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Given the intimate nature of domestic violence, it can be difficult to establish the facts of a case. The parties involved will often have conflicting testimony without clear evidence to establish the truth of the matter. Domestic violence cases can be complicated and will have many future penalties and consequences.

That is why it is important to work with a Birmingham domestic violence lawyer. If you are facing domestic violence charges, your side of the story will only be heard if you have a defense attorney in Birmingham to stand up to the prosecution and fight for your rights.

Applicable Relationships

Domestic violence can differ from other common forms of violence due to the close relationship of those involved. An assault can only be classified as domestic violence if the parties involved are related in the following ways:

  • Present or former spouses
  • Parent and child
  • Parents of a child (i.g. elder abuse)
  • Present or former housemates
  • Partners who are dating or engaged

A Birmingham domestic violence attorney will determine if the crime in questions meets the strict definitions of domestic violence. If it does not, the defense will significantly alter the case.

Domestic Violence Classifications

Domestic violence charges are separated into three separate categories, each with its own burden of proof and potential penalty.

First-Degree

This charge applies if the defendant is accused of committing first-degree assault against a domestic partner. It can also apply in instances of aggravated stalking. It is classified as a Class A felony which has a maximum sentence of 99 years in prison.

Any defendant with a previous conviction for first-degree domestic violence must spend at least one year in jail if convicted again. Given the serious nature of this crime, it is essential to work with a dedicated Birmingham domestic violence lawyer who has experience with a variety of these cases.

Second-Degree

This type of charge is classified as a Class B felony and carries with it a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. If this is the second or subsequent conviction, the defendant must serve a minimum of six months in jail. In either case, the defendant will have a felony conviction on their record and must accept life-long prohibitions and restrictions that can make it difficult to find a job or housing.

Third-Degree

Minor instances of domestic violence are classified as a Class A misdemeanor and have a maximum penalty of a year in jail. Subsequent convictions mandate a minimum sentence of 10 days in jail. A domestic violence lawyer in Birmingham will fight to throw out the charge or reduce the penalty as much as possible.

How a Domestic Violence Attorney Can Help

If you have been charged with domestic violence of any degree, there are valid strategies for your defense. A Birmingham domestic violence attorney can argue the violence was committed in self-defense, or that it cannot be proven by the evidence introduced by the prosecution.

No matter what legal strategy you and your lawyer intend to pursue, the more time you have to prepare for court the stronger your defense will be. Getting in contact with an attorney as soon as possible is the best chance for a positive outcome in your case.