South Carolina recently made some positive changes to the state’s domestic violence laws. Our state is perennially among the highest in the United States in domestic violence incidents per capita. Under the previous law, sentencing was based on a number of past domestic violence incidents. Under the new law, the severity of an incident determines the sentence an offender may receive.

This is an improvement because, previously, a maximum sentence for a first-time offense was 30 days, regardless of the severity of the incident. Under the new domestic violence law, offenders can spend up to 90 days in jail on the first offense, depending on severity.

I’m proud to say the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department has been on the leading edge of domestic violence laws for quite some time. In 2014, the Charleston Post and Courier wrote a Pulitzer Prize-winning series entitled “Till Death Do Us Part” which discussed, very candidly, the domestic violence problems South Carolina faces.

In one of the series’ articles, the reporter pointed to Lexington County as the lone bright spot in a state rife with problems. The success in Lexington is made possible through monumental efforts from investigators, prosecutors and crime prevention officers and it is something all Lexington County citizens should be very proud of.