Legal Definition of Domestic Violence
Domestic violence is defined as the act of inflicting bodily injury or physical harm upon a member of one’s household. Sexual assault can also be placed in the category of domestic violence. Additionally, stalking a member of one’s household may be classified as domestic violence.
Most people are well aware of the fact that if violence is inflicted upon another person, then it can be classified as domestic violence. However, a person can be charged with domestic violence if a threat is made. Even if the threat is not carried out, criminal charges can still be filed.
Is Domestic Violence a Misdemeanor or Felony?
Domestic violence is typically classified as a misdemeanor or felony. A misdemeanor is a less serious charge. People who are charged with a misdemeanor may serve a short jail sentence and be ordered to pay a fine.
People who are charged with a felony may serve a long prison sentence. The seriousness of the injury is one of the factors that will determine whether a person is charged with a misdemeanor or felony. If there is no evidence of injury or the injury is slight, then it will likely be classified as a misdemeanor. A person’s past criminal history may also be used to determine whether they are charged with a misdemeanor or felony.
Domestic Violence Defenses
Justification- In some cases, the use of force was justified. For example,a person uses non-deadly force in order to restrain someone. They will likely be able to get their charges dropped.
Self-Defense- Domestic violence can be justified if a person used in order to defend themselves. For example, the defendant attempts to warn the person not to hurt them. The person continues to attack the person. The defendant had every right to defend themselves even if harm was inflicted on the other person.
People may also be able to argue that they used self-defense to protect their children from the other partner. Parents have every right to protect their children.
Mental Disease or Defect- People who are mentally incapacitated may be able to get their charges dropped if this can be proven in court.
Medical or Dental Purposes- It is extremely rare for someone to be able to use this defense. It is hard to prove that domestic violence had a medical or dental purpose.
Lack of Proof-This is one of the strongest defenses that can be used. People may also be able to get domestic violence charges if they can pinpoint the holes in the other person’s story. If there is no proof that an act of violence was committed, then the charges may be dropped. The American justice system relies on the burden of proof to convict of people of crimes.
Deliberately False Allegations-Many people will make up a story just to hurt the other person. This often happens when people are going through a divorce or a nasty child custody battle. Defense attorneys examine the cases thoroughly to look for inconsistencies in the other person’s story.
Wrong Suspect- Many people are convicted of domestic violence because they are mistaken for someone else. They can prove that it was impossible to commit the act because they were somewhere else at the time.
The Importance of Contacting an Attorney
Domestic violence charges have ruined countless lives. The stigma that comes along with being charged with domestic violence can stay with you for the rest of your life. That is why it is important to contact a domestic violence defense attorney. Your attorney can tell you about the defense to use. They can also inform you of your rights.