If you have been arrested and charged with Domestic Violence Offense, it is important that you understand the charges against you and what your legal rights are. Idaho's domestic violence laws can be complex and severe. You should not try to take on the criminal justice system on your own.
It's illegal to commit an assault or battery against anyone. However, if the defendant is charged with committing an offense against a domestic partner, Idaho domestic violence laws make the allegation much more serious.
It is important to get in front of these cases quickly. Do not wait for charges to be filed. You should never speak with police officers on your own, but if you hire an attorney early enough we may be able to prevent criminal charges from ever being filed.
If charges are filed, the intense emotions from both parties make these cases very difficult and contentious. I often talk to people who think that their case “should be easy to clear up.” Most of the time this is far from the truth. Often the only evidence in these cases is one person's story vs. another – they are “he said, she said, cases.” Unfortunately, the absence of other evidence makes it hard to prove one story is true while the other is false.
Domestic violence crimes can be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor. The classification depends on the facts of the case and the prior criminal history of the defendant.
Important Domestic Violence Terms:
1) “Household member” means a person who is a spouse, former spouse, or a person who has a child in common (regardless of whether they have been married), or a person with whom a person is cohabiting, whether or not they have married or have held themselves out to be husband or wife.
2) “Traumatic injury” means a condition of the body, such as a wound or external or internal injury, whether of a minor or serious nature, caused by physical force.
Any household member who inflicts a traumatic injury upon any other household member may be charged and convicted of a felony. A felony domestic battery conviction is punishable by imprisonment for a term not to exceed ten (10) years, by a fine not to exceed ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or by both fine and imprisonment.
A household member who commits an assault or battery on another household member that does not result in traumatic injury may be found guilty of a misdemeanor domestic violence. A first misdemeanor conviction is punishable by a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000), by imprisonment in a county jail not to exceed six (6) months, or both.
A second conviction misdemeanor conviction carries enhanced penalties - imprisonment in the county jail for a term not to exceed one (1) year, a fine not exceeding two thousand dollars ($2,000), or both a fine and imprisonment.
A third misdemeanor domestic violence crime within fifteen (15) years of the first conviction, is a felony. The punishment for a third offense is imprisonment in the state prison for a term not to exceed five (5) years, a fine not to exceed five thousand dollars ($5,000), or both.
A conviction for misdemeanor DV where the defendant was convicted of a felony DV within the last 15 years, is a felony offense and subject to imprisonment in the state prison for a term not to exceed ten (10) years, a fine not to exceed ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or both.
The maximum penalties are doubled where the crime is committed in the presence of a child. “In the presence of a child” means in the physical presence of a child or knowing that a child is present (nearby) and may see or hear an act of domestic assault or battery.
A “child” for these purposes is a person under sixteen (16) years of age.
Under federal law, if you are convicted of a domestic violence misdemeanor or felony, you lose your right to carry firearms for life. This also applies to domestic violence charges that are plead down to a lesser offense (assault, battery, or even disturbing the peace).
If a person convicted of domestic violence is caught possessing a firearm it is a federal felony punishable by up to 10 (ten) years in prison.
These rights may be restored but it is a long difficult process. See Gun Right Restoration.
Simply Being Charged With A Domestic Violence Crime Does Not Make You A Criminal
An experienced Idaho domestic violence attorney is your best bet for fighting the case successfully. Your story is important! Let me fight to protect your rights, your future, your reputation, and your freedom!
Innocent People Get Accused
Unfortunately, innocent people get wrongly accused of domestic violence all the time in Idaho. False allegations of domestic abuse can arise out of anger, jealousy, or as part of divorce or child custody proceedings. Cases that may appear to be domestic violence to the police may actually involve the arrested person acting in self-defense. Other incidents arise out of an accident or a mutual struggle. See: Idaho Code §18-918.
Protect your rights and your freedom. You have too much on the line to fight this on your own. Call me today for a free consultation.