Domestic Crimes

Domestic crime is defined as violence, abuse, or willful neglect that occurs between two parties who are related to each other or who share an intimate relationship. Domestic crime can be perpetrated by a child, parent, grandparent, other family members, spouse, former spouse, dating partner, former dating partner, household member, caretaker, and the like. Domestic violence used to be regarded as a private matter which was not often handled through the criminal justice system. The devastating effects of domestic violence, the de-stigmatization of interceding on behalf of a victim, and other factors have prompted each state to enact much harsher laws on domestic crime.

Domestic crime encompasses a myriad of offenses that may be committed between intimates. Domestic violence can include any type of physical, psychological, emotional, sexual, or economic abuse committed by one person against a family member, intimate, or other person with close ties to the offender. Domestic violence can also include cases of willful neglect or mistreatment that occurs within these relationships. The severity of domestic violence, in the eyes of the law, will depend on specific state law and the specific circumstances of the offence(s) in question.

Domestic violence criminal offenses are numerous. The following crimes are just some of the offences that can be considered domestic violence:

  • murder
  • negligent homicide
  • justifiable homicide
  • kidnapping
  • sexual assault
  • rape
  • robbery
  • assault
  • battery
  • child abuse
  • property destruction
  • harassment
  • reckless endangerment
  • stalking

Most states also consider it a crime to interfere with the reporting of domestic crime. States also have laws which require domestic violence aggressors to be arrested after an incident. In cases where no arrest is made, a police officer is still required to file a domestic violence report.

There are a number of special legal issues related to domestic crime. After a domestic violence incident, “no contact” or similar restraining orders may be issued to prohibit the offender from contacting the victim by any means for a period of time. A civil protection order may also be issued, ordering the offender to stay away from the victim, leave a shared residence, and the like. In domestic violence cases, the victim is considered a witness and does not have the authority to drop charges against the defendant. In most cases, a domestic violence case can only be dropped at the request of the district attorney upon approval from a judge.

Individuals that have been charged with a domestic crime have the right to professional legal services. If the person cannot afford to retain these services, legal counsel must be provided. The penalty for domestic crime will depend on the specific case. Domestic violence is punishable by prison or jail time, fines, community service, probation, and compulsory domestic violence treatment programs. Those who are convicted of domestic crime are prohibited from possessing a firearm. Offenders who have previous domestic violence convictions will face much harsher penalties. If you would like to learn more about domestic crime, please contact an experienced and highly qualified attorney in your area.