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Domestic violence charges are serious offenses in Alabama and can carry harsh penalties for those convicted. In Jefferson County, charges of domestic violence are broken down into various degrees, with first-degree being the most serious and third-degree being the least serious of the three. A person may be charged for domestic violence for stalking, menacing, criminal coercion, and harassment.

Fighting any of these charges can be tough, with prosecutors using evidence gathered by the police to convince a judge or jury to render a conviction. Having a Jefferson County domestic violence lawyer who specializes in this area of the law can be crucial to mounting an effective defense. An experienced criminal defense lawyer could help advocate for you and fight for your rights.

What Relationships are Considered Domestic?

Per Alabama statute, the charge of domestic violence is broken down into three degrees. A person is guilty of first-degree domestic violence if they intentionally cause serious physical injury using a deadly weapon to a:

  • Spouse or former spouse
  • Child or parent
  • Household member or former household member
  • Someone whom they are dating or have dated

A person is guilty of second-degree domestic violence if they intentionally cause serious physical injury to any of the above types of individuals, but do not use a weapon or instrument. Third-degree domestic violence involves non-serious injury against the aforementioned types of people. This category also includes the criminal violations of menacing, reckless endangerment, criminal coercion, and harassment.

Possible Punishments for Domestic Violence

First-degree domestic violence is considered a Class A felony and is, therefore, a very serious offense involving expensive fines and an incarceration term of up to life in prison. Second-degree domestic violence is a Class B felony, which is punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Third-degree domestic violence is a Class A misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to a year in jail.

What are Protective Orders?

If a protective order (or restraining order) was violated to commit first- or second-degree domestic violence, the minimum prison term may be doubled. Alleged victims may also request a protective order, which can restrain your freedom and further hurt your family life.

Domestic violence charges can affect a person’s life in a significant and negative manner. The consequences of these charges make building a strong defense especially important. A Jefferson County domestic violence lawyer who is experienced in the domestic violence cases can help those who do not know how to de-escalate their situation.

How a Jefferson County Domestic Violence Attorney Can Help

Charges of domestic violence are brought based on the evidence gathered by police and can include witness statements and observations made by law enforcement. This can make defending against such charges difficult.

An experienced attorney can help in any number of ways, sometimes by attacking the admissibility and veracity of evidence, and sometimes by finding avenues of defense in the finer points of the law. If you are facing domestic violence charges, call a Jefferson County domestic violence lawyer today. Your rights and best interests can be represented in light of this misunderstanding.