Alabama domestic violence charges are typically misdemeanor charges depending on the severity of the action. However, even as a misdemeanor, courts usually take domestic violence charges very seriously and these types of charges can have a lasting impact on a defendant if the defendant is convicted. In Alabama, misdemeanors will be determined by the judge based on the presentation of evidence. Typically, the evidence includes both the victim and defendant providing the judge their version of what happened during the incident along with any supporting evidence or documentation they may have, such as pictures or witnesses. If a defendant is convicted, they will have the opportunity to appeal that conviction so that their case can be heard by a jury on appeal. However, if you are facing Alabama domestic violence charges, it is important that you understand the basics of those charges.
Alabama domestic violence charges are divided into three classifications depending on the severity of the alleged actions committed. It occurs when a person commits an assault on a class of people protected by Alabama domestic violence law. This class of people includes a current or former spouse; parents; children; any person with whom the defendant has a child or children in common with; a present or former household member; or a person that has or had a dating or engagement relationship with the defendant.
Third Degree Domestic Violence
In Alabama, domestic violence in the third degree is a misdemeanor offense and generally the most common domestic violence charge. It occurs when a person is found to have committed Alabama assault in the third degree, which is defined by the Code of Alabama §13A-6-22 as occurring when a person intends to cause physical injury to another person and does so.
Second Degree Domestic Violence
In Alabama, domestic violence in the second degree typically occurs when a person commits assault in the second degree. The Code of Alabama §13A-6-21 describes assault in the second degree as occurring when a person intends to cause serious physical harm to another and does so. Alabama domestic violence in the second degree qualifies as a felony charge that could require a defendant convicted on such charge to be sentenced to a minimum of six months in jail with no consideration for early release
First Degree Domestic Violence
As with most other crimes ranked by degree, Alabama domestic violence in the first degree is the most serious type of domestic violence charge and occurs when someone has been proven to have committed assault in the first degree. The Code of Alabama §13A-6-20 defines this type of action as occurring when a person intends to cause serious physical injury to another person and does so using a dangerous or deadly object or weapon; when someone intends to disfigure another in a serious and permanent matter or attempts to destroy a physical aspect of another person; or commits any of these acts in the course of committing another serious crime such as arson and/or kidnapping.
Assistance with Domestic Violence Charges
Domestic violence charges can have serious long-term implications and consequences. A conviction can provide grounds for an Alabama at-fault divorce or can be grounds for a court to deny custody to a parent that has been convicted of Alabama domestic violence charges. If you are facing charges related to domestic violence, you should enlist the assistance of an experienced Birmingham criminal attorney that has experience handling these and other types of serious Alabama criminal charges. A Birmingham criminal attorney can be extremely helpful during the criminal legal process in ensuring your rights as a defendant are protected and also making sure that you are able to present the strongest possible defense within the specific rules of the court in which you must appear.