When someone is arrested for domestic violence (CDV) in South Carolina pursuant to a violation of S.C. Code 16-25-10 they will be taken before a Magistrate for the setting of bond. Bond is more than money that must be posted or guaranteed for release, it also may include other restrictions determined by the Court to be necessary to protect those involved in the defendant’s case. Bond is set in misdemeanor cases and in South Carolina’s felony domestic violance offense of CDVHAN.
In a South Carolina domestic violence cases a routine requirement set by the Bond Court is that the defendant is to have no contact with the alleged victim in his case. This requirement may be included even in cases where the defendant and alleged victim are married, have children or live together. Further this requirement may be put in place even in situations where it is not requested, or was even opposed by the alleged victim. This “no contact” provision is designed to remain in place until the conclusion of the defendant’s case. An unfortunate result may be that defendant’s will be pressured into pleading guilty just to end the Court’s no contact order.
Police departments around South Carolina regularly follow up on CDV arrests to ensure that the Court’s no contact bond order is being complied with. In cases where it is being violated the defendant can face contempt of court sanctions. In many cases the penalty will be a return to jail until the case is over (this may be 30 days or more).
It is important to know that the bond restrictions do not apply to the alleged victim. This means that there is nothing the Court will do to stop them from initiating contact with the defendant, but if contact is made the defendant is the one who faces a return to jail. No contact bond violations don’t have to be violated by physical contact. Other ways include e-mail, phone, mail or initiating contact through third parties.
In order to have the no contact provision lifted prior to the conclusion of the case it is necessary to obtain a specific Court order modifying the bond. Typically this will require the filing of a formal motion and for the Court to schedule a hearing.
Another side effect of the no contact provision can be the impact it has on possession of a shared residence. If the alleged victim lives with the defendant, even in the defendant’s own home, the defendant will not be allowed to return as long as the alleged victim is present. Further the criminal Court will not have jurisdiction to order the alleged victim to vacate – which may require the defendant to seek an eviction from the local Magistrate’s Court. The eviction process may take two weeks or more to conclude – during which time the alleged victim is allowed to remain in possession of the residence with no obligation to pay rent or the utility bills.