five common domestic violence defenses
five common domestic violence defenses

Our nation’s courts take domestic violence charges extremely seriously. Relationships are complicated and both men and women can also be victims of domestic violence. Experts believe that the coronavirus pandemic has caused an increase in domestic violence cases across the country. With job loss and other economic challenges, tensions are on the rise between family members. 

While prosecutors should take domestic violence charges incredibly seriously, false accusations of domestic violence do happen. When someone mistakenly or unjustly accuses someone else of domestic violence, the defendant’s professional and personal lives are at stake. It is incredibly important to hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer who understands the following common domestic violence defenses. 

  1. Lack of Proof

Domestic violence cases often come down to a “he said/she said” situation. In most cases, the majority of evidence in domestic violence cases consists of victim and witness statements. In some cases, a fight does occur, but only escalates into angry screaming and finger-pointing, which is not enough to rise to the crime of domestic violence. Thus, in many domestic abuse cases, you will be able to poke holes in the story. In criminal cases, the prosecution has the burden of proof. 

They must prove all of the elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. Experienced defense lawyers can poke holes in the prosecutor’s case, showing the judge and jury that the prosecutor has not met his or her burden of proof. If the prosecutor cannot prove the crime, the jury will find the defendant not guilty. The more time defendant’s lawyers spend investigating the case, the more evidence they can typically find to make arguments for lack of evidence. 

  1. Deliberately False Accusations

Unfortunately, men and women have falsely accused a spouse or partner of domestic violence purposefully. Sometimes, in child custody and divorce cases, one spouse will make false accusations against a spouse or partner in order to bolster their own position in custody or divorce proceedings. For example, a mother who is seeking sole custody may make a false domestic violence claim in order to keep her children close. 

The best way to defend against deliberately false domestic violence accusations is to find inconsistencies in the plaintiff’s testimony of what happened to prove that he or she is lying. Defendants can do so by comparing police reports against eyewitness accounts. If the case proceeds to a trial without a plea bargain, your defense lawyer can cross-examine the person who is making domestic violence accusations against you. 

  1. Law Enforcement Officers are Charging the Wrong Suspect

In some cases, domestic violence victims accuse the wrong perpetrator. They either make this mistake or on purpose for their own personal reasons. When victims identify the wrong abuser, it is extremely important to gather as much evidence as possible. Your defense team will need to prove that you had an alibi when the alleged domestic violence incident happened. Doing so will prove that you could not have been at the scene of the domestic violence incident.

  1. Self-Defense

The court system is often extremely harsh when it comes to domestic violence cases. Unfortunately, domestic violence is often messy. Many domestic violence disputes involve two or more people who are both lashing out. When law enforcement officers arrive at the scene of a crime, they often cannot figure out who actually committed a crime. Similarly, they often do not have a clear understanding of who was at fault and whether one person who was involved was engaged in self-defense. 

Every state recognizes a person’s right to self-defense. Anybody who is placed in a dangerous situation must be able to protect themselves from injuries and death. Even if someone is harming you, you always have the right to protect yourself through reasonable force. 

If you used self-defense during a domestic violence incident, you will need to prove that your safety was in imminent danger. You will also need to prove that you were justified in causing physical harm because you were just protecting yourself. 

If you need to make a self-defense claim in a domestic violence dispute, you will have an uphill battle to protect your rights. You will not be appearing as a victim in front of the judge and jury, but rather, you will be seen as the domestic violence offender. The sooner you speak with an experienced criminal defense lawyer to develop your legal defense, the better. 

The Definition of Domestic Violence

Domestic violence involves causing injury or harm to a household member, or threatening or attempting to cause harm or injury to a household member while being able to carry out the threat of attempted harm. Violating a domestic violence protection order, or trespassing in a domestic violence shelter is also a crime. 

Only certain relationships are considered domestic violence crimes, including spouses, former spouses, people who parent children together, and people of the opposite sex who live together, or who have lived together. Domestic violence crimes that are particularly aggressive are called “domestic violence of a high and aggravated nature.” If you are charged with that crime, it is even more important that you contact an experienced lawyer as soon as possible. 

Domestic violence crimes can be charged as misdemeanors and felonies. The penalties for domestic violence are serious, and the penalties for aggravated domestic violence are even more severe. The penalties include five years of imprisonment. The facts of the case will determine how prosecutors charge the defendant. 

Contact Our Experienced Domestic Violence Lawyers as Soon as Possible

Domestic violence convictions can be devastating for you and your family. At Bannon Law Group, LLC, our skilled domestic violence lawyers are here to help. We will gather evidence and determine which defenses will be the most valuable in your case. If someone has accused you of domestic violence, contact our law firm today to schedule your initial consultation.

five reasons you need an attorney for your real estate transaction

The coronavirus pandemic has made the real estate market somewhat unpredictable. Nonetheless, South Carolina residents have continued buying and selling homes and commercial real estate. Buying or selling property in South Carolina can be an extremely rewarding experience. Whether you are hoping to retire and live in your dream home, invest in a rental or commercial property, or purchase your first home, hiring an experienced lawyer can be extremely worthwhile. 

The process of buying and selling real estate can also be stressful and complicated. You might have many questions, including whether you are making a smart investment. You might also wonder what will happen if the seller or buyer backs out of the deal. If you are investing a significant amount of your savings, you could be wondering how you will be protected if something goes wrong. Hiring an experienced real estate lawyer can help you rest assured that your assets are protected.

Your Attorney Will Offer You Unbiased Advice on Your Real Estate Transaction

If you are hiring an attorney to represent you, you will benefit from the unbiased advice of your lawyer. Lawyers owe their clients a legal duty to protect their best interests. Real estate agents might consider their clients’ interest, but they do not have the same type of legal duty as attorneys. Attorneys owe their clients a duty of confidentiality, meaning they cannot share details about your case to other people without your permission. In other words, your attorney will be able to give you unbiased, confidential advice that is solely in your best interest.

South Carolina Real Estate Transactions are Extremely Complicated

Many real estate transactions are not straightforward. Your transaction could face buy-leasebacks, contingencies, and concessions. Experienced South Carolina real estate lawyers can help you make sure that you understand all of the terms in your real estate contracts. They will thoroughly review your sales contract to make sure there are not any provisions that can harm you in the future. 

Many real estate agents use boiler-plate, generic sales contracts. At Bannon Law Group, LLC, our lawyers ensure that your real estate contract is tailored to your specific transaction and ensures that you are legally protected. Again, your lawyer will have a duty to protect your best legal interests and will focus on doing so. 

The Property Could Have Serious Legal Issues

We have all heard horror stories about people buying homes only to find out that there were serious and expensive legal issues involved with the home. At Bannon Law Group, LLC, we take the time to investigate the terms of purchase, as well as the legal status of the property. If there are easements, liens, zoning restrictions, or title defects, we will find them and make you aware of them. 

Additionally, we will advise you of your options for how to navigate these issues, and whether they are severe enough that you should look for another property. If you do not want to look for another property, we can negotiate with the seller or buyer of the property to possibly offset the expense or challenge of the legal issue. 

We can Help You Save a Real Estate Deal That Might Fall Through

Say you have gotten all of your ducks in a row and put in an offer on your dream property. You are hoping to close in two weeks or less and move into your dream home. Suddenly, an issue arises and it seems like your entire deal will fall through. Perhaps you are a business owner and a property you have had your eye on has finally opened up. You need to buy the property at this exact location, as it is perfect for your business. You make an offer and the seller comes back with an offer that is so high, you could never accept.

In these types of situations, having an experienced lawyer on your side can help tremendously. There is usually a window of opportunity in which you can save a real estate deal. An attorney with extensive experience will be able to help you negotiate a better deal before you consider walking away. If you desire to do so, an attorney can help you get your real estate deal back on track.

Your Attorney can Help You Take Legal Action, Should it Become Necessary

In many cases, no serious legal disputes come up during a real estate transaction. However, there are many different moving parts when it comes to commercial and residential transactions. With all of these, it can be necessary for an attorney to become involved in the process. If your real estate transaction begins to go sideways, your experienced lawyer can help you understand your legal options and provide you with guidance on whether or not you should take legal action against the other party in the transaction. 

You Have a Complicated Real Estate Situation

In some cases, you will need a real estate agent from the start of your transaction. By hiring a lawyer from the outset of a complicated real estate deal, you can help prevent other major problems from happening. Your lawyer will review the situation in an attempt to foresee any problems and respond to problems properly and in a timely manner. These situations include the following:

  • A trust owns the house you are selling
  • You are selling a house due to a divorce
  • A family member is purchasing your property 
  • The property has a lien or judgment against it
  • There are tenants still living in the home

Contact Our Experienced Real Estate Lawyers Today

Hiring a real estate lawyer for your South Carolina real estate transactions can save you significant time and money. At Bannon Law Group, LLC, we have helped many clients in Bluffton, South Carolina, and the surrounding area. Call us today at (843) 865-8922 to schedule your initial consultation.

facing dui charges in south carolina during the coronavirus pandemic

The stress and tension caused by the coronavirus pandemic have resulted in some South Carolina residents drinking more alcohol than normal. Many families have been confined to their houses for over two months. People around South Carolina and the United States have also seen massive job loss, with over 33 million Americans filing for unemployment since the start of the Coronavirus outbreak. The uncertain economic future of many South Carolina residents might lead them to make decisions they would not normally make, resulting in DUI charges

Have DUI Arrests Increased During the Coronavirus Pandemic?

South Carolina DUI arrests have dropped dramatically since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Charleston, South Carolina police have reported that the COVID-19 pandemic is causing a drop in DUI arrests for driving while under the influence of alcohol. The numbers are likely down because the bars have been closed due to shut-down orders during the pandemic. 

There are also fewer drivers on the road. While some law enforcement agencies have noticed a decline in DUI arrests, law enforcement are still making DUI arrests during this uncertain time. The North Charleston Police Department has reported an increase in DUI arrests, however. 

Defendants Face DUI Charges and Coronavirus-Related Charges

A Midlands, South Carolina, man is facing criminal charges for violating South Carolina’s “home or work” order. He crashed his motor vehicle into a residential home during the first week of April. Nobody was injured in the accident, even though one person was inside the house at the time of the crash, but extensive property damage occurred. Law enforcement cited the man for violating South Carolina’s stay at home order. 

The order requires people to stay at home unless they are an essential worker who is going to work or tending to their other essential needs. South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster issued the stay at home order as an executive order. Law enforcement also charged the man with a DUI. They suspected that alcohol use was involved in the crash. If a jury convicts the man of violating the stay at home order and a DUI, he will face serious penalties including jail time and fines. 

South Carolina Courts Are Backlogged Due to Coronavirus 

All courts in South Carolina shut down for over a week in the middle of March. The Chief Justice then issued some guidance regarding how South Carolina courts can proceed with their operations. The courts have slowly reopened. They are operating somewhat normally, with a few exceptions. Any hearings that require defendants to be physically present at trial, such as in jury trials, have been canceled. Additionally, any hearings that require an attorney to directly examine or cross-examine a witness have been canceled. 

Courts are looking at each criminal case individually. If you have been charged with a DUI in South Carolina, you have a constitutional right to a trial in front of a jury of your peers. The courts have stopped holding jury trials as of right now, creating a serious backlog of DUI cases. 

Defendants Held in Prison are Concerned About Becoming Infected

Some South Carolina residents who have been charged with a DUI or convicted of a DUI and who are waiting to get out on bond or on parole are stuck in jails due to the slow down in the court system. Sitting in a crowded South Carolina jail can be dangerous because of the high transmissibility rate of coronavirus. 

The South Carolina Legislature will return on Tuesday to decide on whether it will pass additional laws to deal with the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic. It remains to be seen if they will pass any legislation that will aid people in South Carolina jails who are seeking to get out on parole or those who are awaiting a trial. 

So far, the South Carolina judicial system has issued its own rulings and policies regarding coronavirus. We are unsure as of right now when South Carolina courts will begin hearing jury trials again for DUI charges

Your Rights as a DUI Defendant During the Coronavirus Pandemic

The DUI laws in South Carolina have not changed during the coronavirus pandemic. If anything, law enforcement officers are more prone to making arrests when they do see a suspicious driver. There are significantly fewer drivers on the road due to the shutdown order. This makes it easier for law enforcement to spot a potential DUI.

During the pandemic, many things have changed, but your rights as a defendant have not changed. South Carolina residents are still entitled to all of their constitutional rights. Law enforcement must have reasonable suspicion that the driver is committing a crime to pull a vehicle over. If they do not, your defense lawyer can request that the judge dismiss your charges because they are unconstitutional.

Additionally, you have a right to a speedy trial under the fifth amendment of the Constitution. Should the coronavirus pandemic continue to drag onward, it is possible that defendants could raise a legal defense under this provision of the constitution. Defendants should not have to wait in dangerous jail systems for months before their trial date, even during a pandemic. After all, our constitutional rights are more important than ever during a crisis.

Contact an Experienced South Carolina DUI Lawyer

For those who are facing a DUI charge in South Carolina, we recommend hiring a skilled DUI lawyer as soon as possible. Now, more than ever, you need someone fighting for your rights who gives your case the undivided attention it deserves. 
If you are currently being held in jail waiting to get out on bail, the lawyers at Bannon Law Group, LLC can help you petition the court and fight to get out of prison to decrease your chances of becoming infected with the coronavirus. Wherever you are in the criminal procedure process, our lawyers can help fight for your rights. Contact us today to schedule your initial consultation.