Civil and criminal domestic violence claims can both have severe consequences, but the type of penalties they carry differ. In either case, the accused person could be subject to monetary compensation. However, only a criminal case can result in jail time.
While it is vital to understand the difference between civil and criminal domestic violence actions, you should take both types of cases seriously. At Berry Law, our domestic violence attorneys can defend you against accusations and help limit the penalties you might face.
What is the Purpose of a Civil Domestic Violence Action?
If a former partner serves you with a civil domestic violence action, he or she is asking the court to enter a no-contact order between the two of you. A protection order would last for one year.
This action does not inherently come with criminal charges, though an individual could face criminal penalties for breaking the court order. If you’re facing allegations concerning compliance with a civil domestic assault protection order, a proactive criminal defense attorney will help you fight those accusations.
Dropping Civil Charges in Omaha
Accusers can drop civil charges in one of two ways. If the plaintiff doesn’t attend the hearing for the protection order, the court will consider it a failure to prosecute, and the judge will dismiss the case.
After the court enters an order, it can be difficult to drop it. The person who sought the court order can request a hearing to request that the judge dismiss it. However, in Nebraska, judges are often unwilling to drop protection orders once they’ve entered them.
If the judge denies the plaintiff’s request to dismiss the protection order, that person must wait until the one-year expiration date. When you are facing criminal charges for domestic abuse, it is vital to inform your lawyer of all events related to the accusations, including a plaintiff’s request to drop civil charges.
How Does Dropping Civil Charges Affect a Criminal Domestic Abuse Case?
In a criminal domestic violence case, the accuser is requesting the police’s help in the matter. These charges are separate from any civil actions the plaintiff might initiate. You shouldn’t let your guard down, even if your accuser drops the civil case. A dedicated lawyer can fight for your freedom if the criminal trial continues.
In the past, the courts allowed accusers to drop charges, dismissing the criminal case. However, that is no longer the case. The court will not drop domestic violence charges solely because of a plaintiff’s request. If the accuser changes his or her mind about pursuing a criminal case, his or her only option is to stop appearing at trials and depositions.
Can the Court Require an Accuser to Participate in a Criminal Action?
Under no circumstances can a prosecutor force an accuser to participate in criminal domestic violence proceedings, though the district attorney can urge him or her to participate through subpoenas. However, the accuser might defy the court order or fail to appear at trial.
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The Importance of Limiting Contact with the Accuser during Civil and Criminal Proceedings
If a former partner accused you of domestic abuse, you should limit all contact with him or her during the civil or criminal proceedings. The court could charge an individual with witness tampering, which is a Class IV felony, if you continue to contact the accuser. If the plaintiff contacts you during domestic violence court proceedings, you should retain an attorney who can protect you against these charges.
Talk to a Lawyer about the Differences between Civil and Criminal Domestic Violence Actions in Omaha
Whether you are facing civil or criminal charges for domestic assault, you should be prepared to go to trial. At Berry Law, our battle-hardened attorneys can fight for your rights in a domestic violence case. Reach out to our firm to discuss the difference between civil and criminal domestic violence actions in Omaha. Call today for a confidential case consultation.