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Most domestic violence charges can be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor. A defendant charged with a felony can serve significant time in prison, whereas a defendant charged with a misdemeanor may serve only a short jail term or be required to pay a fine, attend counseling or be put on probation. Contact an experienced criminal defense attorney in your area today to learn more about your options.
Whether a crime is a felony or a misdemeanor is determined by the seriousness of the crime and the relevant state laws. In many jurisdictions, acts that result in serious injuries are charged as felonies. Cases with no injury or slight injury are charged as misdemeanors. A prosecutor also may consider prior violent acts by the defendant to determine the level of crime to charge.
Sentencing for misdemeanor domestic violence convictions differs state to state. The penalties also depend on the specific facts of each case. The court will consider prior convictions, whether the abuser was on probation or parole, the local community’s attitude toward the crime and any other mitigating or aggravating circumstances.
Some of the penalties that may attach to misdemeanor domestic violence include:
In many states, misdemeanor defendants may face up to a year in the county jail plus a significant fine for each charged offense, but judges may be more lenient for first time offenders.
Penalties for felony convictions are more serious than for misdemeanors, and vary greatly by state, by the severity of the crime and by the particular circumstances of each case. Generally, penalties range from shorter prison terms and moderate fines for less severe felonies to life sentences and large fines for more serious offenses. States with the death penalty may seek it in cases of domestic violence that result in death.
Contact a criminal defense lawyer in your area for more information on domestic violence crimes and sentencing. An experienced attorney can explain your state’s laws and how they apply to your situation.
DISCLAIMER: This site and any information contained herein are intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.