Domestic Violence

DV 4

Domestic violence is a very specific subcategory of a battery charge. It only applies to acts of violence between those related by blood or marriage, those who share a child in common, or those who ever lived together as a couple (not just roommates). Therefore, it does not apply to those who are dating but don’t have a child in common and never lived together.

Unlike in other situations, when the police are called to a domestic violence, someone is likely going to jail based on the statements given on scene, regardless of the wishes of the alleged victim. Even if there are no injuries, an allegation of just being grabbed or shoved is enough. Once in jail, bond will not be granted until reviewed by a judge at an initial appearance. Unless the alleged victim appears in court and requests otherwise, the judge will usually order “no contact” with the alleged victim upon release and “no return to the residence,” even if the alleged victim resides elsewhere. It can take up to 90 days for the government to make a filing decision, but a hearing can be set in the meantime to modify the original release orders, allowing return to the residence and non-hostile contact.

What if they “decline prosecution”?

A declination of prosecution is a statement by the alleged victim that they do not want to see charges filed against the accused. However, as with all cases, the decision to prosecute rests solely with the government. They can (and often will) proceed despite a declination to protect those victims who they believe are stuck in a cycle of domestic abuse. The arguments of your attorney, facts of the case, and past criminal conduct can influence their charging decision.

What can happen to me?

If convicted for a misdemeanor domestic violence charge, there is a possibility of a year in jail. If there were any injuries, the minimum jail sentence is 10, 15, or 20 days (depending on priors) and, if a child under 16 was present, that increases to 15, 20, or 30 days. There is also a mandatory 26-week batterer’s intervention program as a condition of probation. Often, the person will file for a civil injunction for protection (aka “restraining order”) in addition to the criminal charges. Unfortunately, the conviction can never be sealed or expunged off your record.

Common Defenses:

To schedule a domestic violence consultation with Blaine, visit our Appointments page.