ASSAULT - FAMILY VIOLENCE
Arrested for Assault?
Charged with Assaulting a Spouse, Partner, or Roommate?
An assault arrest is particularly difficult, but much more so if you are charged with assaulting a loved one or someone you live with. You may have bonded out of jail, but, the court rules prevent being around that person, talking to them, or even going home. You are suddenly in a new kind of jail until the case is over - and you have not even been convicted!
Family Violence Assaults charges
carry serious consequences
Assault causing "bodily injury" is a Class A misdemeanor. You can be found guilty if it can be proven you caused the other person "physical pain, illness, or any impairment of physical condition" - even if the pain is slight or temporary. This offense carries a punishment of up to a year in jail and/or a $4,000 fine.
But, the offense is much more serious if it is considered "family violence." A conviction or even deferred adjudication for a family violence assault will result in:
1. being unable to get it off your public record with a nondisclosure,
2. being liable to have it enhanced to a Third Degree Felony if you are charged a second time at any point in your life, and
3. a ban from owning or transferring guns or ammunition for the rest of your life.
"Family Violence" is Very Broad
Who is considered "family" is very broad. To be "family violence," the other person may be:
1. anyone with whom you have or had a "dating relationship," even if it was it was in the past,
2. a family member, even if you don't live together and even if related by marriage, or
3. anyone with whom you live in your "household," even if you are not related.
When Family Violence Assaults become Felonies
Family violence assault may be charged as a felony in several different ways.
1. Previous conviction or deferred adjudication for a family violence offense. A new offense charging Assault, Bodily Injury, Family Violence, will allow prosecutors to charge it as a Third Degree Felony instead of a misdemeanor. That carried a punishment range of 2 - 10 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000.00.
2. Impeding breath or blood circulation "by applying pressure to the person's throat or neck or by blocking the person's nose or mouth." This is also a Third Degree felony with a punishment range of 2 - 10 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000.00.
3. Both of the above - impeding breath/circulation with a previous family violence offense conviction or deferred adjudication. This offense raises the punishment to a Second Degree felony with a punishment range of 2 - 20 years prison an fine up to $10,000.00.
4. Continuous Family Violence - if charged with committing more than one assault, family violence, in the time span of 12 months or less. This is a Third Degree felony with a punishment range of 2 - 10 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000.00.
After Arrest for Family Violence
Keeps you in jail longer
An arrest for family violence will keep you in jail longer than most charges. Once arrested, you may contact a bail bondsman to help you bond out of jail. But the law requires that the sheriff's office try to contact the alleged victim and the jail may keep you for up to 4 hours after bond is made to make contact. The jail could keep you as long as 24 hours if the judge who set the bond states that "violence would continue if the person is released," or even up to 48 hours if there was a previous family violence arrest in the last 10 years or a deadly weapon was used.
Emergency Protective Order
Even if the person you are charged with assaulting does not want you prosecuted and has told the police, the judge that sets bail may still prevent you from being around or having any contact with that person at all - that means no calls, messages, indirect messages through relatives, and no living together. So, just because a police officer is accusing you of assaulting your spouse and your spouse says it didn't happen, a judge can force you to move out of your home and prevent you from talking to your loved one for 60 to 90 days. This "emergency protective order" may also force you to give up any guns and require a GPS monitor be worn.
Worse than the Emergency Protective Order (EPO) that may only last a couple months, bond conditions will likely be imposed at the same time - and that lasts until the court case is completely over. So do not think that you may contact or be around your loved one after the EPO has expired - these conditions are usually signed at the same time by the Judge that set bond, but extend past the end of the EPO. Bond conditions have the same force as the EPO and usually the same conditions - no contact with the alleged victim at all and sometimes a GPS monitor. Occasionally, the judge requires that you report to a bond supervision office or may even order house arrest.
These conditions last until the court case is either dismissed or a conviction is reached.
Violation of EPO or Bond Conditions
If either the Emergency Protective Order or Bond Conditions are violated in any way, the punishment is a Class A misdemeanor - up to a year in jail and/or up to a $4,000 fine. That means even a kind text message to your loved one may land you in jail.
If the order is violated by a new charge of assault against the same person, the offense is a Third Degree Felony: 2 - 10 years in prison and fine up to $10,000.
Modification of EPO or Bond Conditions
But either order may be modified by the judge. An attorney may file a motion to modify the EPO or Bond Conditions to allow you to have contact with children or even the alleged victim if the facts are appropriate and that person is in agreement. But don't try to contact the alleged victim yourself to get that agreement - remember any contact with that person is illegal.
The best way to preserve your family and your rights is to contact an attorney to fight this and help you every step of the way.
Call or email immediately for a Free Consultation.
There are many issues with a Family Violence charge.
Only an experienced attorney can help.
Shannon Flanigan is experienced in fighting for those charged with assaults and family violence. He will answer all your question about what is ahead of you and how we can work together to keep this charge from going forward.