Contact Us for a Free Consultation (256) 533-4529

Domestic Violence in Alabama

 What is a Domestic Violence crime in Alabama?

 What makes a domestic violence crime different from other crimes in Alabama is the relationship between the victim and the person accused of committing the crime. If the victim and the person accused of committing the crime are in (or were in) what Alabama calls a domestic relationship, then the crime is called a "Domestic Violence Crime" and is treated differently than if the parties are not related.

 To give an example: if I walk into a bar and I see my ex-girlfriend and her present boyfriend and I push her present boyfriend off the barstool because I want to annoy him I have committed the crime of "Harassment" but, if I push her off the barstool because I want to annoy or her, the crime is now "Domestic Violence – Harassment". The differences that I had a domestic relationship with my ex-girlfriend and the crime now becomes a domestic violence crime.

 Typically, once crimes are defined as domestic violence crimes, punishments tend to be more severe. Alabama laws try to protect those people perceived as domestic violence victims.

 HOW  DOES ALABAMA DEFINE A "DOMESTIC VIOLENCE VICTIM"?

 Alabama law defines domestic violence crimes by the domestic violence victims and Alabama law defines "Domestic Violence Victims" the following ways:

  1. A person who is related to the person who has committed the crime by way of a legal or common-law marriage.
  1. A person who was previously married or common-law married to the accused.
  1. A person who has a child with the accused. It does not matter whether or not the two parties were ever married or have ever lived together.
  1. A person who has or has had past dating relationships with the accused person.
  1. Current or former household members. By household members, Alabama law means people who were involved in a romantic or sexual relationship.
  1. A relative of a current or former household member who lived with the defendant as is explained in paragraph five above.
  1. Any parent, stepparent, child or stepchild who is or has maintained a living arrangement with the accused person.

Alabama's Domestic Violence Statute may be found at Section 13A – 6 – 139.1 (3) Code of Alabama.

 WHAT ARE THE DEGREES OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CRIMES IN ALABAMA?

There are three degrees of domestic violence crimes in Alabama:  first, second and third-degree.

 DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, THIRD-DEGREE

The least serious of these is Domestic Violence Third Degree. These cases are prosecuted either in Alabama's municipal courts or in Alabama's state courts. If your case is being prosecuted in a Municipal court, your maximum punishment is 180 days in jail and a fine not to exceed $500. If your case is being prosecuted in a District or Circuit court your maximum punishment is one year in jail and a fine of up to $6000.

The most common types of Domestic Violence, Third-Degree charges include underlying offenses of:

Assault Third-Degree;

Menacing;

Reckless Endangerment;

Criminal Coercion;

Harassment;

Harassing Communications;

Criminal Trespass in the third degree;

Criminal Mischief, Second or Third-Degree; and

Arson, Third-Degree.

A second conviction for Domestic Violence in the Third-Degree requires a mandatory 10-day sentence and a third offense is a Class C felony with a minimum sentence of the year and one day in prison.

The actual law for domestic violence, third-degree in Alabama is reproduced here:

Alabama Code Title 13A. Criminal Code § 13A-6-132.

(a) A person commits domestic violence in the third degree if the person commits the crime of assault in the third degree pursuant to Section 13A-6-22 ;  the crime of menacing pursuant to Section 13A-6-23 ;  the crime of reckless endangerment pursuant to Section 13A-6-24 ;  the crime of criminal coercion pursuant to Section 13A-6-25 ;  the crime of harassment pursuant to subsection (a) of Section 13A-11-8 ;  the crime of criminal surveillance pursuant to Section 13A-11-32 ;  the crime of harassing communications pursuant to subsection (b) of Section 13A-11-8 ;  the crime of criminal trespass in the third degree pursuant to Section 13A-7-4 ;  the crime of criminal mischief in the second or third-degree pursuant to Sections 13A-7-22 and 13A-7-23 ;  or the crime of arson in the third degree pursuant to Section 13A-7-43 ;  and the victim is a current or former spouse, parent, child, any person with whom the defendant has a child in common, a present or former household member, or a person who has or had a dating relationship, as defined in Section 13A-6-139.1, with the defendant.  Domestic violence in the third degree is a Class A misdemeanor.

(b) The minimum term of imprisonment imposed under subsection (a) shall be 30 days without consideration of reduction in time if a defendant willfully violates a protection order issued by a court of competent jurisdiction and in the process of violating the order commits domestic violence in the third degree.

(c) A second conviction under subsection (a) is a Class A misdemeanor, except the defendant shall serve a minimum term of imprisonment of 10 days in a city or county jail or detention facility without consideration for any reduction in time.

(d) A third or subsequent conviction under subsection (a) is a Class C felony.

(e) For purposes of determining second, third, or subsequent number of convictions, convictions in municipal court shall be included.

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, SECOND-DEGREE

The next highest level of domestic violence is Domestic Violence, Second Degree. This is classified under Code of Alabama § 13A-6-131 as a Class B felony. The minimum sentence is two years in prison; the maximum 20 years in prison. The maximum fine is $30,000. The following crimes, when committed in a domestic relationship, are crimes of Domestic Violence, Second Degree:

Assault in the second degree;

Stalking;

Burglary in the second or third degrees; and

Criminal mischief in the first degree.

Domestic violence by way of strangulation or suffocation; if the domestic violence case involved an incident in which pressure was put on the neck, a person was made to breathe toxic fumes, or his or her airways were blocked, the prosecution can pursue charges of domestic violence by strangulation or suffocation.

If you'd like to read the actual law pertaining to second-degree domestic violence in Alabama, it is reproduced here:

Alabama Code Title 13A. Criminal Code § 13A-6-131

 (a) A person commits the crime of domestic violence in the second degree if the person commits the crime of assault in the second degree pursuant to Section 13A-6-21 ;  the crime of intimidating a witness pursuant to Section 13A-10-123 ;  the crime of stalking pursuant to Section 13A-6-90 ;  the crime of burglary in the second or third-degree pursuant to Sections 13A-7-6 and 13A-7-7 ;  or the crime of criminal mischief in the first degree pursuant to Section 13A-7-21 and the victim is a current or former spouse, parent, child, any person with whom the defendant has a child in common, a present or former household member, or a person who has or had a dating relationship, as defined in Section 13A-6-139.1, with the defendant.  Domestic violence in the second degree is a Class B felony, except the defendant shall serve a minimum term of imprisonment of six months without consideration of probation, parole, good time credits, or any reduction in time for any second or subsequent conviction under this subsection.

(b) The minimum term of imprisonment imposed under subsection (a) shall be double without consideration of probation, parole, good time credits, or any reduction in time if a defendant willfully violates a protection order issued by a court of competent jurisdiction and in the process of violating the order commits domestic violence in the second degree.

(c) The minimum term of imprisonment imposed under subsection (a) shall be double without consideration of probation, parole, good time credits, or any reduction in time if the offense was committed in the presence of a child under the age of 14 years at the time of the offense, if the victim was the parent or legal guardian of the child.  For purposes of this subsection, “in the presence of a child” means in the physical presence of a child or having knowledge that a child is present and may see or hear the act.

 DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, FIRST-DEGREE

The most serious of the domestic violence crimes is Domestic Violence, First-Degree as classified by the Code of Alabama, at section 13A-6-130. These crimes are class A felonies. The minimum punishment is 10 years in the penitentiary and the maximum punishment is 99 years to life in prison. The maximum fine is $60,000.

Domestic Violence, First-Degree includes charges of:

Assault in the first degree; and

Aggravated stalking.

Alabama's law for domestic violence in the first degree is reproduced here:

 (a) A person commits the crime of domestic violence in the first degree if the person commits the crime of assault in the first degree pursuant to Section 13A-6-20 or aggravated stalking pursuant to Section 13A-6-91 , and the victim is a current or former spouse, parent, child, any person with whom the defendant has a child in common, a present or former household member, or a person who has or had a dating relationship, as defined in Section 13A-6-139.1, with the defendant.  Domestic violence in the first degree is a Class A felony, except that the defendant shall serve a minimum term of imprisonment of one year without consideration of probation, parole, good time credits, or any other reduction in time for any second or subsequent conviction under this subsection.

(b) The minimum term of imprisonment imposed under subsection (a) shall be double without consideration of probation, parole, good time credits, or any reduction in time if a defendant willfully violates a protection order issued by a court of competent jurisdiction and in the process of violating the order commits domestic violence in the first degree.

(c) The minimum term of imprisonment imposed under subsection (a) shall be double without consideration of probation, parole, good time credits, or any reduction in time if the offense was committed in the presence of a child under the age of 14 years at the time of the offense, if the victim was the parent or legal guardian of the child.  For purposes of this subsection, “in the presence of a child” means in the physical presence of a child or having knowledge that a child is present and may see or hear the act.

 If you are charged with any degree of domestic violence you should speak with a qualified attorney as quickly as you possibly can. If you'd like our help contact us at any time. Just click below: 

Menu