Domestic Assault is a charge that is handled by the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court. It is a class one misdemeanor with maximum penalties of one (1) year in jail and a $2500 fine. In addition the police will issue a Temporary Protective Order requiring you to have no contact with the household or family member alleging the assault. This Order may be extended or become permanent depending on the situation and the determination of the Judge. Many times this will result in not being allowed to remain in your home if the alleged victim is also living there. It is important to understand that these no contact orders mean no contact of any kind. That will include telephone contact, email and indirect contact through a third person. Violation of these orders can result in additional charges and separate penalties as well as bond revocation and incarceration pending trial.
A family member for the purpose of this law includes anyone living together, legally married couples, children living in the home whether yours or not and those who have children together whether living together or not. If the matter involves a child Social Services and Child Protective Services will probably be involved in the case as well as the prosecution itself, and these agencies may place additional requirement on the family such as interviews, family counseling and home visits.
Very often these cases are difficult because of the emotional involvement of the parties. Many times these cases involve the use of alcohol or drugs. They very often occur during pending divorce or separation.
These cases require special scrutiny due to the high potential to falsely bring these charges to gain leverage in divorce, separation, custody and support issues. The Courts are aware of how highly charged these cases can be and consider these factors when determining the disposition in these matters.
There are defenses to these charges including self defense, false allegations and others. If this is the case they can be discussed during a consultation and a determination can be made if the case merit’s a trial. In cases where there are no defenses to the charge there can be alternative dispositions that do not include a conviction. Often family counseling, parenting classes, anger management counseling and other interventions can be entered into that can result in no conviction after successful completion. Your attorney can discuss these alternatives with you and the prosecutor in your case.