The effects of domestic violence can have devastating and life-altering consequences beyond the initial incident. Victims and alleged perpetrators of domestic violence often experience physical, psychological, economic, and legal repercussions due to the crime.
The children of victims and perpetrators of domestic violence are also impacted in various ways. Children who witness domestic violence are most likely to develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Domestic Violence Laws and Crime
By definition, domestic violence involves physical or psychological harm to a person in an intimate relationship. Intimate relationships include those between spouses, ex-spouses, family members, couples who live together or have lived together, and couples who are dating.
What Are Domestic Violence Laws?
Domestic violence laws are designed to protect victims, punish perpetrators, and prevent future domestic violence incidents. These laws can include criminal penalties and civil remedies such as restraining orders depending on the state. In many jurisdictions, mandatory arrest provisions may also exist for certain types of domestic violence cases.
What Are Domestic Violence Crimes and Penalties?
The exact definition of a domestic violence crime and the associated penalties depend on the laws of each state. Domestic violence crimes generally include assault, battery, sexual assault, criminal threats, manslaughter, and similar violent offenses.
A defendant who commits one of these crimes against a domestic partner or family member will usually face tougher penalties than if the act were committed against someone who didn’t share this relationship. These penalties can range from hefty fines to jail time, depending on the severity of the crime.
Consequences for the Person Accused
The following consequences are possible for the person accused of domestic violence:
- A Petition for Protection from Domestic Abuse will be filed against them.
- They will be criminally charged with domestic abuse battery, a sexual offense, violation of a protective order, probation, or parole violation.
- Child protective services will step in to have their children removed from the home in a Juvenile Court proceeding.
- Should they lose at the Petition for Domestic Abuse hearing, their name will be recorded on a state registry that prevents them from owning or possessing a firearm.
- They lose their job if it requires the possession of a firearm (law enforcement, security, military, firearms sales).
- Jail or prison for violation of a protective order, battery, a sex offense, or violation of probation or parole.
- They will be denied access to their children and their home.
- They will be ordered to pay child support, spousal support, counseling, court costs, expert fees, supervision for visitation, and attorney fees.
- They will be denied a hunting license.
- They will face criminal prosecution for possessing a firearm if they are already on the state’s protective order registry.
- If contraband is found during the arrest, they will face unrelated criminal charges.
- The alleged victim of domestic violence will use the incident against them in a civil custody dispute.
Consequences for the Party Seeking Protection from DV
Possible outcomes for the party seeking protection from domestic violence include the following:
- Health problems, death, or injury to them or their children will ensue if they don’t seek protection.
- Violence will escalate once they separate.
- Children will learn to be victims or perpetrators of domestic violence if they fail to seek protection.
- In a Juvenile Court proceeding, child protective services will intervene to remove their children from the home if they reconcile with the alleged perpetrator of domestic violence.
- The District Attorney’s office will not drop the charges in Criminal Court once they have been made.
- The family’s breadwinner will lose their job,
- The judicial process will inflict irreparable harm to the family, resulting in its dissolution (divorce or separation).
- They will be prosecuted if they fail to appear to testify in the criminal proceeding.
- They will face unrelated criminal charges if contraband is found when the police are called.
- The family breadwinner goes to jail.
What to Do When Arrested on a Criminal Charge of DV
If arrested on a criminal charge of domestic violence or served with a Petition for Protection from Domestic Abuse, a party should seek legal counsel immediately from attorneys who practice family law and criminal defense.
The criminal and civil proceedings may not begin simultaneously, and one may be averted with appropriate counsel. The civil proceeding may negatively affect the criminal proceeding and vice versa.
A lack of familiarity with criminal and family law in one’s legal representation could be detrimental. Both proceedings will move quickly and have deadlines, and your potential to succeed in one may be hampered by delayed legal representation in the other.
Some criminal charges and Petitions for Protection are filed to obtain an advantage in divorce and custody proceedings, and if convicted or granted an Order of Protection, they are successful.
Hidden cameras have been used to record domestic violence that was instigated. It seems inconceivable that one party would provoke another into a conflict, hoping that domestic violence will develop, yet we know how to push our partners’ buttons. If you sense that someone is attempting to drive you to your breaking point, do not take the bait and leave.
Don’t engage if a Temporary Restraining Order, Protective Order, Stay Away Order, or Peace Bond has been issued against you. The other party is not forbidden from contacting you. You are prohibited from having contact with them. That does not work both ways; only one party will bear the repercussions.
What to Do if You’re a Victim of Domestic Abuse
Do not hesitate to contact police enforcement if you are suffering intimate partner violence, document any physical injuries or property damage with photos, and speak with a family law attorney. Forgive and forget can cause new problems with the Dept of Child and Family Services.
Louisiana has relocation statutes that prevent relocating children outside of Louisiana without the permission of the other parent or the Court. A family law attorney can get you this permission on the basis of domestic violence.
A family law attorney can also get you the financial support you and your children need, a car to drive, and keep a roof over your head. But this support is only retroactive when your attorney files for it. If you don’t file for support until a month later, you’re not getting that month of back support.
Consult a family law attorney immediately. Don’t be lulled into complacency by promises that the other party will change. If you persist in seeking protection, do not succumb to threats from the other party. If domestic violence has erupted in your relationship, it’s broken.
30 Years of Experience in Family Law
The Ellen Cronin Badeaux, LLC office represents both victims and those accused of domestic violence. We have 30 years of experience in family, juvenile and criminal court, representing parties in domestic violence cases at all stages.
Our goal is to present a unified defense or offense that considers the criminal, family court, juvenile court, social, professional, financial, recreational, and long-term consequences. We can provide referrals for mental health professionals, prosecutors, financial specialists, and private investigators.
Put our expertise and resources to work for you, your loved ones, and your future. Call us at 985-892-1955.