Domestic Violence Charges
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What Are Domestic Violence Charges?
Domestic violence is often a part of many civil family law cases. For instance, many divorce or legal separation cases involve an element of domestic abuse. However, domestic violence can also lead to criminal charges. This is because domestic violence often involves repeated, cyclical instances of assault and battery.
Criminal charges are more likely to be filed if the case involves:
- Serious physical injury
- The use of a weapon
- Ongoing instances of abuse
- Alcohol or drugs
Are There Any Legal Penalties Associated with Domestic Violence?
As mentioned, domestic violence can result in a civil claim, which can lead to a damages award. This may occur in cases where the defendant is required to compensate the victim for expenses like medical costs or lost wages. In addition, criminal domestic violence charges can result in misdemeanor or felony charges.
Misdemeanors may be punishable by short jail time (less than one year), and some criminal fines. Felonies are punishable by longer prison sentences and higher criminal fines. Felony domestic violence involves more serious situations such as those involving weapons or serious injury.
Also, other consequences may result from domestic violence convictions, such as a loss of custody rights. Protection orders can also result from domestic violence cases.
Are There Any Defenses to Domestic Violence Charges?
Self-defense can sometimes be a defense to domestic violence charges. For instance, one spouse might claim that they were acting in response to violence that was brought against them first. Here, the party raising the defense must show that they were not the initial aggressor in the situation. Also, they must prove that they used a reasonable amount of force that to defend themselves.
For the most part, standard criminal defenses may apply in domestic violence criminal cases. However, the defendant must provide proof in support of their defense.
Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with Domestic Violence Charges?
Domestic violence is a serious legal issue and can involve major legal penalties. You may need to hire a lawyer if you are involved in any domestic violence issues. Your attorney can help represent you and determine what your legal rights are. Also, if you need to file a claim or a defense, your attorney can provide you with representation during the legal proceedings.
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Last Modified: 02-28-2014 12:49 PM PST
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