Domestic violence, unfortunately, is not uncommon. It includes a wide variety of different charges, but generally involves a current or former intimate relationship between the victim and perpetrator that results in unlawful physical or emotional injuries. The penalties for domestic violence also vary depending largely upon the type of offense, the harm inflicted, the criminal history of the accused, and the age of the victim. Examples of domestic violence include assault, battery, stalking, child abuse and abandonment, elder abuse, and threats of violence.
Victims of Domestic Violence
Most domestic violence crimes concern spouses or former spouses who engage in abusive behavior toward one another, which results in one spouse striking the other and causing a visible injury. Charges for domestic violence can also be brought against dating partners, domestic partners, former dating partners, or a cohabitant. Other offenses concern children who are injured while being punished by a parent, caretaker, or anyone entrusted with a child’s care. Child endangerment includes placing or allowing the child to be in a high-risk situation, such as allowing a boyfriend to physically beat a child or to run a drug operation out of your home.
Domestic Violence Penalties
A domestic violence offense can be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony with the penalties varying widely among the states.
The difference between a misdemeanor charge and a felony often depends upon the severity of the injury and whether the defendant has a criminal history. Many states will also upgrade the offense if the victim is a child.
The penalties may include:
- Community service;
- Anger management or intervention programs;
- Restraining or protective orders;
- Supervised visits with children;
- Termination of parental rights;
- Deportation for aliens.
Jail time is usually imposed if there is serious bodily injury or a continuing pattern of violence, or if the defendant has a criminal record. Incarceration times range from 30 days to several decades.
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