Under Alabama's domestic violence laws, certain criminal offenses are treated differently if they occur within what Alabama law defines as a domestic relationship.
The definition of a “domestic relationship” under Alabama law includes situations such as crimes involving current or former spouses, current or past dating partners and situations where people have a child in common. It also includes a parent/ child relationships as well as present and former household members.
There are 3 degrees of domestic violence:
First, second and third degree. There are also other domestic violence charges such as domestic violence by strangulation and interference with a domestic violence emergency call. Violating a protection order can also result in domestic violence charges.
The most serious domestic violence charge is domestic violence, first degree. A conviction can result in up to 99 years or life in prison.
A person convicted of the crime of domestic violence, second degree can face up to 20 years in prison.
A first-time offense for Domestic violence in the third-degree is a misdemeanor and the person convicted of this will face no more than one year in jail.
Many Domestic violence charges have enhanced penalties for individuals with prior convictions for the same offense. For example, a person who has two or more previous domestic violence convictions and is convicted of what would normally be domestic violence third may face up to 10 years imprisonment.
A conviction for domestic violence carries other consequences, including restrictions on one's firearms rights.
Additionally a domestic violence conviction can adversely affect issues from child custody to job security.
How a particular domestic violence case is resolved depends on a variety of factors; including the strength or weakness of the case; the nature of the charge, the views of the judge and the input of the person pressing the charges.
Individuals accused of domestic violence who are first-time offenders and who accept responsibility for having made an error may, with the help of an attorney, be able to negotiate a resolution that avoids a conviction.