I was just involved in an argument with my significant other. Things got out of control, and she is accusing me of hitting her.
What can I expect to happen next?
The term domestic violence encompasses many things, including any assault, battery, battery by strangulation, sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment, or other criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death of one family or household member by another family or household member.
Once law enforcement has been contacted, a police report will be filed. The decision as to whether criminal charges will be filed against you is made by a state attorney. The victim of the crime cannot decide whether to file or drop criminal charges against someone, although a victim may make a report with the state attorney to request that charges be filed. If criminal charges are filed, a no contact order will most likely be put into place, restricting or prohibiting contact between the alleged offender and victim. Victims of domestic violence may also file a petition for a protective injunction, which can include provisions requiring the abuser refrain from further acts of abuse, requiring the abuser to leave the household, preventing the abuser from entering the victim’s residence, school, business, or place of employment, award custody of minor children, and direct the abuser to pay support to the victim and minor children if the abuser has a legal obligation to do so. It is important to always comply with court orders, including no contact orders and protective injunctions.
If a person is found guilty of, has adjudication withheld on, or pleads nolo contendere to a crime of domestic violence, the court is required to sentence that person to a minimum of one-year probation, with a batterers intervention program as a condition of the probation.
Assault and battery are two of the most common criminal charges faced after a domestic violence incident occurs. Battery is defined as the intentional touching or striking of someone against their will. Simple battery occurs even if the victim is not physically injured; the act of touching or striking the other person without their consent is sufficient. Battery is a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to one (1) year in jail. If a battery causes great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement it becomes felony battery punishable by up to five (5) years in prison. Aggravated battery is a second-degree felony which occurs when a deadly weapon is used, or if the alleged perpetrator knows or should have known that the victim was pregnant, and is punishable by up to fifteen (15) years in prison.
Assault does not require physically touching the victim; it is an intentionally made unlawful threat, communicated verbally or through your actions, to be violent against the victim. The threat must create a well-founded fear in the victim that the violence is imminent or about to immediately occur. Assault is a second degree misdemeanor punishable by up to sixty (60) days in jail, unless a deadly weapon is used either without the intent to kill or with the intent to commit a felony crime, at which point it becomes aggravated assault, a third degree felony punishable by up to five (5) years in prison.