If you are being abused by your partner, you can contact National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233.
Domestic violence cases are an often misunderstood area of law due to the stigma associated with the concept of abuse. Clearly, domestic violence is abhorrent and those who commit such crimes should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. But to discuss this topic, we have to be unemotional and look at the facts.
Unlike ordinary battery charges, domestic violence cases have specific elements and unique consequences. What is considered a domestic violence assault is usually not the same as a normal assault, and the penalties are often harsher in some cases. So, let’s get into today’s post: Can Domestic Violence Go to Jail?
In this blog post, I will cover the following topics:
- State laws do vary
- different levels of domestic violence
- First-time offenders may not go to jail
- What happens when someone is arrested for domestic violence?
State laws do vary
Most state laws criminalize violence against someone with whom you have an existing relationship. State laws do vary, but a person is usually guilty of domestic assault if they commit an assault on a certain type of victim:
- current or former spouse
- Family members related by blood or marriage
- person living or formerly living with the offender
- someone who is or was in a dating or romantic relationship with the offender, or
- People who have children with criminals.
different levels of domestic violence
In my home state of Missouri, there are varying degrees of domestic violence assault charges (1st, 2nd, and 3rd) based on the crime committed. Third-degree domestic violence occurs when a person commits any of the following acts against a person designated as a “domestic victim.”
- attempting to inflict or recklessly inflict bodily harm
- Acting by criminal negligence, causing bodily harm to a domestic victim with a deadly weapon or dangerous implement
- Threatening the victim so that the victim fears immediate physical harm
- Recklessly engaging in conduct that creates a serious risk of death or serious bodily harm
- intentionally engages in physical contact with the victim knowing that the victim will find the contact objectionable, or
- Deliberately attempting to cause or cause isolation of a victim by unreasonably or materially restricting or restricting access to other persons, communication devices, or vehicles.
This charge is a Class A misdemeanor in my state and carries a maximum penalty of one year in prison and a $1,000 fine. However, if the offense is a third conviction, it is a felony punishable by up to four years in prison.
Second Degree Domestic Violence is prosecuted when someone attempts to inflict or intentionally inflict bodily harm on a domestic victim through a deadly weapon/dangerous instrument/suffocation/suffocation. Fees can also be charged when someone recklessly causes grievous bodily harm. The charge is a Class C felony and carries a maximum sentence of seven years in prison.
First degree domestic violence is prosecuted when someone attempts to kill a domestic victim or intentionally causes or attempts to cause grievous bodily harm to a domestic victim. If the victim does suffer serious injuries, it is a Class A felony punishable by 10 to 30 years or life in prison.
If the crime does not cause grievous bodily harm to the victim, it is a Class B felony and carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison.
Again, these are not universal punishments or laws. They do vary from state to state. We are not lawyers and are not qualified to give legal advice. If you are a victim of domestic violence, contact a lawyer. If you are in immediate danger contact the police.
First-time offenders may not go to jail
First-time domestic violence offenders are not necessarily treated the same way as someone with a history of domestic violence. First-time offenders are usually charged with misdemeanors unless there are aggravating circumstances. In this case, offenders face up to a year in prison and a fine.
Courts will recognize repeat offending as a pattern of behaviour, and often tougher measures will be taken to protect victims and the community.
What happens when someone is arrested for domestic violence?
Because prisons do not keep perpetrators of domestic violence safe, victims are often afraid to report abuse and file a lawsuit. The unknown can be scary, but that’s what usually happens when someone is arrested for domestic violence.
The first step is for the defendant to be arrested and registered with the county or city jail. Then, an arraignment will take place and the court will find out what the suspect is accused of. This is when the defendant will plead guilty or not guilty.
This is also the point at which bail is set or the suspect releases himself on bail. Following the arraignment, the court will schedule new court dates for the remainder of the proceedings.
Depending on the circumstances, the suspect may remain in jail, but this is not always a certainty. If you have an allegation of domestic violence against someone, it is a good idea to contact a friend or family member for help.Alternatively, you can call National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233.
Again, contact an attorney for specific legal advice in your state. We are not lawyers and do not provide legal advice. This blog post is for informational purposes only.
What domestic violence resources are available in your area? Let us know in the comments below.
Sources: Missouri Domestic Violence Laws What Happens to First-Time Domestic Violence Offenders? How long do you go to jail for domestic violence? What people don't know about domestic assault