Every now and then, things get out of control and someone calls the police on their neighbors. Recently, a young man had a party at his house and the neighbors heard screaming and called police. When police arrived, the young man’s girlfriend was yelling because she had slipped and bruised her knees on the sidewalk. At the time, she was mad at her boyfriend and said that he had pushed her. Police arrested the boyfriend for domestic assault.
Later, the girl told the prosecutor she was intoxicated and mad at her boyfriend when she talked to police and had lied about being pushed. The prosecutor didn’t believe her.
Consequences of Domestic Assault
In Nebraska, domestic assault is a Class I Misdemeanor that carries a potential sentence of up to a year in jail and a $1000 fine, but the consequences go well beyond the criminal penalties.
A person convicted of domestic assault is subject to the Lautenberg Amendment, which prohibits individuals convicted of crimes of domestic violence from possessing firearms. Furthermore, medical professionals such as doctors, nurses, and physician’s assistants risk losing their professional licenses if they are convicted of crimes of domestic violence.
Domestic Assault Defense
Domestic assault cases are often vigorously defended, not only due to the nature of the criminal penalties and potential lifetime collateral consequences, but also because people are wrongly accused of domestic assault.
In some instances, the alleged victim becomes intoxicated or angry or both and attacks the defendant. The defendant has the right to use reasonable force to defend himself and others. In these instances, the person charged with domestic assault was not the aggressor but someone who was taking reasonable measures to protect him- or herself from the aggressor. Sometimes, a concerned neighbor calls the police and while both the alleged victim and the defendant deny that assault occurred, the neighbor claims that he or she saw domestic violence and someone is charged with domestic assault, even when the alleged victim has no physical injuries.
Avoiding a Domestic Assault Conviction
In some cases when domestic assault did occur, it is possible to negotiate a plea to a lesser offense such as disturbing the peace. However, anyone charged with domestic assault needs to be aware of the possibility of the case being considered a conviction for a crime of domestic violence, even if charges are reduced. For example, a charge of domestic assault reduced to a simple city assault can still be considered a crime of domestic violence if the alleged aggressor and alleged victim were a domestic relationship.
While the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt the existence of a domestic relationship in a domestic assault trial, if a defendant enters a plea to a lesser offense, many states look at the underlying charge and determine whether there was a domestic relationship based on the police reports.
In conclusion, it is important to understand that domestic assault cases carry several long-lasting consequences in addition to potential jail time.
Our team of attorneys has more than 100 years of experience defending the Constitutional rights of clients. If you have been charged with domestic assault, contact Berry Law Firm.