Law enforcement officials in Seward take allegations of domestic violence very seriously. So, if an argument gets loud and police are called in, they may issue a charge of domestic assault even if the circumstances do not necessarily support that response.
A criminal conviction—or even a simple charge—involving domestic abuse creates a criminal record that may cause difficulties with employment, housing, and many other aspects of life. In addition, the court may issue a protection order with terms that are difficult to understand or comply with.
Fortunately, a proactive and persistent Seward domestic violence lawyer may be able to help. If you are facing domestic abuse charges, a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney from Berry Law can provide guidance and help you fight your charges. Your attorney can advocate on your behalf throughout the proceedings in pursuit of a positive outcome to your case.
Penalties for Domestic Violence
The penalties which may be imposed for domestic violence convictions differ according to the severity of the offense. There are three versions—or degrees—of what Nebraska state law refers to as domestic assault, with first-degree being the most severe and third-degree being the least. The existence of prior offenses may increase the potential penalties associated with a domestic violence conviction. Individuals facing penalties for domestic violence should contact an accomplished defense lawyer as soon as possible.
Nebraska Revised Statutes §28-323 assigns the following classifications to domestic abuse offenses, all of which a Seward domestic violence attorney could help you contest in court:
- Third-degree domestic assault involving menacing behavior – Class I misdemeanor
- Third-degree domestic assault involving injury or imminent threat of injury – Class I misdemeanor for first offense, and Class IIIA felony for subsequent violations
- Second-degree domestic assault – Class IIIA felony for first offense, and Class IIA felony for subsequent violations
- First-degree domestic assault – Class IIA felony for first offense, and Class II felony for subsequent violations
Potential penalties for a Class I misdemeanor include up to one year of imprisonment and a fine of up to $1,000. Those convicted of a Class IIIA felony face up to three years in prison and a fine as high as $10,000, and the maximum sentence jumps to 20 years for a Class IIA felony and 50 years for a Class II felony.
Domestic Assault in the Third Degree
The least serious domestic assault offense is domestic assault in the third degree. Someone may be found guilty of this crime if he/she physically injures an intimate partner intentionally and knowingly, threatens that partner with imminent physical injury, or threatens that partner in a “menacing manner.”
According to N.R.S. §28-323, an “intimate partner” in this context could refer to a spouse, one member of a couple involved in a “dating relationship” in the past or present, or one member of a couple who parented a child together, even if the two parties never lived together. A dating relationship is one that involves “frequent, intimate associations” involving the “expectation of affectional or sexual involvement.”
Domestic Assault in the First and Second Degree
The definitions of first and second-degree domestic assault build on the definition of the third-degree offense. When an intimate partner intentionally and knowingly causes injury to another partner with the use of a “dangerous instrument,” then the assault becomes a second-degree felony offense.
When the partner’s injury is considered a “serious bodily injury,” the offense escalates to first-degree domestic assault, regardless of whether a dangerous instrument was used. Under N.R.S. §28-109(21), an injury is considered serious if it involves a substantial risk of death, or if it results in permanent disfigurement or impairment of a part of the body. A domestic violence lawyer in Seward could help you argue the details of your case.
Let a Seward Domestic Violence Attorney Help
Domestic assault allegations need to be taken seriously. If you are charged with domestic assault, you should seek legal advice as soon as possible to avoid making statements that could be misinterpreted and jeopardize your case.
An experienced Seward domestic violence lawyer could not only provide advice and representation, but also work to collect evidence on your behalf to build a strong defense. They may also be able to seek alteration of a protection order, or at least assist in compliance with an order to avoid additional penalties. To learn how the Berry Law Firm legal team could assist in your domestic violence case, call now.