Domestic violence, including domestic abuse battery and similar domestic violence crimes, are taken very seriously throughout the state. There is never an excuse for domestic violence to occur. Still, innocent people also should not face charges when they have done nothing wrong, no matter the crime alleged. If you have been arrested for a domestic violence offense, it is critical that you understand the potential penalties you may be facing, as well as your legal options. Below, our Ouachita Parish violent crime lawyer explains how this offense is defined under state law, as well as the possible consequences of a conviction.
How is Domestic Abuse Battery Defined Under State Law?
Under state law, domestic abuse battery is defined as a member of a household intentionally using force or violence against another family member or person within the same household. A ‘family member’ as defined under the law is a spouse, former spouse, child, or parent. Stepparents, stepchildren, foster children, and foster parents are also classified as family members.
The term ‘household member’ has a broader definition under state law. The following individuals are considered household members under the domestic abuse battery statute:
- A person who currently or formerly lived in the same residence as the accused and who is currently or has been involved in an intimate or sexual relationship with the offender,
- Any child who currently or formerly lived with the accused, and
- Any child of the accused, regardless of where the child lives,
A similar offense occurs when violence or force is used against a current or former dating partner, regardless of whether the victim has lived with the accused.
Potential Penalties for Domestic Abuse Battery
Jail time, fines, probation, community service, and court-ordered classes are just a few of the possible penalties for a domestic abuse battery conviction. Sentences can vary depending on whether misdemeanor or felony charges apply, as well as the specific circumstances of a case. A history of domestic abuse battery convictions will also result in increased penalties.
For a first conviction, domestic abuse battery is punishable by a fine between $300 and $1,000 and a prison sentence between 30 days and six months. For a second conviction, defendants face a fine between $750 and $1,000, as well as jail time between 60 days and one year. Although first and second offenses are classified as misdemeanors, a subsequent offense will be charged as a felony. As a felony offense, a third conviction is punishable by a mandatory minimum jail sentence of one year, but a possibility of five years in prison.
There are certain instances in which a first offense will be charged as a felony. These include when the victim was pregnant, a child under the age of 13 years old was present, or the violence included strangulation or burning.
Our Violent Crime Lawyer in Ouachita Parish Can Help with Your Charges
At Whiddon Criminal Defense, our Ouachita Parish violent crime lawyer knows the gravity of the charges you are facing. We also know the defenses that are most effective in these cases and will use them to protect your freedom. Call us today at 318-594-3592 or reach out to us online to schedule a free consultation.