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Domestic Violence – Generally Not an Individual Charge

Saturday / February 1, 2014

It seems like at least once a day that I get a phone call from somebody telling me they have been charged with domestic violence which leads to a story about how no violence was involved so it there is no way that the charge is the appropriate charge.


With very few exceptions, individuals are not charged with the crime of domestic violence. Rather, domestic violence charges are used as an enhancement to another charge based on the relationship between the two parties involved. For example, a common domestic violence situation results in a party being charged with disorderly conduct as a domestic violence offense. The underlying offense is disorderly conduct but the relationship between the parties makes it domestic violence.


Domestic violence relationships are dictated by statute. Individuals that are married, have children in comment, are related by blood, have a sexual relationship, and that have lived together create a domestic violence relationship. Even people of the same sex can be charged with the domestic violence enhancement. The relationships can even be in the past and are not required to currently be in place. Additionally, as was mentioned earlier, violence does not necessarily have to be a part of the incident for the charge to occur.


Penalties for domestic violence offenses require specific mandated penalties. If an individual is convicted of a first time domestic violence offense, they are required to complete a court ordered domestic violence program. A second conviction within 60 months requires a person to be placed on supervised probation and could result in incarceration. An aggravated domestic violence conviction with three prior domestic violence convictions requires eight months of incarceration. Additionally, unlike most other misdemeanor offenses, a conviction for a domestic violence offense results in an individual losing his/her right to own a firearm.


Domestic violence offenses are serious in nature with very serious consequences. As a result, it is imperative to have an attorney protecting your rights. If you or a loved one has been charged with a criminal offense, contact my office for a free no obligation consultation at 480-331-7568 or by visiting my website at

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