. The state determined they would not directly indict.

August 2023

State v. K.C.

K.C. was charged with driving under the influence (DUI). The charge was dismissed before trial.

February 2021

State v. S.A.

Domestic Violence 2nd degree – Dismissed at preliminary hearing. After testimony by the State, the attorney made a motion to dismiss. The judge granted the defense motion, determined no probable cause, and dismissed it.

July 2023

State v. H.H

H. H. was charged with malicious damage to personal property and grand larceny. The grand larceny charge was dismissed before picking a General Sessions Jury after discussions with the prosecutor. The malicious damage charge was dismissed after picking a jury in magistrate court.

August 2021

State v. M.B.

M.B. was charged with malicious damage to personal property. Case was dismissed at the bench trial after motion of Defense Attorney.

August 2021

State v. R.W.

Defendant was charged with burglary in the first degree. The charge was dismissed after defense attorney interviewed potential witnesses, collected statements from witnesses, and negotiated with the Solicitor.

July 2021

State v. W.V.

W.V. was charged with domestic violence in the 2nd degree. The case was dismissed after negotiations with the prosecutor.

July 2021

Meet our Firm

Leading our team with years of experience and a proven track record of success are Laura Thompson and Lacey Hiller, our founding attorneys, alongside Caroline Latimer, a distinguished member of our legal team. Laura and Lacey are deeply passionate about helping clients from all walks of life and are known for their approachable and understanding nature. Caroline Latimer brings her own wealth of knowledge and dedication, further strengthening our commitment to providing personalized and compassionate defense. Whether facing minor misdemeanors or serious felonies, our attorneys ensure every client feels comfortable and supported.

At Thompson and Hiller, we believe in the power of teamwork. Our attorneys, paralegals, and support staff work together seamlessly to develop robust defense strategies tailored to each client’s unique needs. We pride ourselves on our quick and caring response time, addressing your concerns promptly and providing the support you need. Our collaborative approach ensures every aspect of your case is handled with the utmost care and attention, maximizing your chances of a favorable outcome. Trust us to be your steadfast allies in the pursuit of justice, defending your rights with integrity and dedication.

Lacey Thompson

Lacey Thompson


Laura Hiller

Laura Hiller


Caroline Latimer

Caroline Latimer


Paige Hale

Paige Hale


Mindi Ellison

Mindi Ellison


What do Criminal Defense Lawyers do?

At Thompson & Hiller Defense Firm, we are the strategists behind the scenes, crafting well-researched defenses while safeguarding the constitutional rights of the accused. As experienced legal professionals, we take on the arduous task of representing and advising individuals who face criminal charges in Columbia, South Carolina. Our roles encompass a broad spectrum of responsibilities that uphold the principles of justice.

A South Carolina criminal defense lawyer can provide indispensable legal advice to help clients understand the charges against them, the available defenses, and the potential plea bargains and sentences they may encounter. In the courtroom, the presence of a Columbia criminal attorney translates into robust representation on behalf of the accused. Before the judge or jury is where we demonstrate our experience and skills in crafting a persuasive defense strategy crucial to our clients’ cases.

Here’s an overview:

  • Legal Advice: We break down complex legal jargon and advise on the best course of action.
  • Courtroom Representation: We stand as an advocate for our clients, presenting evidence and arguments to dismiss the complaint or lower the penalty.
  • Crafting a Legal Defense Strategy: Devising comprehensive strategies to defend our clients effectively is our primary job.
  • Gathering Evidence: Our legal team conducts thorough investigations and gathers evidence that supports our defense strategy.
  • Negotiations with the Prosecutor: Engaging in plea bargaining to potentially reduce charges or penalties for the accused requires skills and experience from the best criminal defense attorneys.

At Thompson & Hiller Defense Firm, our approach is anchored in professional integrity. We meticulously prepare for battle in the legal arena, aligning our defense strategies with the universal principles of justice. With each case we undertake, our goal remains unwavering: to provide a fortress of defense for our clients while steering them through the intricacies of the legal system.

Have you been charged with a criminal offense in Columbia, South Carolina? It’s a situation that could leave anyone feeling uncertain about their future. At Thompson & Hiller Defense Firm, we understand how pivotal finding the right legal representation is for your peace of mind and the outcome of your case.

How to Reach Us:

  • Phone: For immediate assistance, call 803-859-4117.
  • Email: If you prefer to write, send us an email, info@thompsonhillerdefense.com
  • In-Person Consultation: Schedule a meeting to discuss your case in detail.

Consultation Hours:

  • Monday to Friday: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
  • Weekends: Closed
  • (Appointments outside these hours can be arranged on request.)

An initial consultation with an experienced attorney can provide crucial insights into the defense strategies pertinent to your case. Our office prides itself on being meticulous in our approach to each client’s unique situation. We’re diligent in our pursuit of justice and transparent in our communication, ensuring that you are well-informed throughout every stage of the legal process.

In facing criminal charges, the attorney you choose can make a significant difference. Contact us, and allow our Columbia criminal defense lawyers to guide you through these challenging times with professional legal care.

Protect Yourself:

Critical FAQs for Criminal Defense

Facing criminal charges can be overwhelming, but understanding your rights and the legal process is crucial to mounting a strong defense. At Thompson & Hiller Defense Firm, we’ve compiled the most critical questions and answers to help you navigate this challenging time. Our goal is to provide you with the information you need to make informed decisions about your case and your future.

Can the Police Track My Cell Phone?

Yes, in South Carolina, the police can track your cell phone, but they generally need a warrant to do so. Under the Fourth Amendment, you are protected against unreasonable searches and seizures, which includes the tracking of your cell phone. There are some exceptions, such as exigent circumstances where there is an immediate need to prevent harm or the destruction of evidence. If you believe your phone has been unlawfully tracked, contact a criminal defense attorney immediately.

Should I Talk to the Police if They Are Calling Me?

No, it is generally not advisable to speak with the police without first consulting an attorney. Anything you say can be used against you in court. If the police are calling you, you have the right to remain silent and should politely inform them that you will not speak without your attorney present. Contact Thompson & Hiller Defense Firm to discuss your situation and receive guidance on how to proceed.

When Are the Police Required to Read Me My Miranda Rights?

The police are required to read you your Miranda rights when you are in custody and about to be interrogated. This means that if you are not free to leave and the police intend to question you, they must inform you of your right to remain silent and your right to an attorney. If the police fail to do this, any statements you make may be inadmissible in court. Understanding your Miranda rights is crucial in protecting yourself during legal proceedings.

What Do I Do If I Have a Warrant for My Arrest?

If you have a warrant for your arrest, it is important to address the situation immediately. Contact a criminal defense attorney at Thompson & Hiller Defense Firm who can advise you on the best course of action. Turning yourself in voluntarily, with legal representation, can sometimes result in more favorable conditions than being arrested unexpectedly. Your attorney can also help negotiate bail and prepare your defense.

How Do I Find an Attorney That Will Take My Case?

Finding the right attorney is critical to your defense. Start by looking for attorneys who specialize in criminal defense and have experience with cases similar to yours. At Thompson & Hiller Defense Firm, we offer free consultations to discuss your case and determine how we can assist you. Look for attorneys with strong reputations, positive client reviews, and a track record of success in criminal defense. Contact us today to learn how we can help you navigate your legal challenges.


Committed to Your Rights

At Thompson & Hiller, we are solely dedicated to criminal defense. Our attorneys have always been on your side, crafting defenses with a deep understanding of the tactics used by the opposition. Our unwavering commitment to protecting your rights ensures you receive a robust and insightful defense tailored to your needs.


Dedicated DUI Defense Attorneys

Thompson & Hiller offers a dedicated and strategic approach to DUI defense in South Carolina. Our attorneys are here to provide the support and guidance you need, fighting for your rights and a fair outcome in your case. With over a decade of experience and a deep understanding of South Carolina DUI laws, we tailor our defense strategies to each client’s unique situation. Our firm prides itself on clear communication, thorough preparation, and an unwavering commitment to your defense. Choose Thompson & Hiller for a trusted partner who will stand by you through every step of the legal process, ensuring that your case is handled with the utmost professionalism and care.

Need DUI Help in Columbia?

Start with Thompson & Hiller’s FAQ

Get Answers to Your Most Pressing DUI Questions and Navigate the Legal Process with Confidence.

Can a DUI charge be reduced or dismissed?

Yes, with a strong defense, it is possible to have a DUI charge reduced or dismissed. Factors include the circumstances of your arrest, the evidence, and any violations of your rights during the arrest process.

How does a DUI affect my criminal record?

A DUI conviction will appear on your criminal record, potentially impacting future employment opportunities, professional licenses, and other aspects of your life. It is crucial to seek legal representation to mitigate these consequences.

What are the long-term consequences of a DUI conviction?

Long-term consequences include difficulty obtaining employment, increased insurance costs, and potential travel restrictions to certain countries. A conviction can also affect your professional reputation and personal relationships.

What defenses are available in a DUI case?

South Carolina’s implied consent law requires you to take a breath, blood, or urine test if an officer requests it. Refusing to take these tests can result in an automatic license suspension of six months, regardless of the actual DUI outcome.

How can I get my driver's license reinstated after a DUI?

Reinstatement procedures vary but typically include completing an alcohol education program, paying fines, and meeting other state-specific requirements. You may also need to install an Ignition Interlock Device (IID).

What is an Ignition Interlock Device, and will I need one?

If the police did not read your Miranda rights, any statements made during interrogation may be inadmissible in court. This could significantly affect the prosecution’s case against you, but it does not automatically result in dismissal.

Are there additional penalties for DUI with a minor in the vehicle?

Yes, having a minor in the vehicle at the time of a DUI arrest can result in enhanced penalties, including higher fines and longer jail sentences. This is due to the increased risk posed to the minor’s safety.

How does a DUI affect commercial drivers?

Commercial drivers face stricter BAC limits (0.04%) and more severe penalties for DUI, including loss of their commercial driver’s license (CDL). A DUI conviction can significantly impact their livelihood.

What are the costs associated with a DUI conviction?

Costs can include fines, legal fees, increased insurance premiums, and costs for alcohol education programs or IID installation. The financial impact can be significant and long-lasting.

Can I expunge a DUI from my record?

Expungement of a DUI from your record is typically not possible in South Carolina. The conviction will remain on your criminal record permanently, affecting your future opportunities.

How can I prevent a DUI charge in the future?

To prevent a DUI charge in the future, always designate a sober driver, use rideshare services, or arrange alternative transportation if you plan to drink. It’s also helpful to understand and respect the legal alcohol limits in your area.

What should I do if my DUI case goes to trial?

If your DUI case goes to trial, it’s crucial to have experienced legal representation. Your attorney will present evidence, cross-examine witnesses, and make legal arguments on your behalf to challenge the prosecution’s case.

When should I contact a DUI attorney?

You should contact a DUI attorney immediately after your arrest. Early involvement can help preserve your driving privileges and provide a strong defense strategy. An attorney can also guide you through the complexities of the legal process from the outset.

Can you represent college students facing DUI charges?

Yes, we represent students from Columbia-area colleges and universities. We understand the unique challenges students face and provide legal support tailored to their circumstances. Our goal is to minimize the impact on their academic and personal lives.

How much alcohol can I legally consume before driving?

The legal limit in South Carolina is a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of 0.08% for most drivers. The amount of alcohol required to reach this limit varies based on factors such as weight, gender, and metabolism. It’s safest to avoid drinking if you plan to drive.

Do I have to take a breath, blood, or urine test if stopped by the police?

South Carolina’s implied consent law requires you to take a breath, blood, or urine test if an officer requests it. Refusing to take these tests can result in an automatic license suspension of six months, regardless of the actual DUI outcome.

Can I refuse to take a field sobriety test?

Yes, field sobriety tests are voluntary in South Carolina. You have the right to refuse these tests without immediate legal consequences. However, refusal may be used against you in court as evidence of impairment.

What happens if I was not read my Miranda rights during my DUI arrest?

If the police did not read your Miranda rights, any statements made during interrogation may be inadmissible in court. This could significantly affect the prosecution’s case against you, but it does not automatically result in dismissal.

What should I do if I live in another state and was arrested for DUI in South Carolina?

If you live out of state, you still need to address the DUI charge in South Carolina. Your home state may also enforce penalties due to interstate agreements. It’s crucial to hire an attorney who can represent you in South Carolina courts.

How can a DUI affect my driving record and insurance rates?

A DUI conviction can lead to increased insurance rates and long-term impacts on your driving record. Your insurance premiums may skyrocket, and the DUI can stay on your record for ten years, affecting future employment and travel opportunities.

What are the penalties for a first-time DUI offense?

Penalties for a first-time DUI offense in South Carolina include fines up to $400, jail time ranging from 48 hours to 30 days, and a six-month license suspension. Additional penalties apply if the BAC is 0.15% or higher.

Can I challenge the results of a breathalyzer test?

Yes, breathalyzer test results can be challenged based on improper administration, faulty equipment, or medical conditions affecting the results. An experienced DUI attorney can identify and leverage these defenses in court.

What should I do if I am stopped at a DUI checkpoint?

Remain calm, provide your license and registration, and comply with the officer’s requests. You are not required to answer questions about your activities or consumption of alcohol. Politely decline to take field sobriety tests.

Your ALly in Domestic Violence Defense

At Thompson & Hiller, we are committed to defending your rights against domestic violence charges. Our knowledgeable attorneys will work tirelessly to build a strong case and support you throughout the legal process. With years of experience and a deep understanding of South Carolina’s domestic violence laws, we tailor our defense strategies to meet your specific needs. Our firm prioritizes clear communication, ensuring you are informed at every stage of your case. We understand the emotional and legal complexities involved, and we are here to provide unwavering support, from your initial consultation to the final resolution. Trust Thompson & Hiller to be your steadfast advocate, dedicated to achieving the best possible outcome for your situation.

First Degree Domestic Violence

First-degree domestic violence is a serious charge that involves inflicting great bodily injury (GBI) on the victim or actions likely to result in such injury. It can also occur when a second-degree domestic violence charge is elevated due to certain aggravating factors. These factors include:

  • Violating a protective order
  • Committing the act in the presence of a minor
  • Knowing or should have known the victim was present
  • Using force or threats to prevent the victim from calling for help
  • Occurring during a robbery, burglary, kidnapping, or theft
  • Impeding the victim’s breathing or airflow

A conviction for first-degree domestic violence carries severe penalties, including a potential jail sentence of up to ten years. Understanding the gravity of these charges and the impact they can have on your life is crucial. If you are facing such charges, Thompson & Hiller is here to provide the robust defense and unwavering support you need.

Second Degree Domestic Violence

Second-degree domestic violence, according to South Carolina law, involves inflicting moderate bodily injury (MBI) on the victim or engaging in actions likely to cause MBI. A third-degree domestic violence charge can be elevated to second-degree if certain aggravating factors are present. These factors include:

– Violating a protective order
– Committing the act in the presence of a minor
– Knowing or should have known the victim was present
– Using force or threats to prevent the victim from calling for help
– Occurring during a robbery, burglary, kidnapping, or theft
– Impeding the victim’s breathing or airflow

As outlined in the South Carolina Code of Laws §16-25-20, a conviction for second-degree domestic violence can lead to a jail term of up to three years and/or a fine ranging from $2,500 to $5,000. Understanding the gravity of these charges and their potential impact on your life is essential. At Thompson & Hiller, we provide the robust defense and dedicated support you need to navigate these challenging circumstances.

Third Degree Domestic Violence

Third-degree domestic violence, as defined by South Carolina law, involves causing physical harm or injury to a household member, or threatening to cause harm in a manner that reasonably places the victim in fear of imminent peril. This charge can also include minor injuries or actions that could cause such injuries.

Under South Carolina Code of Laws §16-25-20, a conviction for third-degree domestic violence can result in penalties including up to 90 days in jail and/or a fine between $1,000 and $2,500. The key elements of third-degree domestic violence include:

– Physical harm or injury to a household member
– Threats of harm that place the victim in fear of imminent danger

Facing third-degree domestic violence charges can be a daunting experience. At Thompson & Hiller, we understand the legal complexities and emotional strain associated with these charges. Our attorneys are dedicated to providing a thorough defense, protecting your rights, and guiding you through the legal process with clarity and compassion.

Criminal Domestic Violence of a High and Aggravated Nature

Criminal domestic violence of a high and aggravated nature (DVHAN) represents the most severe category of domestic violence charges under South Carolina law. This charge applies when:

– The assault or battery involves the use of a deadly weapon or results in serious bodily injury.
– The assault or battery would cause a reasonable person to fear imminent death.

According to South Carolina Code of Laws §16-25-65, DVHAN is classified as a felony. A conviction can result in a prison sentence ranging from 1 to 20 years, with a mandatory minimum of one year that cannot be suspended. The judge has the discretion to suspend the remainder of the sentence, contingent on the defendant’s completion of a treatment program.

Understanding the gravity and implications of a DVHAN charge is crucial. At Thompson & Hiller, we are committed to providing a strong and strategic defense to protect your rights. Our experienced attorneys will guide you through every step of the legal process, ensuring you receive comprehensive support and the best possible outcome.

Domestic Violence Charges in Columbia?
Find Guidance with Thompson & Hiller’s FAQ

Learn About Your Rights and Options When Facing Domestic Violence Charges.

What constitutes domestic violence in South Carolina?

Domestic violence in South Carolina involves physical harm or threats of harm to a household member, including spouses, former spouses, people with whom you share a child, and cohabitants. The charges can range from simple assault to more severe forms, depending on the severity of the harm and the circumstances of the incident.

What are the penalties for a domestic violence conviction?

Penalties for domestic violence in South Carolina vary by the degree of the offense. A first-degree conviction can result in up to ten years in prison, while third-degree offenses may lead to up to 90 days in jail. Enhanced penalties apply if the offense involved aggravating factors such as using a deadly weapon.

Can a domestic violence charge be expunged from my record?

Expungement of domestic violence charges in South Carolina is possible under certain conditions, typically if the charges are dismissed or you are found not guilty. Convictions for domestic violence generally cannot be expunged, impacting your criminal record permanently.

What should I do if I am falsely accused of domestic violence?

If falsely accused, it’s crucial to remain calm and contact a criminal defense attorney immediately. Avoid violating any protective orders, document any evidence that supports your innocence, and follow your attorney’s advice. Your lawyer will help build a defense strategy to challenge the false allegations.

How can an attorney help in a domestic violence case?

An experienced attorney can provide crucial support by investigating the allegations, gathering evidence, negotiating with prosecutors, and representing you in court. They can identify weaknesses in the prosecution’s case and work to achieve the best possible outcome, whether through dismissal, reduced charges, or acquittal.

What is a protective order, and how does it affect me?

A protective order, also known as a restraining order, legally requires you to stay away from the alleged victim. Violating this order can result in additional criminal charges. Protective orders can impact your living situation, child custody arrangements, and ability to possess firearms.

What are the long-term consequences of a domestic violence conviction?

A domestic violence conviction can have severe long-term consequences, including loss of gun rights, difficulties in finding employment, and negative impacts on child custody and divorce proceedings. It can also damage your reputation and personal relationships

Can domestic violence charges be dropped by the victim?

While the victim can request to drop the charges, the decision ultimately lies with the prosecutor. The state can proceed with the case even if the victim no longer wishes to pursue charges, based on the evidence and circumstances of the incident.

What defenses are available for domestic violence charges?

Common defenses include self-defense, lack of evidence, false accusations, and consent. An attorney will evaluate the specifics of your case to determine the most effective defense strategy.

How does the legal process for a domestic violence case work?

The legal process typically begins with an arrest, followed by a bail hearing, pretrial motions, and potentially a trial. Throughout this process, your attorney will advocate on your behalf, seeking to negotiate plea deals, file motions to dismiss, and represent you in court to achieve the best possible outcome.

What happens if I violate a restraining/protective order?

Violating a restraining or protective order is a serious offense that can lead to arrest and additional criminal charges, even if no further violence occurred. It is crucial to adhere strictly to the terms of the order to avoid these severe penalties.

Will I lose my job or professional license if convicted?

The consequences of a domestic violence conviction can extend to your professional life, particularly if you hold a professional license or work in sensitive positions. Employers may terminate employment based on a conviction, and licensing boards may take disciplinary actions.

How can I get a protective order lifted or modified?

To lift or modify a protective order, you must file a motion with the court that issued the order, demonstrating a significant change in circumstances. The court will review your request and determine whether the modification or termination is justified.

What are the immigration consequences of a domestic violence charge?

For non-citizens, certain domestic violence convictions can lead to deportation, denial of re-entry, or inadmissibility for future immigration benefits. It is crucial to consult with an attorney who understands immigration law to mitigate these risks.

Can I keep/purchase guns if charged with domestic violence?

Domestic violence charges can restrict your firearm rights. Federal and state laws may prohibit you from purchasing, possessing, or owning firearms if you are subject to a protective order or convicted of domestic violence.

What happens if the victim wants to drop charges later?

Even if the victim later changes their mind, the prosecutor has the discretion to continue with the charges based on the evidence. The state prosecutes domestic violence cases independently of the victim’s wishes.

Can I get charged with domestic violence against a same-sex partner?

Domestic violence laws in South Carolina apply equally to same-sex couples and relationships, not just traditional male-female marriages. Legal protections and consequences are the same regardless of the genders involved.

What happens during a domestic violence arrest?

During a domestic violence arrest, law enforcement will take you into custody, document the incident, and may issue a protective order. It is crucial to cooperate and refrain from making statements until you have legal representation. The arrest is typically followed by a bail hearing.

What are the different degrees of domestic violence charges?

South Carolina categorizes domestic violence into three degrees: first, second, and third. First-degree involves severe injury or use of a deadly weapon and carries the harshest penalties. Second-degree includes moderate injuries or violations of a protective order. Third-degree is the least severe but still serious, involving minor injuries or threats.

How can I defend against a domestic violence charge?

Defending against a domestic violence charge involves gathering evidence, such as witness statements, medical records, and any communication between you and the alleged victim. An experienced attorney will help develop a defense strategy that may include self-defense, lack of evidence, or false accusations.

Can I get custody/visitation of my children if convicted?

A domestic violence conviction can negatively impact child custody and visitation rights during divorce or separation proceedings. Courts often view domestic violence as a significant factor in determining the best interests of the child, making legal representation vital to protecting your parental rights.

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