Any time an individual is accused of committing an act of assault against a current or former spouse, a current or former member of his or her household, an individual he or she is dating, or an individual with whom he or she shares a child, he or she may be charged with domestic violence.
Any act where the victims legitimately feel his or her safety is in danger may be charged as an assault, which in turn can be charged as an act of domestic violence.
Alleged acts of domestic violence are one of the few circumstances under which law enforcement may make an arrest without a valid warrant to do so. When law enforcement is called to a residence or public area and has a legitimate reason to believe an individual is committing domestic violence, that he or she has committed domestic violence, or that he or she has violated a personal protection order, the officer may arrest the individual, even if the officer did not actually witness a physical attack.
Domestic violence can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the circumstances present in the case.
For an individual’s first and second domestic violence charges, the offense is usually charged as a misdemeanor. The penalties for a first-time offense are a jail term of up to 93 days and a $500 fine. However, if the alleged incident results in serious injury to the victim, the alleged offender may face up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine. Additionally, he or she can face these penalties if he or she has at least one previous assault, battery, felonious assault, or similar charge under a different state’s laws against an individual who fits one of the categories listed above.
When an individual faces his or her third domestic violence charge, he or she faces a prison sentence of up to two years and a $2,500 fine.
When an individual feels he or she is in danger of facing domestic violence, he or she may obtain a personal protection order (PPO). A PPO prohibits the holder’s alleged abuser from contacting him or her, interfering with his or her job or school, owning a firearm, entering certain premises, and in some cases, from removing the holder’s child from his or her care. Violating a PPO is an act of criminal contempt of court, punishable by up to 93 days in jail and a $500 fine.
When you are facing a domestic violence or PPO violation charge, it is in your best interest to start working on your legal defense strategy with an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. To get started with a member of our team, contact Van Den Heuvel Law Office today to set up your initial legal consultation with us.