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Both state and federal legislators have enacted laws designed to protect Crenshaw County residents in domestic violence situations. As domestic violence charges can have profoundly damaging repercussions for the accused individuals, consulting a Crenshaw County domestic violence lawyer may be highly beneficial if you are facing such charges.

A domestic violence conviction might result in incarceration and fines, and the ensuing permanent criminal record may adversely affect your ability to find employment, pursue some careers, and even have unsupervised contact with your children. A seasoned criminal defense attorney may be your best source of support when it comes to defending yourself against allegations of domestic violence.

Defining Domestic Violence

Under Alabama Code §13A-6-139.1, domestic violence occurs when individuals commit or attempt to commit specific crimes against some family or household members. These crimes may include assault, child abuse, harassment, sexual abuse, stalking, unlawful imprisonment, and any other conduct punishable as a criminal act.

To qualify as a domestic violence offense, the involved parties must share one of the following relationships:

  • Currently or formerly related by marriage, which includes common law marriage
  • Have a child in common, regardless of whether they ever were married or resided together
  • Currently or previously in a dating relationship, or currently or formerly lived together in a romantic or sexual relationship, as well as any relatives who reside or resided with them
  • Parents, stepparents, children, and stepchildren who reside or resided in the same household

Domestic violence offenses also tend to include the imposition of a protection order, the violation of which is also a criminal offense. As the potential penalties for a domestic violence conviction may be severe, individuals facing domestic violence charges may wish to consult a Crenshaw County attorney for advice.

First-Degree Domestic Violence Offenses in Crenshaw County

Ala. Code §13A-6-130 defines first-degree domestic violence as the commission of first-degree assault or aggravated stalking against a qualifying family or household member. This offense is a Class A felony, which might result in a prison sentence ranging from ten years to life in prison. A second or subsequent conviction carries a mandatory minimum sentence of one year.

It should be noted that the minimum jail or prison term may double if the accused party commits first-degree domestic violence in the course of violating a protection order, in the presence of a child under the age of 14, or if the target of the offense is the parent or legal guardian of the child. A domestic violence lawyer in Crenshaw County could build a strong defense on behalf of individuals accused of this specific offense.

Second and Third-Degree Domestic Violence Offenses

Under Ala. Code §13A-6-131, second-degree domestic violence occurs when individuals commit one of the following criminal offenses against a family or household member:

  • Second-degree assault
  • Intimidation of a witness
  • Stalking
  • Second or third-degree burglary or first-degree criminal mischief

Second-degree domestic violence, a Class B felony, carries a mandatory minimum six-month jail sentence for a second or subsequent conviction. As with first-degree domestic violence, the minimum term of imprisonment doubles when the offense involves violation of a protection order or the presence of a child under the age of 14.

Third-degree domestic violence, as defined by Ala. Code §13A-6-132, occurs when an individual commits various criminal offenses against a family or household member. Among others, these offenses include third-degree assault, harassment, or criminal trespass in the third degree.

While this offense is a Class A misdemeanor, a conviction requires a mandatory minimum sentence of incarceration of 30 days of committed in the course of violating a protection order and ten days for a second conviction. A third or subsequent offense is a Class C felony.

Contact a Crenshaw County Domestic Violence Attorney for Help

A domestic violence conviction carries the potential for uniquely harsh penalties. Aside from the possibility of incarceration and a permanent criminal record, a family violence conviction may harm your ability to seek jobs and career advancement in the future. A Crenshaw County domestic violence lawyer may be able to describe the full implications of a conviction to you.

The collateral consequences of a conviction could be grave and impact your life for years. Seeking legal counsel might be the best means of protecting your rights and avoiding an unfavorable outcome in your case. To get started on your case, call today.