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Criminal Domestic Violence Laws

Domestic violence has many names. Spousal abuse, family violence and domestic abuse are just a few of them. Domestic violence can be defined by many instances such as physical assault, threats, mental and emotional abuse, stalking or intimidation. These definitions differ from country to country. While most people consider domestic abuse as being physical, there are many other ways a person can commit domestic abuse. Imprisonment, kidnapping, harassment, and criminal coercion are also considered forms of domestic violence. Take a look at the questions below regarding domestic violence.

What is the difference between domestic violence charge and disorderly conduct charge?

Disorderly conduct is acting in a disruptive manner in public. Starting a fight, playing loud music, screaming or yelling is acts of disorderly conduct. Domestic violence is the act of assaulting a person who you live with. This could be a sibling, spouse or boy/girl friend.

While both charges are considered misdemeanor offenses, domestic violence is usually handled in a more serious manner. For example, if a person has no prior offenses and is charged with disorderly conduct, they will usually receive a fine and court costs. While a person with no prior offenses is charged with domestic violence, they are probably going to receive fines and court costs, community service, anger management classes and probation.

Question about arraignment on domestic violence charges.

Case Details: I am being arraigned on domestic violence charges. There were no injuries except that I shoved my ex-girlfriend's boyfriend in a store. What is likely to happen at the arraignment?

The arraignment is where the judge will read the charges against you and he/she will ask you how you plead to the charges. Usually, people plead not guilty to allow them time to hire an attorney and build their case. If they find that they don't want to take the issue to court, the attorney will work out a plea agreement. If you can't afford an attorney, you can have one assigned to you through the judge. Just tell the judge that you cannot afford to hire an attorney. If this is a first offense, you probably shouldn't face any jail time. However, there are other issues like fines, court costs, probation, classes and community services. So before you make any plea agreement, you should speak with an attorney first to get the best outcome.

What should be done if a wife doesn't want to press domestic violence charges?

Case Details: I accidentally hit my wife in the mouth. She thought it was on purpose and called 911. The police told her to make a report and let them take pictures of the injury.

When dealing with domestic violence, the police have to follow up on any report made and usually make an arrest. Your wife will have to speak with the DA and explain that she knows that this is a mistake and that she doesn't want to pursue charges. However, if the state wants to, they can continue with the case with or without her testimony, based on the information obtained during the report and any evidence that was taken at the time of the call. Usually though, if the victim writes a letter of non-prosecution to the DA, the DA will dismiss the case. If the DA pursues the case, your wife will have to testify in court that you didn't intentionally hit her and convince the court that you are innocent.

Can the police arrest someone for domestic violence on the basis of a video?

Case Details: The act of domestic violence was was caught on video tape, but the police were not called and no one wants to press charges.

If the state chooses to pursue charges against you, the police can arrest you regardless of when the domestic violence took place. When the state gets involved in a domestic violence situation, they can pursue charges whether the victim wishes to or not. The victim can express their wishes about not pursuing charges but the final decision will be up to the state. The determination will be based on what evidence the state has which could include emails, texts, and video.

What should one do if there is a warrant for arrest on an old domestic violence charge?

There is only one way to take care of a warrant. You will have to turn yourself in. You need to hire an attorney to appear in court with you and convince the judge to release you on bond instead of holding you in a jail cell. If you can't afford an attorney, you can get assistance at the public defender's office. If you are a victim of domestic violence or have legal questions regarding domestic violence, you should contact an Expert.
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