What you should know about Domestic Violence Charges
Domestic Violence is defined as committing violence by someone who has what is known as a “qualified relationship” with the person claiming abuse. Alabama law breaks down crimes (both felonies and misdemeanors) into degrees, similar to other states. A “qualified relationship” are those between spouses, former spouses, those who share a child, people living in the same household, those in a dating, or formerly in, relationship. Qualified Relationship status also applies to parents, step-parents, children, or step-children to the victim of the abuse.
It is advisable to speak with an attorney if charged with a felony or misdemeanor. Call Warren Freeman Attorney at Law on (256) 253-3169 today for advice on your case.
Domestic Violence Charges
Domestic Violence in the First Degree is a Class A felony in Alabama. It is the worst charge to receive. This charge is defined as committing Assault in the First Degree, aggravated stalking, or Burglary in the First Degree. When these crimes are committed by individuals against whom the victim holds a Qualified Relationship then it is considered Domestic Violence in the First Degree.
Second Degree Domestic Violence in Alabama is defined as committing the crimes of Assault or Burglary in the Second Degree. It is further defined as committing Witness Intimidation, Stalking, or criminal mischief (in the First or Second degree). Second Degree Domestic Violence is a Class B Felony. Domestic Violence by Strangulation or Suffocation is also considered a Class B Felony. Committing violence or physical harm by means of “intentionally causing asphyxia” is part of the definition Alabama uses for this Class B Felony.
The Crimes of Menacing, Reckless Endangerment, Criminal Coercion, Criminal Trespassing (in the 3rd Degree), Arson (in the 3rd Degree), and Criminal Mischief (in the 2nd or 3rd Degree) are all defined as Domestic Violence in the Third Degree if they are committed against those with a qualified relation to the perpetrator. This is a Class A misdemeanor but can also turn into a Class C Felony.
What is an Order of Protection (PFA Order)?
In Alabama any person 18 years or older, or who has been emancipated, can petition for a PFA Order. To request the order the person must claim abuse or claim to be in imminent danger of being a victim.
A PFA Order is meant for those who have gone through abuse or believe they will be in danger. Abuse for a PFA order is defined as any of the criminal acts explained above, as well as any criminal act in the Alabama Criminal Code if there is also a “qualified relationship” between abuser and victim.
A PFA Order is valid throughout the State and can be requested in the county the person is receding in, the victim or the abuser resided in when the abuse occurred, or a county where the victim and abuser are currently going through a family law case.
What to do if you have been arrested for Domestic Violence
Domestic Violence charges can be a very stressful situations. Not just for the person charged with the offense but also their family and extended family. Immediately after a person is charged they are read their Miranda Rights. We highly recommend you exercise your rights and not give any statements without an attorney present. Working with an attorney throughout your case is also highly recommended. Due to the nature of the case, Domestic Violence cases are usually prosecuted more severely and aggressively than other cases.
Contact Us today if you have been charged. Time is essential when it comes to this matter. The sooner you have an attorney by your side the better your chances of a proper defense are.