Prohibitions are imposed on specific acts of physical violence under Alabama domestic violence laws between a perpetrator and a victim. To be found guilty of a domestic violence charge, a defendant must commit a particular violent act. The defendant and the victim must share a specific relationship, as described in the statute. Domestic violence crimes are typically associated with severe punishment.
If you face domestic violence charges in Alabama, it is best to consult our criminal defense attorneys at ZJP Law LLC as soon as you can. Our committed legal team will thoroughly assess the charges against you and offer you counsel on your best legal options, depending on the specific circumstances.
The most crucial factor in domestic violence cases is perhaps the relationship that the accused and the alleged victim share. Charges of domestic violence can only be brought against a person who has one of the below-mentioned types of relationships with the alleged victim:
Like many other types of offenses in AL, domestic violence is rated in degrees of severity. The degrees of domestic violence crimes and the penalties related to a conviction are as follows:
Third-degree domestic violence charge
This crime occurs when the defendant commits criminal coercion, assault in the third degree, reckless endangerment, or harassment. It is deemed a Class A misdemeanor in AL, punishable by up to one year behind bars. Additionally, a second domestic violence charge will require the defendant to spend at least ten days in prison.
Second-degree domestic violence charge
This charge arises when the defendant commits assault in the second degree, intimidates a witness, stalks, or performs first or second-degree burglary. It is considered a Class B felony, associated with a maximum of twenty years behind bars.
First-degree domestic violence charge
Domestic violence in the first-degree is deemed a Class A felony. This offense carries a life sentence in prison. This offense occurs when the defendant commits either assault in the first degree or aggravated stalking.
Domestic violence charges are quite serious, but various defenses exist that may lead to reduced charges or dismissal of the charges altogether. First, the prosecutor must show that the alleged victim and accused share one of the relationships mentioned above. The failure to prove this aspect disqualifies a domestic violence charge.
Additionally, the prosecution must prove that the defendant is guilty of one of the underlying charges associated with domestic violence in AL. If the underlying charges are proven false, it forms grounds for an acquittal.
To complete this point, self-defense can be a valid argument against charges of domestic violence. The defendant can state that they feared for their life and defended themselves with justifiable force. This is a tough defense to argue, and it is best attempted with the help of our top-notch criminal defense attorneys at Zach Peagler Law Firm.
Under AL law, the punishment for those convicted of domestic violence depends on the crime's degree. Past domestic violence transgressions will also be taken into consideration.
First-degree domestic violence
A first-degree domestic violence conviction means that the defendant is guilty of a Class A felony, associated with a maximum of life or 99 years of incarceration. Suppose a defendant has a previous conviction for first-degree domestic violence. In that case, they must serve at least one year behind bars for subsequent first-degree domestic violence convictions prior to being released on parole or probation or obtaining a reduction in jail time for good behavior.
Second-degree domestic violence and domestic violence by strangulation or suffocation
These offenses are Class B felonies, which carry up to 20 years of prison time. In cases of second and subsequent second-degree domestic violence convictions, the defendant must serve a minimum of six months behind bars before being released on parole or probation or obtaining credit for good behavior.
Third-degree domestic violence
Third-degree domestic violence is classified as a class A misdemeanor, associated with up to one year in prison. Second and subsequent convictions for domestic violence in the third-degree carry a minimum punishment of ten-day jail time.
Protective Order Violation
In case the defendant violates a protective order (like a restraining order) by committing first or second-degree domestic violence, the minimum incarceration term determined by law is doubled. If a defendant violates a protective order by committing domestic violence in the third-degree, they must serve at least thirty days in prison.
Domestic Violence Orders
An individual who alleges that they are victims of domestic violence can procure a domestic violence order from a judge. Such orders are a type of protective order that usually requires an alleged perpetrator to refrain from being in close physical proximity or communicating with the alleged victim. Violation of a domestic order is classified as a Class A misdemeanor.
If you are faced with domestic violence charges in AL, you should speak to our capable and resourceful criminal defense lawyers who handle such cases. Our attorneys can assess the validity of the prosecution's evidence against you, evaluate potential defense options that may apply to your case, and help you determine the best path forward.
Depending on the facts of your case, it may be possible to negotiate for lesser charges, arrange a plea deal in place of a specific sentence, have certain evidence declared inadmissible, or even achieve a dismissal of your lawsuit.
At Zach Peagler Law Firm, we will protect your rights vigorously throughout the case. If your case goes to trial, we will provide a robust legal representation to try for the most favorable outcome. Call us at 205-871-9990 for a free consultation with our knowledgeable criminal defense attorneys.