Top Decatur, AL Domestic Violence - Criminal Lawyers Near You

Domestic Violence - Criminal Lawyers

517 Bank St NE, Suite D, Decatur, AL 35601

Domestic Violence - Criminal Lawyers

107 Grant Street, PO Box 1474, Decatur, AL 35602

Domestic Violence - Criminal Lawyers

445 East Moulton Street, Suite 203, PO Box 655, Decatur, AL 35602

Decatur Domestic Violence - Criminal Information

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What Is Criminal Domestic Violence?

Criminal domestic violence occurs when a spouse or partner commits an act (or willfully threatens with the reasonable capacity to commit an act) of violence against the victim. Sexual abuse, spousal rape, intimate partner violence, battery and assault are all in territory nearby to criminal domestic violence, and charges spurring from such allegations often take these forms as well.

Under the expanded protections afforded to victims of domestic violence via the 1994 Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), emotional abuse, economic abuse (controlling finances to control behavior and force compliance from the victim) and psychological abuse can all be considered to be forms of domestic violence.

What Is The Difference Between Civil vs. Criminal Domestic Violence?

While criminal domestic violence, and charges pertaining to any number of offenses beneath that legal umbrella, are heard in criminal court, there are civil remedies available.

Civil courts are generally called upon, in alleged situations of domestic violence, to produce a restraining or protective order in favor of the alleged victim. Such an order may call for the defendant to maintain a physical distance from the victim and other family members, and violation of this civil order can result in immediate criminal charges.

Criminal domestic violence cases have a much higher burden of proof to clear. The onus is placed on the plaintiff to prove beyond any reasonable doubt that acts of abuse did occur. Civil courts have a much lower standard of proof in terms of awarding protective orders or restraining orders, but it is a common defensive strategy employed by alleged victims to set such boundaries before proceeding to a criminal case if deemed necessary.

Is Criminal Domestic Violence a Felony?

Acts of criminal domestic violence can be charged as either felonies or misdemeanors, depending on the specific nature of the charges as well as the jurisdiction. Cases heard in federal court are almost always prosecuted as felony charges.

At the state level, domestic violence charges can range from misdemeanor offenses to felony offenses. In some states, both third degree and second degree domestic violence charges are classified as misdemeanors, with first degree domestic violence and domestic violence of a high and aggravated nature (DVHAN) being classified as felonies.

It should be mentioned that domestic violence charges could also be classified as sexual abuse, battery, aggravated battery, or similar, rather than as strictly related to domestic violence.

What Is the Penalty for First-Degree Criminal Domestic Violence?

Federal domestic violence charges typically relate to the underpinning crime, although protections afforded via VAWA allow for additional charges to be appended to larger offenses. Battery, aggravated battery and sexual abuse charges can lead to 20 years to life in prison if you are found guilty of more serious offenses.

At the state level, punishments in response to first-degree (or aggravated) criminal domestic violence typically range from two years behind bars to up to 10 years imprisonment.

What Are Other Penalties for Criminal Domestic Violence?

With third and second degree domestic abuse charges being more common than first-degree or aggravated domestic abuse charges, penalties are less severe than those listed above. Domestic battery is sometimes listed as a first degree misdemeanor with a potential punishment, for those found guilty, of up to one year in county jail. Probation and a fine of up to $1,000 may also be a penalty for domestic violence.

How Can a Lawyer Help With Criminal Domestic Violence Charges in Alabama?

All charges of domestic violence — felony or misdemeanor — should be taken seriously. A conviction could result in a sizable jail or prison sentence in addition to substantial fines and restitution.

An experienced criminal defense attorney familiar with case law pertaining to domestic violence can help guide you through the facts and discuss the material evidence to craft the best case possible.

An attorney can also often resolve your particular legal issue faster and better than trying to do it alone. A lawyer can help you navigate the legal system, while avoiding costly mistakes or procedural errors.

What Do Judges Look for in Custody Cases?

In every state, family court judges must consider what is in the child’s best interests when determining custody. In most cases, judges emphasize making sure the child will spend ample time with both parents. To make this happen, a judge will likely want to know what each parent’s home environment is like, whether each parent will be able to give a child the proper attention, and which situation the child will be most likely to thrive in.

Who Has Legal Custody of the Child When the Parents Aren’t Married?

If the parents are not married, the child’s biological parents both have parental rights unless the law says otherwise. An exception to this could be if no father is listed on the child’s birth certificate. In that case, the father would have to go through the legal process of establishing paternity to be able to assert his parental rights for visitation.

How Can a Mother Lose Custody of Her Child?

A mother can lose custody of her child in much the same way a father could. This could include abusing the child, abusing drugs or alcohol, providing an unsafe home environment for the child, or abandoning the child.

How Can You Change a Child Custody Order?

If you or your ex are unhappy with the current custody arrangement, you can negotiate a change to your agreement. If a judge feels that the changes are still in the child’s best interests, then they may approve the order. If one of you is pressing ahead with seeking a change and the other parent is contesting it, you will need to prove a “substantial” change in circumstances. This could include one of the parents moving out of state, suffering from a disability or illness that affects their parenting ability, exposing the child to an unsafe environment, or having a change in work circumstances that requires rescheduling of visitation.

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