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South Carolina Protective Orders Laws

We all like a little extra attention at the beginning of a romantic relationship. But what happens when that attention turns frightening or dangerous during the relationship or after it has ended? Are there laws in the Palmetto State that can help to keep you safe? Here are the basics of protective orders laws in 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.

Code Section

South Carolina Code of Laws 20-4-10, et seq.: Protection From Domestic Abuse

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 6 months, maximum 1 year, may be extended. Regarding minor protective order: maximum 60 days or until divorce or support or maintenance hearing

Penalty for a Violation of Order

If 1st offense: jail 30 days or fine maximum $200. If contempt of court: jail maximum 1 year and/or fine maximum $1,500

Who May Apply for Order

Any household member on behalf of self or minor household members

Can Fees Be Waived?


Order Transmission to Law Enforcement

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

Civil Liability for Violation of Order

Yes, contempt of court

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.

South Carolina Protective Orders Laws: Related Resources

Navigating the protective order procedure is not always easy. For more articles and resources on this topic, you can also FindLaw’s Orders of Protection and Restraining Orders section. 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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