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Domestic violence accusations in Alabama can, unfortunately, be common, and cases are prosecuted very seriously. There are cases where spouses or other intimate partners have been injured or threatened, but there are also cases where individuals have been accused unfairly.

Whatever your situation, you should talk to a Gulf Shores domestic violence lawyer who has handled these kinds of cases before and who knows how to fight for your rights. An experienced defense attorney in Gulf Shores can work hard to defend you in your case.

What Constitutes Domestic Violence

Examples of domestic violence include assault, battery, stalking, child abuse and abandonment, elder abuse, and threats of violence. While most charges for domestic violence involve family members, they can also be brought against dating partners, domestic partners, former dating partners, or people who share living quarters.

Threats of violence that the accuser perceives as intended to inflict serious bodily harm can be perpetrated on anyone. In the context of domestic violence, it would involve current or ex-spouses or dating partners, parents, children, and cohabitants.

Serious Penalties

A domestic violence offense can be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony with the penalties varying widely among the states. The severity of the injury or the threat, the previous record of the alleged perpetrator, and the age of the accuser are all factors in determining how serious the charge is.

Some typical penalties Gulf Shores domestic violence attorneys see are:

  • Community service
  • Fines
  • Anger management or intervention programs
  • Jail
  • Protective orders
  • Supervised visits with children
  • Termination of parental rights

Jail time is usually imposed if there is serious bodily injury or a continuing pattern of violence, or if the defendant has a criminal record. Incarceration times can vary from one month to several years.

Qualifying Forms of Abuse

Ordinary marital strife is not the same thing as abuse, and should not carry legal consequences. A skilled domestic violence lawyer in Gulf Shores will be able to investigate the situation, gather evidence, and make the strongest possible argument to the court.

Alabama has toughened its anti-stalking laws in recent years. While there already was a felony stalking law on the books, the addition of a misdemeanor stalking law has helped address domestic violence. In the past, to be convicted of stalking, which was a felony, a prosecutor had to prove a threat of death or bodily harm. For misdemeanor stalking, it has to be proven only that the stalker is causing mental or emotional harm or putting the accuser’s job at risk.

Restraining Orders

There are other issues related to domestic violence that can have a large impact on a person’s life, even if they do not lead to criminal charges. Sometimes a spouse will claim abuse to have the other spouse ejected from the family home, by obtaining a restraining order against them.

The legal standard in such matters is typically “clear and convincing evidence” – which means it is harder to defend against than the standard of “beyond a reasonable doubt.”

A parent may be asked to accept a consent order that, while avoiding immediate criminal charges, can lead to problems if the parent subsequently tries to seek custody or visitation rights. Sometimes this could still be the best choice, but the parent needs advice from counsel before making this sort of decision.

Contacting a Gulf Shores Domestic Violence Attorney

Gulf Shores domestic violence lawyers know that no relationship is perfect and that human beings make mistakes, but they also know how to defend your rights and make the strongest possible case on your behalf. Contact today to begin your case.