Roommates often have problems, disagreements, or disputes. It would be easy to assume that these issues will never surmount to anything serious. However, many people do not realize that a serious fight with a roommate or household member could lead to a domestic violence conviction, depending on the nature of the relationship.
If a roommate does not meet the requirements to classify as a household member, the dispute in question could lead to assault and battery charges. A guilty conviction for domestic violence or assault and battery has many negative consequences and several penalties. If you need help after an arrest for these charges, reach out to a Greenville roommate violence lawyer to schedule a consultation. Christopher L. Jones is an experienced criminal defense attorney who knows how to best handle your case.
Domestic Violence and Assault and Battery Statutes
Many people believe that domestic charges can only occur after a dispute with a spouse or current partner. However, you can also face charges after an altercation with a roommate who is considered a household member under the law. According to South Carolina Code of Laws Unannotated § 16-25-10, a household member refers to a spouse, a former spouse, people who share a child, a couple, or a former couple living under the same roof. Therefore, roommates could be considered household members if they have a child together or are in a romantic relationship. The key is do you have a child with this person, or do you live with your romantic partner.
You can be arrested for inflicting physical harm against the other party, or if you place them in fear of physical violence if you offer or attempt to cause harm to them. However, you must have the present ability to do so. A Greenville attorney understands the complex nature of these cases and could assess your circumstances to determine the best path forward.
Assault and Battery
Meanwhile, if a dispute is between two roommates who do not classify as household members, the state could charge a defendant with assault and battery. Legally, anyone who purposely injures someone else or attempts to cause harm is guilty of criminal assault and battery in the third degree. If you face these charges, you deserve dedicated legal counsel to protect your rights.
Penalties Associated with a Roommate Violence Conviction
A conviction for a violent crime can have many short-term and long-term consequences. Assault and battery 3rd degree carries up to 30 days in jail or a fine, while domestic violence 3rd degree carries up to 90 days in jail or a fine.
If the charges include aggravating factors, such as weapons, previous convictions, children present, or sexual assault, you could face an aggravated assault and battery or domestic violence conviction in the first, second degree, or high and aggravated. Christopher L. Jones is a Greenville attorney who handles cases of roommate violence and could advise you during a consultation. Even if the first court hearing is months away, the longer you have to plan and prepare your defense, the better your chance of a positive outcome.
Reach Out to a Greenville Roommate Violence Attorney
If you recently had a dispute with a roommate and face charges of domestic violence or assault and battery, you must take these charges seriously. While it is true that these cases are severe and a conviction could have many negative consequences, you can fight to prove your innocence and protect your legal rights.
Hiring an experienced Greenville roommate violence lawyer increases your chances of a favorable case outcome. For help with your case, contact Christopher L. Jones to schedule an initial consultation.