South Carolina lawmakers are considering legislation that would allow teens dating violence victims who are 16 and older to get court orders of protection without their parents’ consent.
The Charleston Post and Courier reports the proposed legislation would also require education in public schools on teen-dating violence, as well as increase penalties for those who commit related crimes.
A state Senate subcommittee put off voting on the bill because some senators have a problem with increasing penalties for teens who commit dating violence. Under the legislation, teens who are convicted would be guilty of a felony and serve a maximum of 10 years consecutive to any other charge. One of those concerns is giving teens the same punishment as adults convicted of domestic violence.
South Carolina Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers vice president Heath Taylor told the newspaper he believes the proposed penalties are too harsh since many teens may not understand when they are breaking the law.
Subcommittee chairman State Sen. Chip Campsen, R-Charleston, said the legislation is not dead despite the lack of a vote. He said lawmakers will work on amendments and take another look at the bill.