Domestic abuse battery charges in Louisiana are taken very seriously by all parties involved. If your spouse or significant other calls the local police to accuse you of domestic violence, the authorities will almost surely question you and potentially take you into custody. However, domestic abuse charges can be difficult to prove and prosecute. There are often no eyewitnesses and the evidence is one person’s word against another’s. Significant others frequently call the police after a heated argument which does not lead to violence solely to upset their spouse. At Big River Trial Attorneys, we’ve handled numerous domestic abuse cases and we have the experience to help protect your rights if you’ve been charged with a crime.
The state of Louisiana defines “domestic abuse” as “the intentional use of force or violence committed by one household member or family member upon the person of another household member or family member.” The victim can be any of the following:
Domestic abuse charges can carry severe sentences, largely depending on any injuries sustained and whether you have previously been convicted of domestic abuse. Jail time for domestic abuse convictions can range from 30 days to 30 years depending on the facts of the case.
Additionally, a household member alleging domestic violence may seek an emergency court-issued order of protection. In this case, the alleged abuser will not be present at the hearing and a law enforcement officer will tell the judge that the emergency order is needed. The order expires after 72 hours, but after this point the court may additionally issue a “temporary order of protection” in which the alleged abuser will be present during the meeting. An order of protection may cause you to lose temporary custody of your child as well as the ability to go to your residence or speak to your significant other. You should contact an experienced criminal attorney in Baton Rouge as soon as you have received notice of a petition for an order of protection.
A domestic abuse conviction can have severe repercussions on your family life, future career, and ability to gain custody of any children. A domestic violence charge is often brought out of anger at a household member and it is important to speak with a Louisiana domestic violence lawyer concerning the true facts of the case, as well as present any witnesses who were at the scene of the occurrence. A household member may want to drop charges against the alleged domestic violence attacker, but a prosecutor will more than likely attempt to pressure the household member to move forward with charges. Also, just because the family or household member no longer wants to pursue the charges does not mean that the state will drop the charges.
Domestic violence is a hot political issue. This reality can turn an accusation of domestic violence into a devastatingly effective weapon against the accused, regardless of whether it is true or not. Even in cases where the allegations are true, defendants who lack effective legal representation are often “thrown to the lions” in court, due to the emotionally charged nature of this offense.
Moreover, many domestic violence cases boil down to a “he said, she said” situation, where the only real evidence is the testimony of the accuser. Other cases involve evidence that can be interpreted in more than one way. A good Louisiana domestic violence attorney knows how to investigate an accusation in order to uncover evidence and construct arguments that other lawyers would miss.
Stalking is defined as “the intentional and repeated following or harassing of another person that would cause a reasonable person to feel alarmed or to suffer emotional distress.” Stalking is a separate crime from domestic abuse battery, but the two often go hand-in-hand based on the stories told by the accuser.
Although many defenses are possible, some of the most common are:
- False accusation (to gain advantage in a child custody proceeding, for example)
- Reasonable doubt
- The accuser is not a “household member” under Louisiana law (this defense may result in a lesser charge rather than an outright acquittal).
Yes, absolutely. As Louisiana lawyers, we are bound by attorney-client privilege, and we could be disbarred for revealing a client confidence. We are even required to refuse a judge’s order to testify in court about client secrets.
No. Only the prosecutor can drop charges – in other words, the prosecutor can choose to pursue the case even over the accuser’s objections. While it is possible that a prosecutor might give up on the case because the accuser refuses to cooperate, don’t count on it.
A conviction on a domestic violence charge can carry a sentence from 30 days to 30 years depending on the facts of the case. For example, if the state proves a child under 13 was present, the sentence can be up to three years. Having prior convictions for domestic abuse can also increased the sentence range.
No. Federal law prohibits anyone convicted of a crime of domestic violence from owning a gun, even if the conviction was for a misdemeanor.