Domestic Violence Charges Change Everything
The laws in Indiana seek to protect spouses, partners and children from violent crimes committed by family members. These cases are thoroughly investigated and can have severe consequences. The charges associated with domestic violence can range from a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by a fine and a year of imprisonment, up to a Level 2 felony, punishable by up to 30 years of imprisonment.
Protective orders can also fall under domestic violence issues. In effect, these orders can include accusations of domestic or family violence, sex offenses and/or stalking. Violations of these orders can result in arrest.
People accused of domestic violence, sometimes referred to as domestic battery or family violence in Indiana, should seek skilled and knowledgeable legal representation. At The Region Lawyers, our attorneys have more than ten years of experience fighting these and other criminal charges for those in Merrillville and throughout the state of Indiana.
You Have Options
Domestic violence charges can alter a person’s reputation, change their family dynamics and threaten their future. Our attorneys understand the high stakes you are up against and can help combat these consequences.
These charges are often coupled with confusion and extenuating circumstances. An attorney can evaluate all conditions and factors involved in the accusations and charges. This might include the circumstances that led to heated exchanges (i.e., divorce or child custody battles) as well as the possibility of a false accusation. A domestic violence defense attorney can also work out possible solutions and find ways to lessen penalties against those accused or charged with domestic battery or family violence.
Common Questions About Domestic Violence Charges
Below, we’ve provided answers to some frequently asked questions clients often have after being accused of domestic violence. After reading, we invite you to contact us with your own questions.
What is felony domestic violence (domestic battery)?
In Indiana, domestic battery can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony, the latter being defined as a crime carrying a potential sentence of more than one year in jail or prison. Domestic battery is often charged as a felony if one or more of the following are alleged:
- The defendant has previous convictions for domestic battery
- The defendant committed battery on a child under 14 or in the presence of a child under 14
- The battery resulted in moderate to severe injury
- The defendant violated an existing protection order
- A deadly weapon was used
The list above is incomplete, but it highlights many of the factors prosecutors will use to determine whether a domestic violence offense should be charged as a felony.
Can domestic violence charges be dropped?
Yes, it is possible for charges to be dropped. However, this is not as easy or straightforward as many people assume. There is a misconception that alleged victims have the final word on whether to “press charges” against their alleged abuser. In reality, the choice is up to prosecutors, who may decide to continue prosecution even if the alleged victim tries to recant their earlier statements. Prosecutors want to prevent the possibility that domestic violence victims may be pressured or threatened into seeking dismissal.
If charges are overblown or baseless, the best way to seek dismissal is with the help of an experienced attorney like those at our firm.
Can you get a domestic violence charge expunged?
Often, the answer is yes, but it depends on the specific charges, the facts of the case and how it was resolved. If you were charged/arrested for domestic violence but the case was dropped or otherwise didn’t result in a conviction, the arrest and charging records can typically be expunged.
If you were convicted of a misdemeanor domestic violence offense, your record can be expunged as long as you meet the requirements. The conviction must be at least five years old and you cannot have been charged with or convicted of any other offenses within that time. You must also have completed the requirements and financial obligations associated with the past conviction.
Felony convictions are trickier and are best discussed directly with an attorney to see how the law applies to your specific case.
Does a domestic violence expungement restore gun ownership rights?
Expungement of a misdemeanor or felony conviction is a prerequisite, but the expungement alone does not restore gun ownership rights for people convicted of a domestic violence offense. You must file a separate petition with the court after being granted an expungement.
Don’t Wait To Figure Things Out
A charge of any kind can have lasting effects on your life. One of our experienced, knowledgeable attorneys can help you figure out your options today. Contact us to find out more. Based in Merrillville, we work with clients in Gary as well as throughout The Region, the state of Indiana and northern Illinois. Use our convenient online contact form or call 219-961-3814.