Because domestic violence is such a sensitive topic, the government aggressively pursues allegations of these crimes. A single accusation could damage your reputation, even if you are never found guilty in court.
If you are facing criminal allegations, it is vital to reach out to an Omaha domestic violence lawyer as soon as possible. A proactive defense attorney from Berry Law can help you fight your charges and work to reach a positive outcome for your case.
Domestic Violence Laws in Omaha
The Nebraska Legislature defines domestic assault and the penalties associated with it in Nebraska Revised Statute §28-323. This law applies specifically to interactions between a person and his or her intimate partner. An intimate partner includes the following:
- Former spouse
- A person with whom someone has a child in common
- People who are dating or have dated
There are three degrees of domestic assault (listed below), and the potential penalties can vary depending on what you were charged with.
- First-Degree Domestic Assault
- Second-Degree Domestic Assault
- Third-Degree Domestic Assault
Law enforcement may charge someone with first-degree domestic violence if he or she is accused of intentionally causing serious physical harm to an intimate partner. A first violation is a Class IIA felony, which is punishable by up to twenty years imprisonment. A subsequent violation is a Class II felony, which is punishable by up to 50 years imprisonment.
Second-degree domestic assault occurs when someone causes physical harm to an intimate partner with a “dangerous instrument.” Anyone charged with this crime is facing a Class IIIA felony for a first offense, punishable by up to three years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000. A subsequent offense is considered a Class IIA felony.
Third-degree domestic assault is defined as intentionally and knowingly causing bodily harm to an intimate partner, threatening that person with imminent bodily injury, or threatening that person in a menacing manner. This is a Class I misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to one year of imprisonment and/or a fine of up to $1,000. Any subsequent offense is a Class IIIA felony. No matter what degree of domestic violence you were charged with, you should get in touch with a skilled attorney right away.
Potential Consequences of a Conviction
Charges and convictions related to domestic violence may have both criminal and civil legal consequences. Certain allegations under this statute are considered felonies. Felonies can stay on your public record and affect your ability to vote, own a gun, and work in certain career fields. Additionally, felonies carry heavy sentences, including a maximum jail sentence of 50 years.
Domestic violence convictions are also subject to the Lautenberg Amendment, so you could lose your gun rights even if you pled down to a misdemeanor offense. Click here to learn more about the Lautenberg Amendment.
Civil consequences may include effects on divorce proceedings and custody determinations. Additionally, a conviction could negatively impact your immigration status. Domestic violence charges are a common factor in many deportation proceedings. The court may also issue an order of protection that limits the interactions you can have with the complainant. Violations of protection orders may have additional penalties.
Another potential consequence of a domestic violence conviction is difficulty obtaining housing or employment. Prospective landlords and employers have the right to reject an application based on a person’s criminal history. Because of the far-reaching consequences of these offenses, you should work with a skilled domestic violence attorney who can protect your rights.
Is it Possible to Get a Domestic Assault Charge Dismissed?
In some domestic assault cases, the most favorable outcome to seek is a full dismissal of all charges. While this may not be attainable in every case, it is possible in certain situations. For instance, if the prosecutors cannot prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, the case may be dismissed altogether. The attorneys at Berry Law can advise you on the various legal options available in your domestic violence case, whether that includes seeking a reduction of charges, a dismissal, or even a plea deal.
It is important to note that the reporting witness cannot simply “drop” charges once they are filed. While intimate partners can initiate a criminal prosecution by reporting their allegations to the police, they lose all control over the case the moment this report is made. Unlike a civil lawsuit, the complaining witness has no control over whether a domestic assault case moves forward. The prosecution might take the witnesses’ thoughts into account, but they are under no obligation to do so.
What if the Complaining Witness Recants or Refuses to Testify?
It is not unusual for complaining witnesses in domestic assault cases to either change their mind or their story. However, doing so will not automatically bring prosecution to an end. Only the prosecutor can decide to stop pursuing a case.
When a witness refuses to assist in an investigation, it could push the state to dismiss the charges. However, prosecutors do have the power to subpoena a complaining witness and compel them to testify at trial. In situations such as these, a defense attorney can point out all of the weaknesses in the state’s case.
Mistakes to Avoid in a Domestic Assault Case
Following a domestic violence arrest, law enforcement officers may assure you that the case against you is airtight. However, the police may be lying in an effort to obtain a confession or push you into taking a plea deal. It is crucial to avoid making any statements to the police that could negatively impact your case.
A seasoned lawyer could advise you on the strengths and weaknesses of the prosecution’s case before you make any significant decisions about your domestic assault trial.
How Can a Lawyer Help Fight Domestic Violence Charges?
Berry Law has helped numerous people who have been arrested and charged for allegedly engaging in domestic violence. Our attorneys can review the available evidence, build the strongest possible defense, and aggressively fight your domestic assault charges.
Potential Defense Strategies
There are many different defense strategies our attorneys could use to help fight your charges. For example, self-defense may be a viable argument against accusations of domestic assault.
Another defense strategy could be pointing out an alibi. Our legal team can help you prove you were not at the location at the time of the alleged incident. Eyewitness testimony would be a strong piece of evidence when using this defense.
Though many people accused of a crime feel obligated to offer a defense or point to another suspect, it is important to remember that the burden of proof is on the prosecution. If the prosecutor cannot show beyond a reasonable doubt that an act of domestic violence occurred, the best defense strategy could be to highlight the inadequacy of the case.
There are many different defense strategies that may be effective based on the details of your case. Our experienced domestic violence attorneys can work to find a defense strategy that is most effective in your specific case.
Contact an Omaha Domestic Violence Attorney Today
Domestic violence trials often involve different accounts of the altercation from both parties, making these cases especially difficult. A diligent attorney can listen to your side of the story and help you deal with the various issues that arise during trial.
The sooner you get an Omaha domestic violence lawyer on your case, the sooner they can start fighting the charges against you. Call Berry Law today to schedule a confidential consultation.