Domestic Violence Laws

Domestic violence is the criminal act of physically harming someone who lives with you or is otherwise in your family. There are literally thousands of cases of domestic violence heard in courtrooms around the nation every single day and this has become a growing problem in many areas. There are a number of federal laws that deal with domestic violence and that are designed to protect individuals who are married or who are in a domestic partnership. These laws protect against abuse and violence and many are designed to protect against stalking and specifically violence against women. There are federal laws that deal with this issue and a number of state laws as well.

Congress enacted a bill in 1994 that was designed to provide more jurisdiction over domestic violence and occur at the community level. Until that time, domestic crimes were dealt with only on state and local levels. The Violence Against Women Act was created to help protect children and women from such crimes. The legislation created specific laws that were designed to address certain types of domestic crime on the federal level.

States were then asked to set harsher penalties for those conducting domestic violence and over the years, many laws have been created that also addressed other issues such as those that involve the internet where stalking and abuse is concerned. Laws have been enacted that provide funding for victims and children and the government now offers grants that are designed to help individual states to provide more programs of support to domestic crime victims.

Charges can be filed as misdemeanor crimes or felonies. How the charges are filed will determine the penalty for the crime. The charges are typically based on the extent of the injuries that are received as well as whether or not the accused has any history of domestic abuse. If there is a past criminal history or a past history of domestic violence, charges are typically more severe. Misdemeanor convictions normally results in a short time in jail and possibly rehabilitation such as anger management. Community service may be ordered and fines may need to be paid.

A felony charge of domestic violence typically sees stiffer sentencing. In some cases, prison time could be ordered. Those with a past history of criminal violence are normally sentenced to time in prison in addition to fines and in many cases, they may be restricted from seeing family members who were victims of their abuse. Abusive parents for instance may lose custody of their children due to domestic violence. Courts typically take into account the relationship between the abuser and the victim as well as the victim’s interests. Sentencing is typically determined by the history of the accused as well as the best interest of the victims.

Those charged with domestic violence who are actually innocent will need an aggressive attorney in most cases. These charges can be difficult to overcome and only an experienced attorney will know how to prove the accused’s innocence and keep him or her from spending time in jail.

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