Many people facing domestic violence charges never imagined they would find themselves in that situation. Domestic violence laws apply to people in the same family or household, and situations where tensions can arise and disagreements can spiral out of control.
If you or someone you know has been charged with a domestic violence crime or received notice that someone is seeking a family violence protective order, it is important to understand the law and consult a DeKalb County domestic violence lawyer who can fight for you. Contacting a skilled criminal lawyer can be critical because a conviction of domestic violence has serious consequences.
Domestic Violence Laws in Georgia
A DeKalb County domestic violence lawyer can help potential clients better understand the laws they face before going to trial. In Georgia, the Family Violence Act pertains to the following categories of people:
- Spouses (both current and former)
- Parents of the same child
- Parents and children
- Stepparents and stepchildren
- Foster parents and children
- Current or former household members
Dealing with Harsh Sentencing
The important thing to understand is that domestic violence crimes generally have a harsher punishment than other crimes. For example, if someone is convicted of simple assault for striking a stranger during a dispute in a bar, the maximum punishment is a $1,000 fine and one year in prison.
If someone is convicted of simple assault for striking their housemate, they can face up to a $5,000 fine and one year in jail, with more restrictions on receiving credit for time served. Family violence convictions will cause a person to forfeit their ability to possess a gun. Further, a family violence battery conviction in Georgia can cause immigration consequences, such as deportation and Visa renewal denial.
Family Violence Protective Orders
Judges have the power to order a person who has been accused of domestic violence to not contact and stay away from members of their family or former household members. This can even include being ordered to vacate the family home, even if the accused person owns the home.
Somone having a protective order issued against them is not a criminal conviction, but can be a serious constraint on their liberty. Violating a protective order is a crime punishable by up to one year in jail and up to a $1,000 fine. Protective orders can be renewed and even become permanent.
If someone receives notice that an ex parte family protective order has been issued against them and there will be a hearing, they should seek out a determined lawyer who knows domestic violence law to defend them. A DeKalb County domestic violence lawyer will help them understand their options to fight their charges or negotiate a reduced plea or sentence.
Defenses to domestic violence or family violence battery can include fighting the credibility of the charges against them. If the charges arose from a parent-child relationship, Georgia law expressly allows for a reasonable discipline of a child by a parent. Individuals may also have options to enter into a pretrial diversion program, which allows them to avoid a conviction.
How an Attorney Can Help
Domestic violence charges and family violence battery can have a long-term impact on one’s family in addition to having potentially serious consequences such as a prison sentence. A DeKalb County domestic violence attorney will help you to make smart decisions amidst the fear and stress of facing charges, and find ways to defend and fight for you. An attorney can help you to make smart decisions amidst the fear and stress of facing charges, and find ways to defend and fight for you.