While no criminal charge is a welcome criminal charge, being accused of a domestic violence crime like domestic assault can be particularly difficult. It’s the relationship between the accused and the alleged victim that often makes these charges so much more intense than others. Anytime there are emotions involved, the case dynamic is taken to a higher level.
Maybe you let your anger get the best of you and lashed out against your spouse. Perhaps, however, your domestic partner was the one who lashed out at you, and you don’t believe the charges are justified at all. Whatever the case, a criminal defense attorney can help you determine the best course of action for your particular circumstances.
When you are accused of a domestic violence charge, the police, prosecutor, and even your own friends and family can treat you as if you’ve already been found guilty. It can seem difficult to find anyone who is willing to go to bat for you. This is where your defense lawyer comes in.
A local domestic violence lawyer can be your advocate when it seems like no one is interested in what you have to say. They can represent your best interests in court and work to get you the best results possible.
Pennsylvania Domestic Assault Laws
The state of Pennsylvania takes domestic violence charges very seriously. And if you are accused of violating such laws, you can expect to be treated with a certain level of stern detachment.
What does “domestic” relationship mean?
Despite what you may have previously thought about domestic violence crimes, these aren’t just crimes that occur between a husband and a wife. As a matter of fact, the state law (ref. PA code § check my site 61-23) defines a domestic relationship as:
Spouses or persons who have been spouses, persons living as spouses or who lived as spouses, parents and children, other persons related by consanguinity or affinity, current or former sexual or intimate partners or persons who share biological parenthood.
This means you can be charged with a domestic violence offense for any familial relationship or for an offense that occurs between you and a current or ex-lover.
Pennsylvania Domestic Violence Offenses and Penalties
When you are charged with a domestic violence offense, you will face additional penalties than those people charged with harming a stranger. Any of the following offenses could be considered a domestic violence offense when committed against someone with whom you have a relationship as described above:
- Criminal restraint
- Sexual Assault
- Violating a protection order
- And more
In addition to facing the regular penalties for such an offense, you can face additional penalties because it is considered a domestic violence offense.
For instance, a Protection from Abuse order (PFA) will be issued, restricting your contact with the other person and possibly even restricting contact between you and your children. You can also be ordered to attend anger management classes or therapy.
The penalties for domestic violence offenses are many, and the stigma associated with such a conviction can be just as difficult to bear.
If you are accused of a domestic violence crime and are unsure of what your rights are or what should be done to mitigate the potential penalties, contact my offices today.