Bentonville Domestic Violence Attorney
An Experienced Defender in Rogers, AR; Fayetteville, AR; Springdale, AR
Bertucci Law Firm is a competitive firm dedicated to defending clients against harsh or unfair accusations. We have handled thousands of cases throughout our career and know how to put up a strong fight in jury trials. Especially if you are facing a charge for domestic violence, you will need an experienced and competitive defender who will work thoroughly on your case.
What Constitutes an Act of Domestic Violence in AR?
Arkansas law prohibits people from physically injuring family members and household members or creating a substantial danger of death or serious injury to a family or household member. In the context of the law, “family or household members” refer to:
- current or former spouses;
- parents and children;
- persons related by blood;
- a child living in the household;
- persons who currently or previously lived together;
- people who have a child together; and
- persons who currently or formerly were in a dating relationship.
In determining whether the defendant and alleged victim were in a dating relationship, a court will consider the length of the relationship, the type of the relationship, and the frequency of the couple’s interactions. In other words, people in casual relationships or who engage purely in a business or social context are not considered to be in a dating relationship under this statute.
Three Degrees of Domestic Battering
Arkansas categorizes domestic violence crimes into 3 degrees, depending on the level of injury allegedly suffered by the other person. First degree battering is the most serious form of domestic battering, and a person commits first degree battering against a household or family member if they cause:
- serious physical injury by use of a deadly weapon while intending to cause such an injury;
- serious permanent disability or disfigurement with the intent to cause such an injury;
- serious physical injury under circumstances that demonstrate an extreme indifference to the value of human life; or
- serious physical injury to a household or family member who the person knows is either under the age of 13 or over the age of 60.
First degree domestic battering is a Class B felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison. The act could rise to a Class A felony punishable by up to 30 years in prison if the defendant either knew or should have known that the alleged victim was pregnant or if the defendant has a prior domestic battering conviction within the past 5 years.
Someone can be convicted of domestic battering in the second degree against a family or household member if they:
- cause serious physical injury while intending to cause physical injury;
- inflict physical injury by use of a deadly weapon while intending to cause such injury;
- recklessly cause serious physical injury by use of a deadly weapon; or
- knowingly cause physical injury to a household or family member that the person knows to be 60 years of age or older or 12 years of age or younger.
Second degree domestic battering is a Class C felony that carries up to 10 years in prison and can rise to a Class B felony if the defendant knew or should have known that the victim was pregnant or if they have a prior domestic battering conviction within 5 years.
Lastly, a person commits third degree domestic battering against a family or household member if they:
- cause physical injury while intending to cause such injury;
- recklessly or negligently cause physical injury by use of a deadly weapon; or
- intentionally cause physical or mental impairment by administering to the family or household member (without that person’s consent) a drug or any other substance.
Domestic battering in the third degree is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year in jail, and if the defendant knew or should have known that the victim was pregnant or if the defendant has a previous domestic battering or aggravated assault conviction within the past 5 years, they could face a Class D felony charge punishable by up to 6 years in prison.
Consequences for Violating Protection Orders
An alleged victim of domestic violence may petition a court for a protective order, which sets terms to protect them from the defendant, such as requiring that the defendant refrain from injuring, harassing, or having any type of contact with the victim.
It could also order the defendant to move out of the shared home and provide temporary financial support for any minor children or a spouse. Any violation of a protective order is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year in jail. If the violation occurs within 5 years of a previous conviction for violating a protective order, the defendant could face a Class D felony.
Some ways an alleged offender could defend against an accusation of violating a protective order could be to show that they and the alleged victim have reconciled or to prove that the alleged victim invited the defendant to the residence or place of employment, knowing that the protective order prohibited the defendant from being present at these locations. An attorney can better help refine a defense argument to address an accusation of violation.
Contact Bertucci Law Firm Today
If you have are facing accusations of domestic violence in Arkansas, it is important to know what degree of domestic battering you have been charged with, as you could be dealing with misdemeanor penalties or stiffer felony consequences.
Bertucci Law Firm can guide you through the legal process as you fight your Bentonville domestic violence charge, whether that means creating a defense against domestic battering or violation of an existing protective order.
Learn more about how Bertucci Law Firm can help your case. Call (479) 227-2716 or contact us online for a free consultation today.
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