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South Carolina Protective Orders Laws

Often called "restraining orders," protective orders are legally enforceable documents issued by a court that order the person named in the document to stay a certain distance away from the person seeking the protection. Some protective orders can also forbid a person from going to certain places, even if the protected person is not there. Most protective orders are used to protect abused spouses and exes. South Carolina also has orders that can protect children and keep stalkers away.

Protection orders are not a perfect deterrent in every harmful scenario, but they can provide a victim of stalking or domestic violence with some criminal and civil recourse if a stalker or abuser violates an order. Along with in-state protection orders, federal protection order law mandates that if you have a valid protection order issued by another state, South Carolina must honor and enforce that order.

This article provides a brief overview of protective order laws in South Carolina.

Protective Orders Laws in South Carolina: At a Glance

The following table covers the basic provisions of South Carolina protective order laws. You can also visit FindLaw's Orders of Protection and Restraining Orders section for more general information on this topic.

Code Section

§ 20-4-10 et seq. of the South Carolina Code of Laws

Activity Addressed by Order

Enjoin contact; exclude from dwelling, employment, or school; regarding minors: temporary custody, visitations, support; court costs and attorney fees

Duration of Order

Minimum six months, maximum one year; may be extended

Penalty for a Violation of Order

If 1st offense: jail 30 days or fine maximum of $500; if contempt of court: jail maximum one year and/or fine maximum $1,500

Who May Apply for Order

Any household member on behalf of self or minor household members; a spouse; household members include a former spouse; persons who have a child in common; a male and female who are cohabiting or formerly have cohabited; same-sex partners can get protection

Can Fees Be Waived?

There is no filing fee in South Carolina

Order Transmission to Law Enforcement

Copy to local law enforcement agencies with jurisdiction over the area where the petitioner resides

Civil Liability for Violation of Order

Yes, contempt of court

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Get Help with a Protective Order Today

If someone is hurting or threatening to hurt you, there are resources available for you when you're ready. Contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline for 24/7/365 support at 800-799-7233. If you've been abused or fear someone may abuse you in the near future, you may want to get a protective order.

If you would like legal assistance with a domestic violence or protective order matter, you can contact a South Carolina domestic violence attorney.

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