How to Get a Restraining Order in South Carolina
In the state of South Carolina, a restraining order is a legal order issued by a court to protect someone from abuse or threatened abuse. The order may require the abuser to stay away from the person seeking protection and/or their home, school, or workplace. Anyone can ask for a restraining order if they feel they are in danger. In this article, we'll discuss what you need to know about getting and using a restraining order in South Carolina.
Although obtaining a restraining order can be complicated and lengthy, there is an alternative solution that can help you protect yourself in a shorter amount of time. DoNotPay is a free legal service that can help you prepare your documents so you can file them easily and quickly.
Restraining Orders in South Carolina
In South Carolina, you can ask for a restraining order from the court by filing an application. You file your completed application with the Clerk of Court and provide copies to the sheriff and prosecutor. Once the judge reviews and approves the papers, they will issue the "order of protection."
Everyone has the right to file for a restraining order in South Carolina. It doesn't matter how old you are or who you are asking the court to protect you from. The judge will consider your reasons for filing, and depending on your situation, he or she might issue a temporary restraining order (TRO) which lasts only 14 to 21 days.
If you are in immediate danger, the judge can issue a "permanent" restraining order (PRO). A permanent restraining order lasts up to one year and has no time limit on it. You can ask for another permanent restraining order if you still need protection after your first one expires.
Kinds of Restraining Orders in South Carolina
In South Carolina, there are three kinds of restraining orders:
|Domestic Violence Order of Protection||This order protects people who have a close relationship, and this person has hurt or threatened to hurt you. The order will tell the abuser to stay away from you and not contact you again. It may also tell your abuser that they cannot own, buy, or use a gun while the order is in effect.|
|Family Violence Order of Protection||This order protects people who have a close relationship, but there isn't a sexual relationship between you and your abuser; for example, if the abuser is your current or former spouse, your parent, or your child. The court can also issue this order to protect a child from someone who has been sexually abusing them. The order may tell the abuser to stay away from you, your children, and/or your home. It may also tell him or her not to own a gun while the order is in effect.|
|General Order of Protection||This is a more permanent restraining order, and it can last up to one year. This order is usually issued when you don't have a close relationship with your abuser or if you were abused by someone who doesn't live near you. This kind of order may tell the abuser to stay away from their home, school, and/or place of work and not own, buy, or use a gun while the order is in effect.|
How to File a Request for a Restraining Order in South Carolina
In order to file for a restraining order in South Carolina, you have to fill out an "application for an order of protection." You can ask for domestic violence or general protection order. You can find the application at the Clerk of Court's office where you live.
You have to file a separate application for each person you want protection from. For example, if you have a spouse and an ex-boyfriend who both abused you, you have to fill out two applications – one for your husband and one for your ex-boyfriend.
You may also need to file for custody of any children you have with your abuser. If you are married, both you and your spouse share the same address, so you will not need to provide additional proof that your spouse lives there.
You will need to describe the abuse in as much detail as possible:
- How long did the abuse go on?
- Did the abuser threaten you with harm (verbal threats)? Did he use a weapon against you (such as hitting or pointing a gun at you)? Did he threaten your children or pets?
- Did the abuse go on even though you tried to stop it, for example, by keeping quiet so the abuser wouldn't get angry or call the police?
- Do you have any pictures, records of text messages, voicemails, or other evidence that will prove what happened?
What Happens After a Restraining Order Hearing in South Carolina?
After you file for a restraining order, the judge will decide whether to grant it. This decision usually happens at a hearing where both you and your abuser can speak. You may be able to postpone this hearing if you need more time to gather evidence or witnesses who support your case.
If the judge grants your restraining order request, they will decide how long it should last. You can ask for a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) that will only last until your hearing date, or you can ask for a Permanent Restraining Order (PRO), which lasts up to one year.
If the judge decides not to grant your request, you can try applying for another restraining order in the future when you have more proof that the abuse is happening or has happened.
What Qualifies for a Restraining Order in South Carolina?
In South Carolina, there are five reasons why someone might ask for a protective order:
- Protection from domestic violence, including assault, battery, sexual assault, and criminal domestic violence;
- Protection from stalking;
- Protection from a sex offense;
- Protection from a repeat offender;
- Protection for someone who is under an order of protection or who has been convicted of the above offenses.
What Happens if You Violate a Restraining Order in South Carolina?
If the abuser violates your restraining order, he may also be fined or sent to prison for committing what is called "contempt of court." If you are the one who violated the restraining order, you may be punished for contempt.
The abuser can violate a restraining order in three ways:
- By contacting you or someone else protected by the order;
- By molesting or disturbing your peace;
- By coming within a certain distance of your home, work, school, or any other place you are protected.
How to Get a Restraining Order with the Help of DoNotPay
It can be very frustrating and time-consuming to go through the process of filing a restraining order in South Carolina. However, there is an alternative solution – DoNotPay. This chatbot can successfully help you get a restraining order with little-to-no effort on your part.
How to Apply for a Restraining Order With the Help of DoNotPay
- Search for relationship protection on DoNotPay.
- Answer a few easy questions on our File a Restraining Order product.
- Submit the form, and you’re done!
And that's it. DoNotPay will compile for you the forms you need to fill out and give you detailed instructions for how to file for a restraining order in your jurisdiction. Stay safe.
Other State's Laws
Each state has its own protection orders, so the exact process will vary depending on where you live. For example, some states have special courts that hear domestic violence cases only, while others have courts that hear all types of civil cases. DoNotPay can help in all these situations, even if you live in another state such as California, Texas, or even Florida.
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