What Constitutes Domestic Violence in Alabama?
Domestic violence is one of the more common types of criminal cases prosecuted in the local courts. As such, it is vigorously pursued and carries serious penalties. You can be arrested for a domestic violence crime based on inadequate evidence that is often unfounded. Such “evidence” can involve falsehoods and exaggerated or misleading statements by the alleged victim.
Under Alabama law, various types of aggressive misconduct are considered to be domestic violence when they involve individuals in certain relationships, including:
- Current spouses and ex-spouses
- Co-parents of a child
- Individuals who are engaged or were formerly engaged
- Individuals currently dating or who formerly dated
- Current or former household members
Domestic violence charges can be based on a variety of offenses and can involve sex crimes, weapons crimes, or allegations made to bias a court in divorce or child custody cases. These crimes often lead to enforced restraining orders. Restraining orders bring with them many types of restrictions, such as prohibiting any type of contact with the victim, removing you from your home, and alienating you from your children. You may lose custody of your children and be forced to provide child support, spousal support, or restitution to your accuser.
Alabama Domestic Violence Penalties
First-degree domestic violence is the most serious and includes:
- First-degree assault or
- Aggravated stalking
- Second-degree assault,
- Stalking that is not aggravated,
- Witness intimidation,
- First- or second-degree burglary, or
- First-degree criminal mischief
- Third-degree assault,
- Reckless endangerment,
- Coercion, and
- Various degrees of criminal trespass, criminal mischief, and arson
A fourth category of domestic violence occurs through the attempt to strangle or suffocate the victim as a form of physical harm or menacing.
First-degree domestic violence is charged as a Class A felony in Alabama, carrying penalties of up to life in prison. If you have a previous conviction of this crime, you will be ineligible for parole or probation without serving at least 1 year.
Second-degree domestic violence crimes and domestic violence through strangulation or suffocation are charged as Class B felonies. They are punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Previous convictions of this offense will require a minimum of 6 months of incarceration prior to being eligible for parole or probation.
Third-degree domestic violence offenses are charged as Class A misdemeanors, punishable by up to 1 year in jail. A minimum of 10 days of jail time are required for those with previous convictions of these crimes.
Convictions of a first-degree or second-degree domestic violence crime that include the violation of a protective order (also known as a restraining order) will be subject to double the minimum jail or prison term. Violation of a protective order is a Class A misdemeanor offense.
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A domestic violence conviction can cause havoc in your life with profound effects. If you wish to increase your chances for an optimum outcome, getting trusted legal representation is crucial in such cases. The quality of representation you choose is critical. We strongly recommend that you turn to our outstanding legal team who have demonstrated their competence in this field for decades.