Find the right lawyer now

Domestic Violence Charges

Find a Local Family Lawyer near You

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.

Photo of page author Jose Rivera

, LegalMatch Legal Writer

Last Modified: 10-19-2016 07:33 PM PDT

Law Library Disclaimer
  • No fee to present your case
  • Choose from lawyers in your area
  • A 100% confidential service
What is LegalMatch?

We've helped more than 4 million clients find the right lawyer – for free. Present your case online in minutes. LegalMatch matches you to pre-screened lawyers in your city or county based on the specifics of your case. Within 24 hours experienced local lawyers review it and evaluate if you have a solid case. If so, attorneys respond with an offer to represent you that includes a full attorney profile with details on their fee structure, background, and ratings by other LegalMatch users so you can decide if they're the right lawyer for you.