Domestic violence is any form of abuse between closely related people. It’s mostly a case between spouses. But, it can also include a form of violence among siblings or parents to kids, and vice versa. Domestic violence affects people everywhere, and the law often charges it as a crime.
The consequences of violent charges on the accused can be devastating. Usually, the chances for future employment for the attacker can get low. And the community can maintain a negative view towards them. Hence, to defend your case, you must speak to a well-versed domestic violence attorney to help you fight the charges.
But are you aware that almost 28.5% of men and 35.6% of women face domestic violence caused by their intimate partners? Abusive relationships can result in extensive damage to the victims. The rising number of such cases is alarming.
It’s even shocking that such violent cases don’t just happen to the younger groups. Instead, it’s a common occurrence even in the golden years. Researchers explain why there are rising divorce rates for older couples. They estimate that by 2030, the gray divorce rates will triple.
Besides, teenagers who are accused of domestic assaults often undergo a supervised order, which may involve:
- A conditional release order, either with or without conviction
- Community corrections order
- Intensive correction order.
The truth is that; a victim of domestic abuse may be left with too much trauma that may lead to depression. Indeed, domestic violence is a horrible scene. In such instances, victims must stand firm and protect their rights. You must know how to gather evidence appropriately and have the assaulters charged under the law.
This article explains further the charges for domestic violence. But before that, let’s learn a bit more about what domestic violence entails.
What Does Domestic Violence Involve?
The law states domestic abuse as any form of physical, psychological, or emotional harm inflicted on a current or former spouse, cohabitant, or your child’s mother, who lives as a single mother.
This is primarily a repetitive event, and the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), which functions as a voice of domestic abuse victims, reports that:
- The domestic violence hotlines within the U.S. receive around 28,000 calls every day.
- Every 1 minute, approximately 20 people in the U.S. experience physical abuse from an intimate partner. And, in a year, it equals more than 10 million people.
- In the U.S., every 9 seconds a woman is facing an assault by her partner.
- 1 in every 3 women has faced physical violence by an intimate partner. Again, for every 5 women, 1 experiences severe abuse.
- 1 in 7 women has either a previous or current partner stalking them.
In most cases, domestic abuse is charged as a misdemeanor crime. But, it can escalate to a felony charge under circumstances that:
- There was severe bodily harm caused to a minor
- There was a case of sexual assault on the victim
- You have previous cases of domestic violence
- You have prior sentences for other crimes
What Are the Various Forms of Domestic Violence?
- Physical abuse – this includes hitting, slapping, pushing, and punching.
- Emotional abuse – verbal abuse, name-calling, repeated criticism.
- Psychological abuse – threats of harm, property destruction, forced isolation
- Economic abuse – restriction of access to money you deserve, restricting employment
- Sexual abuse – rape and any sexually demeaning element, such as; exposing kids to pornography or encouraging a child to engage in sexual acts. It also involves performing sexual acts in the presence of a child or photographing a kid in sexual poses.
What Do You Do When You Face Domestic Abuse Charges?
Perhaps a loved one accuses you of domestic violence emotional abuse, and maybe the self-proclaimed domestic violence victim exaggerates a case that was too minor. When you undergo such heart-aching and traumatizing domestic abuse charges, your normal life could be disrupted.
In this case, you need not suffer silently. It helps to seek the help of a reliable and highly experienced domestic violence attorney to fight for you and prove your innocence. Ideally, this should be a legal expert who has experience fighting for domestic violence victims legally.
The reality is that; it can be tough to walk through such private issues alone. Criminal cases, no matter how small they appear, can disrupt your life. Your rights and freedoms might be snatched away within short notice and as soon as you’re charged.
Once convicted, your entire life will change. And, without a domestic violence attorney, you can fight hard with no positive outcome. You might proceed to face the criminal trial and end up facing severe consequences. This might include heavy fines and prison sentences.
But, with the right legal help and advice, you won’t have to fear, as you’ll walk the journey with experts. The experienced domestic violence lawyer will often go above and beyond to ascertain that your case’s outcome is the most favorable one.
What Are the Charges for Domestic Violence?
In most cases, domestic violence charges may lead to prison sentences and restraining orders for the assailant. And this may cause a criminal record.
As the assaulter, you face harsh criminal charges, and the accuser can also sue you under the civil court and in line with the tort laws. Hence, the victim, or the accuser, can as well receive the compensation they deserve to cater for their physical damages.
Otherwise, the sanctions or measures towards domestic violence cases may range from one-day imprisonment (for slight maltreatment or physical injuries) to a life sentence (for severe cases of parricide or murder). The physical abuse that doesn’t cause injuries or dishonor, such as face slapping to the offended party, is the slight physical injury.
So, in most cases, the charges for domestic abuse can either be categorized as a misdemeanor or a felony. Misdemeanors are the less severe crime forms than felonies, the most serious crime forms.
For instance, you may get slightly beyond the limit in a DUI stop, and if you have children in the car, you might be charged with a misdemeanor. But, if you’re seriously over the blood alcohol limit, with children in the car, and you cause an accident, you can be charged with a felony.
What’s a Misdemeanor?
Misdemeanors are the less severe acts of domestic violence. In most states and under federal law, misdemeanor offenses carry a potential jail term of anything below one year. Some states consider a misdemeanor as any crime that’s not an infraction.
In this case, an assaulter is charged with the following:
- Lesser fines
- Shorter jail times
- Temporary punishments.
Just like infractions, misdemeanors are also divided into classes. The classes are categorized by the maximum imprisonment for the crime.
- Misdemeanor Class A- below 1 year, but over 6 months
- Misdemeanor Class B- less than 6 months, but more than 30 days
- Misdemeanor Class C – 30 days or less, but over 5 days.
Here, the accused serves jail time in the local county jail, not a higher security prison. The prosecutors tend to have a greater level of flexibility in choosing:
- What charge to execute
- How to punish the domestic violence victims
- What forms of plea bargains to negotiate
What’s a Felony?
Felonies are the most serious crime type. The federal government states felony to be a crime that carries a punishment of more than a year. However, several states use felony, but they don’t define it. Nonetheless, most states use and define the term by reference to the length of the criminal sentencing, the place of imprisonment, or sometimes both.
So, a person charged with severe cases of domestic violence such as murder will be charged with:
- Life-long jail or prison sentences
- Permanent loss of freedom.
Those charged with a felony sentence of over a year are often placed to serve in a state or federal prison. As with misdemeanors, Federal law classifies felonies using sentence guidelines directed by the extent of prison time.
- Felony Class A- life imprisonment or the death penalty
- Felony Class B- 25 years or more of imprisonment
- Felony Class C -less than 25 years, but more than 10 years jail term
- Felony Class D- less than 10 years, but more than 5 years in jail
- Felony Class E- less than 5 years, but more than a 1-year jail term.
Since the punishments under felonies can be severe, the criminal procedure must be strictly observed. Felonies are crimes viewed seriously by society. Examples of such domestic abuses include rape or murder.
Generally, once accused of domestic violence, the assaulter will often undergo punishment in diverse ways to align with the crime’s severity.
Based on the type of domestic violence offense, a court can inflict a penalty on sentences ranging from utmost 2 years to life imprisonment.
Most states’ legal consequences for domestic abuse may involve fines, probation, community services or imprisonment. In some cases, you may be legally banned from ever facing or contacting the domestic violence victim. Again, the charges get on your file. And, with criminal records, it may be challenging to secure a job.
It helps to know that domestic violence charges can be directed against you even if the domestic violence victim did not report the case. And, once you’re charged, there are low chances that the charges will be dropped.
Thankfully, your domestic violence attorney at law can negotiate your felony charge to the lesser misdemeanor or infraction charges. The well-versed domestic violence attorneys understand the family law perspectives.
As part of their work, they put all their efforts into representing your interests extensively. Thus, ensure you maintain constant contact with your domestic violence lawyers as they work on your case. You do this to ensure they get all the information they need from you at any time.
That way, you’ll be at peace, knowing that you have a reliable professional to hold your hands and offer you the confidence you need to get through the domestic abuse accusations. Hence, you can quickly move on with your everyday life.