There are a number of common charges that the average citizen may face throughout their lifetime, though few come with as serious repercussions as domestic violence. However, domestic violence is a broad term that can describe a variety of situations, which can make properly understanding a domestic violence charge difficult. To that end, use the following as a guide to understand the basics of this type of charge to better understand what you are facing.
What is Domestic Violence?
As mentioned, domestic violence is an extremely broad term that encompasses a wide variety of acts. However, the base definition of domestic violence as outlined by the United Nations is a pattern of behavior in an intimate relationship that is used to gain, maintain, or exert control over the other person(s). This type of violence can take the form of physical violence, sexual violence, emotional manipulation, economic manipulation, and more.
A common misconception regarding domestic violence is that an intimate relationship refers to only two intimate partners in a sexual relationship. However, an intimate relationship can also refer to family members, a child and their parent, and other forms of close relationships, typically within the same household.
Common Types of Domestic Violence
Below are just a few of the most common types of domestic violence that a person may be charged with:
- Sexual abuse
- Economic abuse
- Isolation from friends or family
- Emotional intimidation
- Physical abuse
- Emotional abuse
Misdemeanor vs. Felony: Where Does Domestic Violence Fall?
There are a variety of factors that will determine whether the domestic violence charge you face is charged as a misdemeanor or felony. The primary factor that will determine which it is charged as, however, is if there was physical violence involved and the general severity of the abuse which occurred. For example, domestic violence where an injury occurred, or a deadly weapon was involved will almost always be associated with a felony charge. With this said, the majority of domestic violence charges are charged as misdemeanors. Either way, it’s important to contact an accredited criminal defense lawyer who can help you build your case.
The Punishments Associated with Domestic Violence Charges
Understanding the severity of domestic violence charge convictions is important for understanding why these charges are so serious. Should the domestic violence charge be a felony, it will often come with multi-thousands of dollars in fines along with potentially major jail time. However, if a domestic violence charge is a misdemeanor then it will likely only come with light fines and little to no jail time. With that said, this range in punishment is not something to be played with, which is why building a legal defense matters.
The Bottom Line
Being accused of committing an act of domestic violence is an extremely serious event that comes with major repercussions if you are found guilty. Rather than attempting to build your own legal defense against these serious charges, immediately reach out to an accredited criminal defense lawyer experienced with the laws surrounding domestic violence. By focusing on building out your legal defense, you will increase the odds that your domestic violence charges are dropped or heavily reduced.