Legal Information: South Carolina

Restraining Orders

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November 8, 2022

What types of orders of protection are there? How long do they last?

In South Carolina, there are temporary orders of protection and final orders of protection.

A temporary order of protection are can be issued if you request an “emergency hearing.” This emergency hearing will be held within 24 hours of when your petition is served upon the abuser. Unlike many other states that issue a temporary order without notifying the abuser (ex parte), South Carolina law calls for service upon the abuser before the emergency hearing so it’s possible that the abuser will be present at the emergency hearing. The temporary order is generally in effect for 15 days at which point a full court hearing will be held for a final order of protection.1 However, the judge may extend the temporary order if your full court hearing is postponed.

Final orders of protection are issued only after a full court hearing, where both you and the abuser have a chance to present your sides of the story through evidence and testimony. Final orders of protection last for between six months and one year.2 You may ask to have your order extended by filing a motion and showing “good cause.” See How do I extend, change, or cancel my order of protection? for more information.

There is a different type of order of protection for victims of stalking or harassment. For more information, see our Restraining Orders Against Stalking or Harassment page.

1 S.C. Code § 20-4-50(a); see Petition for Order of Protection on the South Carolina Courts website
2 S.C. Code § 20-4-70(a)

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