What “Counts” As Domestic Violence

In the past, domestic violence was a topic that was almost taboo to talk openly about. However, the issue has gone from something that was primarily hush-hush to something that is openly discussed even in the media. 

Domestic violence is a serious criminal offense, and the police can arrest you even under suspicion of DV. Most people fail to realize that Many states do not treat DV as a separate crime. The police won’t charge you for domestic violence. Instead, you will receive a sentencing enhancement that may increase the severity of the DV charge against you if you get arrested for another crime such as assault or stalking.

The consequences of DV charges are dire, which is why having an aggressive lawyer by your side is helpful. If you have been arrested for domestic violence, book a case evaluation with a domestic violence attorney today to assess your chances.

What Counts As Domestic Violence

In most states, domestic violence refers to an act or a threat of violence against a person with whom the accused is or was in an intimate relationship. DV also includes several other crimes when used to coerce, punish, control, revenge, or intimidate the victim. The following ten crimes count as domestic violence:

  • Sexual contact
  • False imprisonment
  • Sexual assault
  • Violation of a restraining order
  • Assault
  • Stalking
  • Child abuse
  • Menacing
  • Elder abuse
  • Harassment

The charges can also be enhanced when the accused commits crimes against property or pets. If, for instance, a person destroys their partner’s car, that counts as abusive behavior, and the prosecutor can bring enhancements against the person for being abusive to their partner.

On the other side of the spectrum, if the person got into a fight with their neighbor and destroyed their vehicle in the same manner, they may be arrested for the crime. However, the prosecution will not bring a DV enhancement since the two were never intimate.

Domestic violence doesn’t always look like physical or sexual abuse. You can also get arrested if found committing financial abuse like blackmail or cyberstalking your partner as a means of revenge.

Common Penalties of a Domestic Violence Conviction

Since domestic violence is classified as an enhancement, the punishment will depend on the underlying charge. The court may order that the accused receive a complete evaluation and finish a domestic treatment program. They may also impose or extend a restraining order.

Can the Charges Be Dropped Upon the Victim’s Request?

The charges cant be dropped immediately after the victim recants their statement. Police officers usually suspect the victim’s motives if they recant their allegations under the assumption that they have either been threatened, their family wants them to take back the story, or they want financial support from the defendant.

Additionally, prosecutors cant dismiss charges when there is sufficient evidence of domestic violence despite the victim’s retort. For instance, if the incident was caught on camera or various credible eyewitnesses are willing to testify.

The only way DV charges can be dismissed is if the prosecutor claims that they have insufficient evidence to prove guilt. 

What Are the Common Defense Strategies?

 There are three common defenses in DV cases that a lawyer can use. They have to prove that:

  1. The victim wasn’t harassed- Harassment is usually subjective as what one may consider annoying may be endearing to another. Evidence in such a hearing may include video recordings, eyewitness statements, emails, or text messages.
  2. The accused had no intent to harass or alarm the victim- Proving intent can somehow be difficult. If the prosecution cannot prove intent beyond any reasonable doubt, the case has to be dropped.
  3. The defendant was falsely accused- The accuser may have acted out of malice due to a failed relationship. In such a case, the lawyer must establish a pattern or prove that the evidence presented in court, such as eyewitness recounts and texts, were fabricated. If the prosecutor brings the alleged victim’s credibility to question, the charges may be dropped.

Talk to an Attorney Today

If you stand domestic violence charges, a domestic violence attorney can help. Get in contact with a lawyer right away to start working on your case.

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