The courts view domestic violence (DV) seriously in the state of Alabama. The law categorizes this crime into Class A, B or C felonies and misdemeanors, depending on the type and severity of the crime and the types of injuries the victim sustained. Domestic violence means a crime committed against a current or former household member or significant other, including a dating partner.
First degree DV includes, but is not limited to, the most serious types of assault, kidnapping, murder and rape. Class A felonies mean a time in custody ranging from 10 to 99 years and a maximum fine of $60,000. Second degree DV includes, but is not limited to, certain types of assault, manslaughter, kidnapping and rape. Class B felonies carry a possible prison term of two to 20 years with a maximum fine of $10,000. Third degree DV includes, but is not limited to, threats, endangerment and harassment and is considered a Class C felony. Class C felonies carry a possible sentence of between two and 20 years with a maximum $5,000 fine. The presence of a weapon enhances the prison time associated with any of these charges.
Police can also immediately arrest anyone who violates an order of protection; this crime is a Class A misdemeanor. If the defendant is thought to be a danger to the victim, the police can arrest the offender without a warrant.
At the defendant’s initial appearance, the judge will consider the level of threat the defendant poses to the victim and if the defendant is a threat to the community. The judge will also consider if the defendant will appear for court hearings when setting bail and release conditions.
A law enforcement officer must consider the truthfulness of statements related to the double filing of DV accusations. These include previous complaints or arrests, the types of injuries, the potential for future injuries and actions of self-defense.
Anyone accused of domestic violence should immediately contact a reputable Alabama criminal lawyer. Someone with additional experience in Alabama family law will work with clients to ensure their rights are protected in court.