Have you been accused of stalking, harassing, threatening, or harming a relative or romantic partner? Alabama’s domestic violence law covers a wide range of crimes and are harshly punished. If you are facing false accusations of domestic violence in Alabama, it is important to call an experienced domestic violence lawyer as soon as possible.
We will carefully review the allegations against you and discuss how to prove your innocence in a domestic violence case. Our criminal defense attorneys will also explain the steps we can take to mitigate potential penalties if you are convicted.
To be charged with a domestic violence crime, you must have a certain connection with the alleged victim.
Under AL Code §13A-6-139.1, Alabama recognizes domestic violence against:
If you have been accused of domestic violence, but you do not have one of these relationships with the alleged victim, you should contact a domestic violence defense attorney right away.
Proving you lack one of the necessary personal relationships with the other party may not allow you to avoid all criminal charges. The prosecutor may charge you with the underlying offense. However, it can help you face a lower charge and lesser potential sentence.
A wide range of crimes can constitute domestic violence when perpetrated against someone with a familial, romantic, or sexual relationship to you.
Under AL Code §13A-6-139.1, domestic violence encompasses:
If you are accused of committing any of these offenses against a relative, spouse, or current or former dating partner, call a domestic violence lawyer right away. Depending on the circumstances and your criminal record, you can face a felony charge and harsh maximum penalty.
Depending on the allegations against you, you can face varying degrees of domestic violence:
Domestic violence in the 3rd degree includes committing third-degree assault, criminal coercion, reckless endangerment, menacing, criminal surveillance, harassment, third-degree criminal trespass, second- or third-degree criminal mischief, and third-degree arson. It is a Class A misdemeanor. You can be punished with up to one year in jail.
A second conviction of third-degree domestic violence leads to a minimum of 10 days in jail. If you violate a protection order and commit third-degree domestic violence, then you will be sentenced to at least 30 days in jail. Additionally, if you commit a third or subsequent conviction, this becomes a Class C felony.
Domestic violence in the 2nd degree includes committing second-degree assault, stalking, second- or first-degree burglary, first-degree criminal mischief, and intimidating a witness. It is a Class B felony. You can be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison.
If you are charged with a second or subsequent second-degree domestic violence charge, then you must serve at least six months before you can transition to probation or parole. If you violate a protection order and commit second-degree domestic violence, the court will double the minimum term of imprisonment.
Domestic violence in the 1st degree entails first-degree assault or aggravated stalking. This is a Class A felony. You can be sentenced to life in prison. If you are convicted of a second or subsequent charge of first-degree domestic violence, you must complete a minimum of one year of imprisonment. Also, if you commit first-degree domestic violence while violating a protection order, the court must impose double the minimum term.
Strangulation is the intentional causing of asphyxia by closing or compressing the blood vessels and air passage of the neck by external pressure. Suffocation is intentionally causing asphyxia by depriving a person or air or preventing a person from breathing by any means other than strangulation.
This domestic violence charge is a Class B felony. You can be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison. A second or subsequent charge of strangulation or suffocation requires a minimum of six months of incarceration.
If you are convicted of domestic violence charges, then jail time, probation, fines, and restraining orders are common penalties. However, there are also several collateral consequences.
If you are convicted of a misdemeanor or felony for domestic abuse, this creates a permanent criminal record. It can make it difficult to obtain an education, gain certain professional licenses, find and keep a job, and more.
If you have children, the other parent may obtain a child custody order in their favor. You may lose custody altogether, or you may see a decrease in your parenting time or be required to have your parenting time supervised by another adult.
If you not a U.S. citizen, a domestic violence conviction can impact your immigration status. You may lose the ability to become a citizen. You may lose your permanent residency or visa. If you are undocumented, a conviction can lead to deportation.
You also will lose your right to own or possess a firearm. Usually, only felony convictions lead to a loss of gun rights. However, misdemeanor domestic violence will also lead to a loss of gun rights in Alabama and under federal law.
Domestic violence in Alabama is charged as domestic violence in the first, second, or third-degree or domestic violence by strangulation or suffocation. Domestic violence in the third degree is a misdemeanor while all other charges are felonies.
Violation of a protection order in Alabama is a Class A misdemeanor. You can be convicted and sentenced to up to one year of incarceration.
The best way to defend against false allegations and a restraining order is to hire an experienced Alabama defense attorney. An individual can obtain a short-term emergency restraining order without notifying you or your presence in court. To obtain a long-term order, you must receive notice of the court hearing. You can request a full hearing on the matter during which you can present evidence of your innocence regarding the individual’s allegations.