Consequences of a Domestic Violence Charge in Alabama

One of the most difficult aspects of handling criminal cases is dealing with preconceptions and public bias. A person hears the word “burglar” and immediately associates it with emotions of disgust and disdain. It’s only natural of course to have an idea in your head after you hear a word. Someone hears the word “beach” and they think of sand and the ocean, they hear robbery or assault and they think much worse. The same thing happens with Domestic Violence (DV).

Our justice system is designed to be ideal, we pick jurors who are unbiased to the best of their abilities. We dissect situations to root out the truth of an event, even an event with strong emotions. For this reason, amongst others, being charged with domestic violence can be so difficult not just on the person accused, the victim, and the community-at-large. Two of the most important concepts enshrined in the judicial system are the presumption of innocence and the right to a fair trial with impartial jurors. This is why with charges as emotional as those like domestic violence, the accused must still be defended because each case is unique. 

Domestic Violence Charges in Alabama

There are 3 Degrees to DV in the State of Alabama. In Alabama, as in other states, the legal term for domestic violence has to do with essentially committing a crime against someone who has a “qualified relationship” to the accused. So, many criminal acts can fall under the umbrella term of domestic violence. The most commonly seen are Assault, Burglary, Stalking, Reckless Endangerment, and Trespassing, to name a few. A qualified relationship is defined as spouses, former spouses, children, step-children, household members, and other qualifications related to this.

Distinguishing between degrees and their connections to the degree of domestic violence is relatively straightforward. A crime like assault or burglary in the first degree is also treated as domestic violence in the first degree. Criminal trespassing or arson in the third degree are also treated as domestic violence in the third degree. For a comprehensive breakdown, check out this link.

Consequences and Penalties of Domestic Violence in Alabama

First Degree criminal acts are categorized as Class A Felonies in Alabama. This carries a maximum life sentence. It also carries a minimum of 10 years in prison. 

Second Degree criminal acts are categorized as Class B Felonies, this carries a maximum of 20 years in prison and a minimum of 2 years. Third Degree DV can be a Class A misdemeanor. This entails up to $6,000 in fines and up to a year in prison. 

These are not lenient penalties. It is also widely assumed that DV charges are prosecuted more severely than other cases, so sentencing can be towards interpreting the sentencing guidelines more strictly. 

What to do if you have been charged?

If you have been charged with Domestic Violence to any degree, the best advice would be to seek legal representation. An attorney being present can help defend the accused by building a strong investigation and defense. Attorney Warren Freeman has more than two decade’s legal experience. He’s litigated some of the most challenging lawsuits across several counties in Alabama.Warren is one of the premier attorneys in Central Alabama. Call the office of Warren Freeman Attorney at Law today on (256) 253-3169, or contact us by filling out a form here.