Understanding Domestic Violence In Kentucky
Domestic violence is a broad term used to describe violent acts or threats that occur between people who share some type of relationship. Domestic violence in Kentucky is defined as physical injury, serious physical injury, sexual abuse, assault, or the infliction of fear and imminent physical injury, serious physical injury, sexual abuse, or assault between members of a qualifying relationship.
Understanding the scope of a domestic violence arrest can be confusing. With a few exclusions, Kentucky does not have a specific set of laws that apply to domestic violence. Instead, individuals who are arrested for domestic violence are charged with the crime that they allegedly committed. For example, if a person points a gun at their spouse and threatens to shoot them, they might be charged with making terroristic threats.
A Kentucky domestic violence attorney can evaluate the circumstances of the arrest and help you understand what charges you may be facing, the conviction penalties, and possible defenses for your case.
Possible Consequences & Penalties
There are a variety of consequences that may be imposed when an act of domestic violence occurs. Here are a few:
- Protective Order — Typically, one of the first court-ordered consequences is a protective order. This requires the offender to stay a certain distance away and refrain from committing certain acts against another person. A protective order is also called a restraining order.
- Court-ordered classes — In addition to a protective order, a judge may impose court-ordered classes such as anger management and violence prevention.
- Custody and parental rights — Depending on the scope of the charge, the judge may order changes in child custody or parenting privileges.
- Criminal Charges — Criminal charges that stem from a domestic violence arrest can vary in severity from a misdemeanor simple assault to felony aggravated assault. A misdemeanor punishment can carry fines up to $500 and a jail sentence up to 1 year, while a felony conviction could mean a 10-25 year prison sentence and up to $10,000 in fines.
- Loss of Firearm Privileges — Federal law prohibits certain people convicted of domestic violence crimes from ever buying or possessing a firearm.
Because of the possibility of so many different outcomes, it is easy to get worried trying to figure out every possible scenario. Get the peace of mind you need by relying on an attorney to provide specifics for your case.
When facing any criminal charge, it is always best practice to have your attorney evaluate the evidence and circumstances surrounding the incident and formulate your best defense. Some common defenses against domestic violence include:
- False Accusations — This defense involves the fact that the victim is lying and/or you are not guilty. This defense could be supported by proof that the injuries on the victim do not match their story and evidence that proves you were not at the scene of the crime.
- Self Defense — This is one of the most common defenses to domestic violence charges. This defense could be supported by police reports that illustrate the victim initiated violence first and you were acting to defend yourself or your children.
- Lack of Intent — Lack of intent can be used as a defense when a person charged can show that their actions were unintentional. This defense does not deny the victim’s injuries but disputes that the injuries were a result of an intentional act.