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Domestic Violence Third Degree Alabama: DV 3rd or DV III

By: Whitney Polson, Partner in the Criminal Defense Lawyer Office of Polson Law Firm in Metro Birmingham AL

In Alabama, domestic violence in the third degree occurs when certain types of physical conduct occur between individuals who are involved (or were previously involved) in one of several distinct sorts of domestic relationships. New AL domestic violence laws modified the Alabama domestic violence 3rd offense provisions relating to certain types of assault, harassment, menacing, criminal mischief, criminal trespass, reckless endangerment and/or criminal surveillance.

These AL domestic violence laws are far different from other southern states like South Carolina, Georgia or Mississippi. Each jurisdiction writes and enacts its own statutes. So, Alabama domestic violence laws 2017 can be dramatically different from other states' DV laws.

Alabama domestic violence law violations are extremely volatile crimes. Taking out a temporary restraining order deals with sensitive issues, since jail is likely. Taking this legal action can create a huge rift between related parties. Because other Alabama laws permits an aggrieved party to seek your arrest without the necessity of a warrant under Alabama Code 13A-6-134, even a misdemeanor domestic violence 3rd Alabama can put you behind bars.

When domestic violence Alabama relationship abuse involves intervention by a judge and a court, mandatory adjustments in how the parties' relationship will continue are common. So, if a person can avoid domestic abuse 3rd degree crimes, he or she will not be told where to go and NOT go, and what to not do.

Domestic violence charges are sometimes referred to as domestic violence third degree assault offenses. This is because assault entails incorrigible or disagreeable interpersonal interactions with people close to you that fall short of inflicting physical harm, but which are destructive. Once the criminal action is started, extensive examination by a judge will be required. This includes a review of the facts leading up to the event in question, inquiry into the nature of the relationship at issue, and any prior unlawful relationship conduct between these parties.

Consequences of a third-degree 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.

7 Common Alabama Domestic Violence Questions and Answers
  1. Is domestic violence 3rd degree a felony in Alabama? Possibly, see below.
  2. Is domestic violence 3rd degree in Alabama a misdemeanor? Yes.
  3. Can you drop domestic violence charges in Alabama? Possibly, but not always.
  4. What are the various domestic violence degrees in AL?1st, 2nd and 3rd. Only domestic violence 3 is a misdemeanor.
  5. Did the new Alabama domestic violence laws 2016 alter current law? No.
  6. How can I find the 3rd degree domestic violence definition? The next section gives that to you.
  7. Can a person still have a misdemeanor after 3 domestic violence charges? Possibly, but a 3rd domestic violence event would involve stiffer jail time and other penalties, depending on prior convictions of any other crimes.
Alabama Code - Section 13A-6-132 — Domestic Violence - Third Degree.
  1. A person commits domestic violence in the third degree if the person commits the crime of assault in the third degree pursuant to Section 13A-6-22; the crime of menacing pursuant to Section 13A-6-23; the crime of reckless endangerment pursuant to Section 13A-6-24; the crime of criminal coercion pursuant to Section 13A-6-25; or the crime of harassment pursuant to subsection (a) of Section 13A-11-8; and the victim is a current or former spouse, parent, child, any person with whom the defendant has a child in common, a present or former household member, or a person who has or had a dating or engagement relationship with the defendant. Domestic violence in the third degree is a Class A misdemeanor, except the defendant shall serve a minimum term of imprisonment of 48 hours in a city or county jail or detention facility without consideration of reduction in time for any second or subsequent conviction under this subsection.
  2. The minimum term of imprisonment imposed under subsection (a) shall be double without consideration of reduction in time if a defendant willfully violates a protection order issued by a court of competent jurisdiction and in the process of violating the order commits domestic violence in the third degree.
  3. 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.

What is a Domestic Relationship?

New domestic violence laws in Alabama have updated various code section descriptions and guidelines of applicability. According to the domestic violence Alabama Code § 13A 6 132, in order for a charge of domestic violence to be issued, the aggressive conduct involved by the accused must have occurred between the victim and the accused, both of whom are part of one of the following domestic relationships:

  • Current or former spouse, parent, child or who had a dating or engagement relationship.
  • Parties currently or formerly engaged to be married
  • Current or former spouses
  • Parents and children
  • Parents or divorced co-parents of a child or stepchild of that union
  • Current or former members of the same household

Degrees of Alabama Domestic Violence Crimes

The state legislature has divided domestic violence crimes into several categories for which prohibited conduct is described. This description is of critical importance, because criminal laws must clearly notify citizens of what conduct is prohibited.

By setting up a hierarchy for misdemeanor or felony crimes, the Alabama lawmakers outlined the corresponding punishments that can follow being convicted. The "degree' of the crime corresponds with the seriousness of the charge. Misdemeanors in Alabama can carry up to 1 year in jail, and felonies are crimes for which 1 year and 1 day (or more) is the typical incarceration period.

Interestingly, a second-degree domestic violence felony is limited to 6 months of jail time. The law also states that this jail time is without consideration of probation, parole or good time credit, which means the judge can make you sit and think about your conduct for the full term.

These charges are delineated as follows:

  • Domestic violence 1st degree involves either an act of first-degree assault or aggravated stalking.
  • Domestic violence 2nd degree Alabama involves non-aggravated stalking, witness intimidation, second or third-degree burglary or first-degree criminal mischief.
  • Domestic violence 3rd degree 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.

Domestic Violence 3rd Degree Alabama – Misdemeanor, Felony or Both?

Domestic Violence 3rd Degree is one of the most common Domestic Violence charges initiated by law enforcement in Alabama and may either be a felony or a misdemeanor. But before answering the question of what makes Domestic Violence 3rd Degree a felony in Alabama, it is helpful to know what constitutes Domestic Violence 3rd Degree under Alabama Criminal Laws.

The crime of Domestic Violence 3rd Degree under Alabama Criminal Laws is more so an added label to an underlying misdemeanor criminal offense (Assault 3rd Degree, Harassment, Menacing, Reckless Endangerment, Criminal Coercion, the crime of Criminal Surveillance, Harassing Communications, Criminal Trespass 3rd Degree, Criminal Mischief 2nd or 3rd Degree, Arson 3rd Degree) and the victim is a current or former spouse, parent, step-parent, child, step-child, any person with whom the defendant has a child in common, a present household member, or a person who has or had a dating relationship with the defendant and the victim in the case has a statutorily defined relationship with the defendant.

What distinguishes between whether Domestic Violence 3rd Degree is a Felony or Misdemeanor in Alabama, is how many previous times the defendant has been convicted on Domestic Violence 3rd Degree. Having two prior convictions for Domestic Violence 3rd Degree in Alabama enhances a third or subsequent charge of Domestic Violence 3rd Degree to a Class C felony. A first or second conviction of Domestic Violence 3rd Degree in Alabama is a Class A misdemeanor, though a second conviction does require a minimum 10-day jail sentence.

Contacting a Domestic Violence Attorney Near Me in Alabama

Viable defense strategies, including self-defense, can succeed when defended by an experienced Alabama domestic violence attorney. Plus, carefully reading the text of the statute that you are accused of violating can sometimes yield grounds for a dismissal or a nolle prosequi of the charge. The Alabama appellate courts are quick to reverse a case if any of the elements of the crime are not proven at trial. Brand v. State, 960 So.2d 748 (Ala. Crim. App. 2006) [state failed to prove the dating relationship].

Time is of the essence so do not delay. The law does not give a margin for error for delaying an arrest, when a Judge hears facts at an ex parte hearing. The sooner a DV lawyer is retained, the greater the chances that the accused can avoid sitting behind bars and possibly achieve a positive outcome.

At a minimum, your criminal defense attorney can help you mitigate potential domestic violence punishments. The lasting impact of a conviction on your life and that of your loved ones cannot be overstated. Call today for a FREE lawyer consultation. Call today at 205-871-8838 or 205-222-4544 after normal business hours or text domestic violence consultation to 205-401-3171.

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