Restraining orders are sought when a person is the victim of domestic violence or is somehow in harm’s way. These orders are issued by the courts to stop actions that threaten the health and wellbeing of another individual.

While the concept of restraining orders is simple enough, the process of obtaining one is not always so straightforward. Anyone that wants to know how to get a restraining order in South Carolina should always speak to a lawyer who can give them the best chance of securing the protection they need.

If you’re in danger and need a restraining order in Rock Hill, turn to the attorneys at McKinney, Tucker & Lemel LLC. Our compassionate legal team understands that you’re going through a frightening ordeal. Let us help you secure the protection you need.

Call or contact us right away to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced lawyers.

Who Can File for a Restraining Order in South Carolina?

Understanding who can file for a restraining order starts with learning the two legal means of limiting contact with a person who is threatening you.

Under South Carolina Law, there are two types of restraining orders. The first and most common is an order of protection. Individuals that are in fear of abuse or harm perpetrated by a household member must file for an order of protection. The family courts in South Carolina issue orders of protection.

Family members that can seek an order of protection include:

  • Spouses and former spouses
  • Individuals that have children together
  • Male and females that live together or previously lived together

By contrast, restraining orders are sought against any individual that seeks to harm another through harassment or stalking. Restraining orders are less common, but many people also refer to orders of protection as restraining orders. To obtain a restraining order, you must contact the Magistrate’s Court.

Anyone that feels as though they are in imminent danger from another person may seek a restraining order.

What Evidence is Needed to Get a Restraining Order in South Carolina?

When seeking either a restraining order or a protective order against someone, you are asking the court to take away some of that person’s freedoms. The courts do not take this request lightly. As such, you will need to present clear evidence that the individual is placing you in imminent danger or threatening to hurt you.

Evidence that is beneficial when trying to secure a restraining order includes:

  • Pictures of the threatening incident or incidents
  • Video surveillance from homes or nearby businesses that may have captured the threatening act
  • Eyewitness statements of the threatening behavior
  • Text messages, voicemails, and emails that show the behavior you are seeking protection from
  • Police reports that indicate abusive or threatening behavior has occurred
  • Any proof or harassment or stalking behaviors

A South Carolina family lawyer at McKinney, Tucker & Lemel LLC can help you collect the necessary evidence to support your request for a restraining order.

What Should I Do While Waiting for My Restraining Order?

You will not be granted a restraining order immediately. Understandably, that can make you fearful about what will happen between the time you sought the order and the time you actually receive it.

If you feel you are in imminent danger, you may request the court for a temporary restraining order (TRO). With sufficient evidence, a TRO can prohibit the perpetrator from contacting you for 14 days. It may be extended another 14 days based on the circumstances.

In the meantime, take the following steps while waiting for the court to issue the protective order:

  • Find a place you can stay where your abuser cannot find you, such as a friend or family member’s house.
  • Call the police to report the threatening or abusive behavior or to simply ask them to check in on you periodically.
  • Seek medical attention for any injuries you sustained.
  • Take pictures of your injuries to document them.

It is always advised that you obtain the help of an attorney prior to asking the court for a restraining order. In addition to gathering evidence to support your case, a lawyer can represent you at hearings to ensure that your argument is well-prepared and convincing.

How Long Does a Restraining Order in South Carolina Last?

Both restraining orders and orders of protection last for six months after the date they were issued. After six months have expired, you must then petition the family court or the Magistrate’s Court to renew the order.

What are the Penalties for Violating a Restraining Order in SC?

Restraining orders and orders of protection are taken very seriously in South Carolina. The penalties for violating a restraining order include a maximum of 30 days in jail, a maximum fine of $500, or both.

If the perpetrator has been charged or convicted of domestic violence and enters a shelter where he/she believes the victim is staying, the penalties become much worse. In this instance, the person will face a maximum of three years in jail. When a weapon is carried onto the premises, the penalty is increased to a maximum of five years in jail.

Can the Other Person Appeal a Restraining Order Decision?

It is possible for a person to appeal a decision made in a restraining order case. However, doing so is not easy. To appeal a decision, the individual must show that the magistrate made an error when applying the law to the case. The perpetrator must file a Notice of Intent to Appeal within five days at the Clerk of Court’s office.

Our South Carolina Family Lawyers Can Help You Secure a Restraining Order

If you have been the victim of domestic violence or feel threatened by another person’s intimidating or abusive behavior, the Rock Hill lawyers at McKinney, Tucker & Lemel LLC can help. Our lawyers understand that you are going through a terrifying experience. We also know what it takes to prove that a restraining order is necessary to ensure your protection.

There’s no reason to wait. Get started on the process of getting your South Carolina restraining order today. Call us today or contact us online to schedule a meeting with one of our skilled attorneys.

Ed Anderson is a Tennessee native who came to South Carolina to attend Furman University – and liked the state so much that he decided to stay here to pursue his legal career. After he earned his law degree from the University of South Carolina School of Law, Ed joined McKinney, Tucker & Lemel, LLC, in 2017, where he focuses on family law and personal injury law. In addition to his law practice, Ed is an active member of the South Carolina Bar’s Young Lawyers Division.