How does domestic abuse/violence law work?
Domestic violence crimes are aggressively prosecuted in Louisiana. These crimes often involve acts of violence such as assault and battery, yet these offenses are treated more seriously when they occur between family or household members. Law enforcement officers and prosecutors do their due diligence to put alleged domestic violence offenders behind bars and will rarely ever drop charges, even if the alleged victim does not wish to press charges. If you have been arrested for a domestic violence offense, it is important to speak with a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney in Louisiana as soon as possible.
It’s not easy to get domestic charges dismissed in Louisiana. Sometimes, the only way dismissal occurs is if the purported victim signs a drop-charge or no-charge affidavit, either in a criminal proceeding or in a civil protective order proceeding. Even with the signing of a drop-charge or no-charge affidavit, the district attorney may still pursue charges against you. You need experienced and knowledgeable legal representation when charged with domestic assault.
Louisiana defines domestic abuse battery as one household member intentionally using force or violence against another household member.
A household member is:
- Any person of the opposite sex living with the defendant as a spouse, regardless of whether they are actually married
- Any person of the opposite sex who resided with the defendant as a spouse within five years of the domestic abuse battery, regardless of whether they were actually married
- Any child who currently lives with the defendant or has lived with the defendant within the five years preceding the domestic abuse battery
- And any child of the defendant, regardless of where the child resides.
Louisiana law contains criminal provisions that outlaw domestic violence, and civil provisions that make court-issued protective orders available to victims of domestic violence. The crime of domestic abuse battery carries potential jail time and fines, and violations of domestic violence protective orders may be punished by both civil contempt and criminal penalties.
Domestic violence can include many types of abuse including spousal abuse, family abuse, and dating abuse. Domestic violence can also include emotional abuse as well as physical abuse. Attorneys who assist domestic abuse victims can help you seek a restraining order to keep your abuser away from you. They will also help you understand your legal options and provide insight into how domestic violence issues can affect issues such as child custody and child support.
When looking for help as a victim of abuse, remember to consider how private your computer, Internet, and phone use are. Consider whether there’s anything you can and should do to prevent someone else from learning that you’re doing research or seeking help. Some victims, for instance, might use the same computer or device as the abuser or might have a phone plan that allows the abuser to see the calls they make and receive. Other kinds of technology, like home security cameras and GPS in phones and cars, can also allow for monitoring by the abuser.
Louisiana law also places duties on law enforcement officers who investigate domestic abuse allegations. When an officer has reason to believe domestic abuse has occurred, the law requires that the officer take action under certain circumstances. If the officer believes that a felony has been committed, the officer must arrest the suspect, regardless of whether the offense occurred in the officer’s presence. The officer is not required to have an arrest warrant.
If the officer has reason to believe that the suspect committed a misdemeanor that endangers the victim’s physical safety, the officer must arrest the suspect; however, if there is no impending danger to the victim, the decision of whether to arrest the suspect is in the officer’s discretion.
If you are facing domestic violence charges (or similar criminal charges), you need to get a criminal defense lawyer who understands domestic violence laws in Louisiana on your side immediately. In addition to potential jail time, the possible outcomes for not addressing these allegations quickly could affect the rest of your life.
If you are accused of domestic abuse, you should consult with an attorney. The crime of domestic abuse battery carries serious penalties. Allegations of domestic abuse can also result in a court issuing a protective order against you, which can have far-reaching effects in your life. An attorney will provide important guidance throughout the judicial process while ensuring that your rights are safeguarded.