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Domestic Violence

Domestic violence refers to a physical harm inflicted on one member of a household or family, by another member of the same household or family.  Domestic violence is also known as ‘spousal abuse’, ‘child abuse’, or ‘intimate partner violence’, depending on the nature of the relationship of the parties involved.  Domestic violence usually involves repetitive physical and psychological abuse.

To be found guilty of domestic violence, there must be a domestic relationship.  Once a domestic relationship is proven, and act of violence must be alleged generally through one of the following acts: a) Assault b) Terroristic threats c) Sexual assault d) Criminal sexual contact e) Criminal restraint f) Criminal trespass g) Harassment h) Stalking.  All of these forms of domestic violence have one purpose, which is to gain and maintain total control over the victim.  Additionally, the violence can be direct physical violence (unwanted contact/rape); indirect physical contact (destruction of objects around victim); mental or emotional abuse; psychological abuse; or non-verbal threats.

Specific crimes charged through domestic violence vary based on 1) severity of the victim's injuries, 2) whether a minor was present, and 3) whether a protective or restraining order was violated.  Punishment for first time domestic violence offenders is usually probation and few days of jail time and community service.  However, felonies and misdemeanors committed in domestic violence can result in confinement in state prison.   Additionally, ‘stay away’ orders pending trial can be issued, and ‘protective orders’ can be administered by the court with prohibitions attached.  A domestic violence offender is also usually required to complete a one year counseling program in addition to significant fines and imprisonment when found necessary. To find a lawyer to defend a charge of domestic violence, please visit

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