The Fines and Penalties Associated With A Domestic Violence Charge

Interviewer: What are some of the Fines and Penalties that are associated with the domestic charge? What are some of these fines that someone may have to pay for?

Brett Hollett: Court costs will vary by municipality and by district but the fines associated all criminal offenses are set out in the Alabama Code. Domestic Violence 3rd Degree is a class A misdemeanor and carries a fine up to $6,000.00. Domestic Violence 2nd Degree is a class B felony and fines can be as high as $30,000.00. Domestic Violence 1st Degree is a class A felony and carries a fine of up to $60,000.00. These fines are quite significant and the judge has the authority to levy a fine anywhere in between the prescribed ranges. Additionally, the court can order individuals to enroll and complete domestic violence classes. These classes can be very time consuming and expensive.

The Penalties Associated With a Domestic Violence Conviction are Considerably Significant

A domestic violence conviction carries a very harsh social stigma. Even a misdemeanor domestic violence conviction has serious repercussions such as losing your Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. If you have previously been convicted of domestic violence, the penalties and mandatory jail time will increase. DV 3 is a class A misdemeanor with a possible jail sentence of up to 1 year. For a second conviction of DV 3 there is a mandatory 10 day jail sentence imposed. DV 2 is a class B felony and the defendant faces a jail sentence of 2 years up to 20 years in the state penitentiary. On a second or subsequent conviction for DV 2 a mandatory 6 month jail sentence is imposed without the possibility of probation or parole. DV 1 is the most serious felony offense and is a class A felony. It carries a range of punishment of 10 years to 99 years to life in prison. Defendants with a prior DV 1 conviction must serve a minimum of 1 year in prison without the possibility of probation or parole.

A Police Officer Can Question a Child Without Parental Consent

Interviewer: Can a police officer question a child without the consent of the parent?

Brett Hollett: Yes but it may depend on the age of the child.

Child Protective Services Do Get Involved in Domestic Violence Cases

Interviewer: Do organizations like the child protective services, those kind of services, do they ever get involved in cases like this?

Brett Hollett: Yes, they do. And typically, some of these types of cases, may also include a subsequent or simultaneous case that ends up in Family Court or Juvenile Court. Protective services would likely step in if the parents or the significant other decides to stay with the alleged abuser. If the alleged abuse is against the child, then Department of Human Resources may step in and say “The child needs to be removed from that household” and they may try and convince the court to order some additional safeguards and services for the victim. These cases become intertwined and often times the outcome of one case will depend on the other. There are different standards and burdens of proof in a criminal court vs a family court.

A Domestic Violence Charge Can Seriously Hinder Gaining Custody of a Child in a Divorce

Interviewer: If I am charged with domestic violence, will I still be able to get custody of a child if it came down to divorce?

Brett Hollett: It’s going to make gaining custody very difficult. The other party may be able to use the conviction as a fault based ground for the divorce. The court can curtail or eliminate child visitation and even modify an existing order based on a domestic violence conviction. Yes, it’s going to make it a lot more difficult.

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