If someone in your family has accused you of domestic abuse, you may feel like your world has changed in an instant. Accusations of domestic violence may place you in a situation that is complicated and potentially life altering. You may know that the rules applying to most criminal matters do not always apply to cases of domestic violence. For the protection of the alleged victim, laws give the accuser the benefit of the doubt, and this may mean you have a difficult challenge ahead to protect your own rights.
If you have recently been arrested for domestic violence, the delicate nature of these charges may place you at a decided disadvantage. You will want to seek legal advice as soon as possible for the best chances of a positive outcome. It may also help your cause to learn as much as you can about Indiana’s laws related to this offense and what you may expect from the criminal process ahead.
The far-reaching consequences of abuse allegations
When a charge involves domestic violence, it means that authorities believe you committed a specific offense against a spouse, child, live-in partner or other member of your household. The severity of the charge depends on the severity of the alleged offense. For example, a shove or other physical touch performed out of anger may result in a misdemeanor. Insolent or angry physical contact that results in injury may lead to felony charges of domestic battery. Placing waste or bodily fluids on a household member may also lead to charges.
In some cases, domestic abuse charges may include related offenses, such as any of the following:
- Stalking, which can include creating a fearful situation by watching, following or harassing someone
- Breaking the terms of a restraining order
- Purposely restraining someone who is not your child
- Kidnapping, which includes forcing someone to go with you by using threats or lies
- Raping a partner or household member, either by force or when he or she is incapacitated
Cases of domestic abuse often rely heavily on the accuser’s testimony. However, this is not something that you should take lightly. The penalties for domestic violence can be quite severe. A misdemeanor conviction can result in up to a year behind bars and thousands in fines. If a court convicts you of a felony, you may find yourself incarcerated for many years. When the odds seem against you, having a skilled and aggressive attorney may improve your chances of obtaining the most positive outcome possible.