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While there is no specific crime of domestic violence, the term is defined by statue. If a crime of violence, property damage or harassment meets the definition of domestic violence then the Court is required by law to impose special treatment conditions as part of any sentence. Domestic violence is defined as the act or threatened act of violence against a person that the defendant has an intimate relationship with. This can be a current or former spouse, domestic partner, or co-habitant (such as a roommate). The purpose of the act is to coerce, control, intimidate, punish or seek revenge against that person.
Because many domestic abusers oftentimes take advantage of their victims, and because the likelihood of multiple instances of domestic abuse may occur over time, prosecutors will often seek harsher penalties than for those that are considered other types of assault-type crimes where two strangers may be involved.
You can be charged with different types of domestic violence
Domestic violence can take place in many different ways. Specific instances of domestic violence will be charged differently based on several factors. These may include the severity of a victim’s injuries, if a minor was present, and whether or not a restraining order was violated.
These factors are then combined with the different forms of domestic violence to allow prosecutors to file specific charges against a defendant. Domestic violence can take many forms, including:
How protection orders impact domestic violence situations
Protection orders are legal documents that require one person to stay away from another person, their children and sometimes other family members, depending on the circumstances of a particular situation. They are usually issued when there is an immediate perceived threat of danger and help potential victims gain relief from a potentially escalating domestic violence situation. In addition to defining what people the subject of a protective order must stay away from, the order will also restrict visiting places that the person frequents, such as a workplace, school, shopping centers or restaurants, among other types of locations.
If an abuser violates the protective order, they can be arrested and could be found guilty of violating the order, resulting in possible fines and jail time.
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