In Alabama, domestic violence occurs when certain types of physical conduct is committed between individuals who are involved in one of several distinct sorts of relationships. Extremely sensitive in nature, domestic violence charges inevitably require extensive examination of the facts leading up to the event in question, the nature of the relationship at issue, and prior conduct by the parties. Consequences of a domestic violence conviction can be very severe, whether the specific offense at issue is classified as a misdemeanor or a felony, with guilty findings regularly resulting in jail time, costly fines and more.
If you are facing a charge within this category, there is no room for delay in developing your defense, and an Alabama domestic violence lawyer is prepared to work with you to fight for justice.
According to Alabama Code § 13A-6-139.1, in order for a charge of domestic violence to be issued, the aggressive conduct involved must have occurred between the accuser and accused, both of whom are part of one of the following relationship dynamics:
- Current or former dating partners
- Parties currently or formerly engaged to be married
- Current or former spouses
- Parents and children
- Parents or divorced co-parents of a child
- Current or former members of the same household
Degrees of Domestic Violence
The state legislature has divided domestic violence crimes into a series of categories, each of which represents the seriousness of the charge and the severity of the potential penalties that can apply. They are delineated as follows:
- First degree domestic violence involves either an act of first-degree assault or aggravated stalking
- Second degree domestic violence involves non-aggravated stalking, witness intimidation, second or third-degree burglary or first-degree criminal mischief
- Third degree domestic violence involves acts of menacing, third-degree assault, criminal coercion, harassment, reckless endangerment, third-degree criminal trespass, third-degree arson or second or third-degree criminal mischief
A knowledgeable Alabama domestic violence attorney can aid in assessing the severity of the degree of which an individual was charged, and prepare a robust defense to help reduce any potential penalties faced.
Penalties and Consequences
As stated earlier, the prospective penalties for domestic violence crimes in Alabama can be profound, depending on the defendant’s prior record and whether the offense in question is considered a Class A felony, a Class B felony, or a Class A misdemeanor.
First-degree domestic violence can carry up to a life term of imprisonment, and those with prior convictions will be forced to serve at least one year before becoming eligible for early release. Second-degree crimes are Class B felonies potentially bringing upwards of 20 years’ imprisonment. Third-degree convictions carry up to one year in jail.
Any defendant who is convicted of first or second-degree domestic violence while simultaneously violating a protective order will receive a doubling of the minimum term of incarceration provided by law. An experienced domestic violence lawyer in Alabama can determine any appropriate consequences, and help to argue an individual’s penalties down to a lessening degree.
Contacting An Attorney
Viable defense strategies, including self-defense, can succeed when employed by an experienced Alabama domestic violence attorney. Time is of the essence, and there is no margin for error when dealing with these cases. The sooner a lawyer is retained, the greater the defendant’s chances of achieving a positive outcome are, or at least a mitigation of potential punishments. The lasting impact of a conviction on your life and that of your loved ones cannot be overstated.