Alabama Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer
Alabama takes domestic violence offenses seriously. It is a crime when someone abuses, harasses, assaults, or threatens a family member, a child, a former or current spouse, or someone from a dating relationship.
We have learned from experience that a person accused is not always guilty. Sometimes, an accuser can make false statements to gain an advantage before law enforcement and the court. Maybe it’s revenge or retaliation but being accused does not mean you are guilty.
At the same time, it’s essential for law enforcement to interfere in an instance where the victim is truly battered. She may feel helpless and believe she deserves the Violence delivered by her abuser. It’s a fine line for law enforcement responding to the scene to ascertain the situation.
Criminal defense attorney Jason Darley understands that just because law enforcement has been called to a scene does not make a person guilty. Often, things are not as they appear, and a thorough investigation into the facts, including any pattern of behavior, would reveal important information that will support your case.
There are also diversion programs that avoid a conviction that can lead to the dismissal of a domestic violence criminal charge.
Alabama Domestic Violence Laws
Domestic violence is defined as harm, Violence, harassment, or stalking against someone in your home, whether an adult or child. The victim can be a spouse, former partner parent, child, former household member, or anyone who dated or had a relationship with the accused abuser.
Under the umbrella of domestic abuse are other serious crimes such as rape, sexual offenses, murder, battery, assault, harassment, intimidating a witness, stalking, burglary, criminal mischief, criminal trespass, and arson.
Punishments tend to be more severe when the crime is defined as domestic violence since the state tries to protect those who are victims of domestic violence.
Penalties for Domestic Violence
Domestic violence is a serious crime in Alabama. There are three degrees of domestic violence crimes in Alabama.
First-Degree Domestic Violence – A first-degree charge is a Class A felony that includes charges of assault in the first degree and aggravated stalking. A Class A felony for Domestic Violence can bring a minimum of ten years in prison up to life and a substantial fine.
Second-Degree Domestic Violence – Domestic Violence in the second degree can include assault, stalking, burglary, witness intimidation, and criminal mischief. This is a Class B Felony with a minimum sentence of two years in prison, up to 20 years, and a $30,000 fine.
Third-Degree Domestic Violence – Third-degree domestic violence is the least serious of the charges and can include reckless endangerment, harassment, criminal trespass, and arson in the third degree. Punishment brings up to 180 days in jail and a fine of $500. The sentence before the District or Circuit Court is one year in jail and a $6,000 fine. Violate the law and a second and third conviction can land you up to a decade in prison.
Alabama Protection from Abuse Act (PFA)
The Protection from Abuse Act protects a victim of domestic violence who have been abused, harassed, or threatened. The protection can either be temporary or a final restraining order. It is similar to a legal separation but is not a divorce.
It will stay on your record as long as the order stands.
Orders of Protection
When the victim of an abuser seeks protection, it can be on a temporary or permanent basis. A Temporary Protection Order prevents the abuser from contacting the victim or anyone else who lives in the home, including children under 18. Additionally, the accused cannot approach the victim in her home, school, work, church, or anywhere she frequently attends. The temporary protection order is good for 14 days.
A victim can obtain an emergency PFA to protect her or himself in the face of imminent danger.
Final Protection Order
A final protection order protects a victim of domestic abuse permanently. It does not expire. In this case, a court hearing will be held, and the victim must prove the abuse took place. The abuser is allowed to attend this hearing. This is an emotional time for the victim, and some fail to show out of intimidation.
It is up to the judge to determine whether a Final Protection Order is merited, and the judge may determine that the abuser must also pay court fees, child support, and spousal support, as well as provide transportation if the victim has none.
The final PFA will be good for one year unless the judge specifies another length of time.
Violating Domestic Violence Protection Orders
Violate a domestic violence protection order, and you can expect a one-year prison term and a fine of up to $6,000. If you continue to violate the order, there will be additional fines and more jail time on top of your current sentence.
Your Alabama Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you are experiencing domestic violence in Alabama, assume it will not improve. These are volatile and emotional crimes. You may be a victim, or if you are the accused, you may be arrested without a warrant under Alabama law. Often, this stays on your record.
Criminal defense attorney Jason Darley advocates for those charged with this crime and will help you find alternatives to incarceration. He will guide you through the legal process to minimize jail time, fines, and charges.
Contact Jason Darley for a complimentary consultation. The sooner we begin the conversation, the more likely we can craft a successful defense strategy to minimize the impact on your life. Contact Mr. Darley at his Mobile office at (251) 441-7772.