Those facing allegations of domestic violence could be facing charges of assault, aggravated assault, and battery. If the crime is against a family member or partner, then the charges may carry extra weight in some cases. If you’re facing charges related to domestic abuse in Stroudsburg, Bethleham or Palmerton, a defense attorney can examine your charges and help you create a defense against the charges.
What constitutes domestic abuse?
While your charges may not specifically read ‘”domestic violence,” Pennsylvania defines domestic abuse as certain crimes against household members, family members, former partners, parents, children, siblings, etc. The following actions may constitute domestic violence and lead to criminal charges:
- causing or attempting to cause bodily injury;
- sexual assault;
- assault or aggravated assault;
- false imprisonment;
- abusing a child; and
Per 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. 2711(a), a police officer may make an arrest if he or she has sufficient cause to believe you committed involuntary manslaughter, simple assault, aggravated assault, reckless endangerment, terroristic threats, or stalking against a family member as defined above. So even if the officer did not have a warrant, the arrest may still be valid. That said, your defense lawyer will examine the circumstances of the arrest when handling your case.
What consequences might I face if facing domestic violence charges?
The criminal penalties you’re facing will depend on the specific charges levied against you. A conviction for involuntary manslaughter may carry more severe penalties than a conviction for simple assault, for example.
In any domestic violence case, though, the victim of the alleged domestic violence may file a petition for protection. This may order you to abstain from:
- further acts of abuse;
- returning to the victim’s household; or
- entering the victim’s residence, workplace, or school.
It may also contain orders for temporary custody and payment of support to the alleged victim. Even if you believe yourself completely innocent, do not violate the terms of any court orders granted following the alleged abuse. This could further complicate your case and lead to additional penalties.
Building a Defense to Domestic Violence
Your lawyer will examine the case details to help you determine possible defenses to whichever charges you are facing. Some possible defenses include self-defense, such as if the alleged victim attacked you, causing you to use force to defend yourself. Provocation might be a valid defense in certain cases as well.
In some cases, the violence was merely a mistake. If there’s evidence that you did not intend to physically assault the alleged victim, it might be a valid defense. An example might be if you mistakenly struck the individual when turning around, not knowing they were present behind you.
Other possible defenses include insanity and proving that the alleged incident for which you are charged never took place. Discuss each possibility with your attorney, who can help you create a strategy for approaching the charges levied against you.
Call ARM Lawyers for Legal Defense
Do not attempt to handle your domestic violence-related charges on your own. Seek legal counsel with a defense attorney who handles cases involving the charges levied against you. If you’re in the Stroudsburg, Palmerton, or Bethlehem areas in Pennsylvania, call ARM Lawyers. We will evaluate your case and help you build a defense against the charges.
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