A charge for domestic violence, whether a misdemeanor or a felony, will carry serious, lifelong consequences for the person accused of the crime. A person facing domestic violence charges will have a hard time proving their side without a strong defense attorney and a solid understanding of how the laws work in these cases.
If you are facing family violence battery charges, you will undoubtedly need the legal guidance of an experienced Gwinnett County domestic violence lawyer who has seen many cases and can defend your rights to justice.
Defining the Charge
The range of acts that could constitute domestic violence is ample and nuanced. Domestic violence offenses may include:
- Verbal or emotional abuse
- Child neglect or physical abuse
- Threatening violence against a family member
- Physical abuse or assault
- Sexual abuse or assault
- Rape of a spouse
- Battery or aggravated battery
- Harassment or stalking
- Abusing or neglecting elders
Most domestic violence cases stem from an assault or battery. People who are considered part of a domestic violence case may be those who are dating or living together, children, elderly parents or grandparents, siblings, or family members by law (step-wives, foster children, half children).
Essentially domestic violence happens between members of a household or family who have an intimate relationship and have suffered some act of violence or abuse. They key is that they must currently or in the past have lived together.
While domestic violence cases are not something to be dismissed, it is not unheard of that domestic violence cases can be proven to be a false accusation in which a family member accuses a partner, parent, grandparent, etc. of committing an abuse against them with the purpose to get them in trouble. The case can turn into a “he said, she said” conundrum that could be an uphill battle to fight against.
It is advisable to consult a Gwinnett County domestic violence lawyer to learn about rights and what should be done in the event that an accusation happens.
Preparing a Defense
Once it is clear that family violence accusation or charges will be laid, it is crucial to contact a Gwinnett County domestic violence attorney to prepare a defense. These charges can be based on little more than accusations, and even if there is no physical evidence that there has been abuse, especially with cases of emotional or verbal abuse, it often comes down to the alleged victim’s story against that of the alleged abuser’s story.
After an accusation has been made, law enforcement may begin an investigation even if the person who made the report later decides that they would like to drop the case.
In fact, the mere accusation of domestic violence may cause lasting troubles for the accused as it can threaten parental custody and rights to see children or could mean a protective order is put in place that prohibits the person accused of abuse from seeing their loved ones involved in the dispute.
Family violence battery charges can result in immigration consequences. The charges can have a person deported as a violation of a protective order will be charged as a felony resulting in a visa not being renewed.
Domestic violence offenses face harsher penalties than other crimes of a similar nature. Simple assault, when it does not involve family, will be charged as a misdemeanor, but simple assault between family members is immediately elevated to a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature, which means the penalty is harsher and could be as much as $5,000 in fines and up to a year in jail.
A second domestic violence offense will be charged as a felony whereas other crimes of a similar nature will not. A felony will be punished with a fine and anywhere from one to five years in jail.
Any criminal charge will also come with a criminal record that can make finding gainful employment or applying for housing extremely challenging. In addition to these punishments, a parent may be prohibited from seeing their family, including their children. To prevent such penalties, it is critical that an individual consults a Gwinnett County domestic violence attorney as soon as possible.
Benefit of an Attorney
Family violence battery charges have far-reaching and lasting repercussions that will upend the lives of the accused abuser and the victim. The instability that such a crime could bring to a family is sometimes insurmountable.
To add to these problems, being arrested for a criminal charge could mean facing a trial and possible penalties that will include fines and jail time, as well as a criminal record that will mar a person’s reputation for life.
In the event of an accusation for family violence, having an experienced domestic violence attorney in Gwinnett County on your side can provide the expertise and guidance necessary to get through the difficult period of the investigation and the trial while minimizing damages. If you are facing domestic violence charges, you will need the services of a top Gwinnett County domestic violence lawyer as soon as possible.