Some states will allow immunity between husband and wife, parent and child, or any other type of familial relationship when it comes to domestic relations.
However, accordingly, South Carolina will give NO familial immunity to any crimes against the person or against their property. In other words, just because your family member committed the crime against you or your property, does not mean that you can not bring a case against them. Take for example, a case where there has been domestic abuse by one spouse against another. Not only can the state press charges, but through state law, the victim is also allow to sue for civil battery is he/she so chooses.
For crimes against the person- there is no family immunity-
There are no general principals of immunity that would apply in criminal prosecutions of parents and spouses for crimes against any other family members. Under old common law, a man could not be prosecuted for raping his wife, as they have engaged in intercourse previously. This is no longer the rule in South Carolina, any most states. The rule is now that there is no “marital exception,” that still applies, and a man can be charged by wither his wife or the state for domestic abuse in the form of any type of violence, including rape.
Moreover, South Carolina has a specific statute that deals with this “spousal sex battery,” as it is referred to it in the South Carolina Code. According to SC 16-3-615., “ it is required that there is a physical manifestation of force or violence needed to overcome the victim. This offense is exempted from rape shield statute. This means that South Carolina goes one step further, and adds an additional element, requiring that there be mens rea( the requisite mental state) to actually force your wife. The purpose of this statute is to prevent rambunctious husbands and wives from later claiming rape if they had been rough in the past.
For crimes against property- there is no family immunity-
Again, there is general principle of immunity that applies to criminal prosecutions for parents and spouses for crimes against property of family members. For example, if there were a case where an estranged husband broke into his estranged wife’s home that he no longer lived in, and burglarized it, he would and could be prosecuted by the state for such a crime, with no immunity protection whatsoever.
Domestic Relations in South Carolina can be tricky and complicated. If you have been charged with a domestic relation crime, contact the law offices of Reeves, Aiken, and Hightower, LLP. Mrs. Bea Hightower has been a child’s advocate for over 20 years, as well as a guardian ad litem. If there is domestic abuse in your South Carolina home, contact us toll-free at 77-374-5999 for more information.