Baton Rouge Domestic Abuse Lawyer
Domestic violence charges and penalties in Louisiana heavily depend on prior convictions, the type of victim involved, the type of abuse inflicted, and more. Whether you’re convicted of a misdemeanor or a felony, you could pay thousands of dollars in fines and spend years of your life behind bars with hard labor. That’s why every person who’s facing a domestic abuse charge needs strong legal representation on their side. Each Baton Rouge domestic abuse lawyer at the Law Offices of Ossie Brown is passionate about fighting for justice on behalf of their clients. We will thoroughly analyze your case in order to formulate the strongest defense possible.
If you’re ready to start an attorney-client relationship with us, call our law firm at 225-343-1111 today. We offer a free consultation to all new clients.
What is Domestic Abuse Battery?
According to Louisiana law (RS § 14:35.3), domestic abuse battery occurs when a household member intentionally uses force or violence against someone else in their household. The most common types of domestic violence victims in the same residence as an abuser are:
- Someone of the opposite sex currently living with the abuser who may or may not be in a sexual or intimate relationship with them. This could be a spouse, a dating partner, an ex-spouse, or just a roommate.
- Someone of the opposite sex who has lived with the abuser in the past 5 years as a spouse, a dating partner, a roommate, etc.
- A minor child who currently lives with the abuser or has lived with the abuser in the last 5 years. This could be the abuser’s children, the victim’s children, or even foster children.
Common Injuries From Domestic Abuse Battery
Victims of domestic abuse battery often suffer serious bodily injury which requires medical treatment. Common personal injuries that a victim of domestic abuse may sustain include:
- Bruising all over the body, including on the face
- Bald patches on the scalp from missing chunks of hair
- Eardrum rupture
- Cuts and scrapes all over the body, including on the face
- Broken, loose, or missing teeth
- Head injuries such as a concussion or a traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Cuts, welts, and bruises around the neck from attempted strangulation
- Broken bones and joint dislocations
- Burn injuries from cigarettes or other hot objects
- Bite marks
- Rope burns
- Loss of a pregnancy
- Welts on the skin that are in the shape of a weaponized object such as a belt, bat, bar, pan, etc.
- Gunshot wounds
If the domestic violence also involves sexual abuse, the victim may suffer from bruising around the genitals and breasts. Additionally, the victim may have genital bleeding.
How Common is Domestic Abuse in the U.S.?
Tragically, domestic violence is incredibly common in the United States. According to data from the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), more than 10 million Americans suffer from physical violence committed by current or former spouses and family members every single year. Between the years of 2016 and 2018, incidences of domestic violence in the U.S. increased by approximately 42%.
The majority of domestic violence victims are women. In fact, the NCADV claims that 1 in 4 women will experience physical or sexual violence from their partners in their lifetime. Meanwhile, 1 in 10 men will experience physical or sexual violence in their lifetimes.
False Reports of Domestic Abuse in the U.S.
As previously stated, domestic violence is a daily occurrence in the U.S. But not all of these reports of domestic violence are factual. Plenty of people are wrongly accused of domestic violence by a partner, family member, or spouse due to a variety of reasons. In fact, a 2020 study claims that more than 20 million American adults were falsely accused of various types of abuse including domestic abuse, sexual abuse, child abuse, and more.
Women were responsible for approximately 62% of false reports. A very common reason why these false reports occurred was due to child custody disputes. In fact, this study claims that that was the reason for nearly 30% of false reports.
False reports like this make obtaining justice difficult for nearly everyone: the actual victims of domestic violence and the innocent people convicted of domestic violence. The National Registry of Exonerations even claims that false allegations contribute to nearly 60% of wrongful convictions. Statistics like these drive every Baton Rouge domestic violence attorney at the Law Offices of Ossie Brown to obtain justice for those facing domestic violence charges. Whether you’ve been wrongfully accused or not, we can help you obtain the best case outcome possible.
Domestic Abuse Charges and Penalties According to Louisiana Law
Domestic abuse battery charges and penalties in Louisiana heavily depend on a variety of factors, including whether or not this is the suspect’s first or subsequent offense, whether or not the offense involves strangulation, what type of victim was involved in the abuse, etc.
A first offense of domestic violence is considered a misdemeanor in Louisiana. As punishment, offenders can face a $300 to $1,000 fine and up to six months in jail. Louisiana law mandates that at least forty-eight hours of this jail sentence must be served without the benefit of parole, probation, or suspension.
The only way this sentence could be suspended is if offenders spend at least 4 days in jail and then attend a domestic abuse intervention program. During this time, they cannot have a gun. Additionally, an offender could have their jail sentence suspended if they complete at least 8 days of community service and attend a domestic abuse intervention program.
A second offense of domestic abuse is also considered a misdemeanor in Louisiana. Offenders must pay a fine of $750 to $1,000 and go to jail for 60 days to 1 year with or without hard labor. Additionally, offenders won’t have the benefit of parole, probation, or suspension for at least fourteen days of their sentence.
The only way to receive a suspension is if offenders serve thirty days behind bars and attend a domestic violence intervention program. No guns are allowed in the offender’s possession during this time. Additionally, offenders could have their sentence suspended if they attend thirty, eight hour days of community service along with attendance of a domestic violence intervention program.
Third and subsequent offenses of domestic violence are generally considered felonies in Louisiana. Third offenses are punishable by 1 to 5 years behind bars and a $2,000 fine. Offenders will not receive the benefits of probation, parole, or suspension for at least a year of their sentence.
A fourth offense of domestic violence in Louisiana is punishable by a minimum of ten years in jail, but not more than thirty years in jail. Additionally, offenders must pay a fine of at least five thousand dollars. There will be no benefits of parole, probation, or suspension for up to three years of that sentence.
While the first two domestic abuse offenses are generally considered misdemeanors in Louisiana, there are a few situations that elevate the charge to a felony.
Firstly, if an offender engages in physically violent behavior in front of a child who is younger than 13 years old, then a misdemeanor domestic abuse battery could easily become a felony.
If the victim of domestic abuse was pregnant at the time of the attack, and the offender knew about the pregnancy, their charge will be elevated to a felony.
Lastly, if the victim suffered burn injuries and/or strangulation, the offender will face a felony charge.
Consequences of Violating a Protective Order
Domestic abuse battery cases often result in protective orders or a temporary restraining order if the victim is still in immediate danger of suffering more abuse. These orders may prevent the offender from seeing or contacting the victim in question and also establish specific child custody rules, if applicable to the situation.
According to Louisiana law (RS § 14:79), domestic violence offenders who willingly violate a permanent or temporary order may be held in contempt of court and/or charged with violating protective orders. As punishment, the offender must pay a $500 fine and spend up to 6 months behind bars.
If I Was Convicted of Domestic Violence, Can I Own a Gun?
Federal law prohibits domestic violence offenders from owning or possessing a gun, regardless of if they’re charged with a misdemeanor or a felony. This is because statistics show that femicide of dating partners increases by approximately 400% if abusers have access to guns.
Louisiana law specifically prohibits offenders from owning or possessing a gun for at least 10 years following their sentence, probation, or parole. If offenders break this law, they must pay a $1,000 to $5,000 fine and/or spend 1 to 20 years behind bars.
Once the mandatory 10 years passes though, offenders can own and possess a gun again, as long as they haven’t committed any other crimes.
Possible Defenses for Domestic Abuse
If you’ve just received a domestic abuse charge, you may feel hopeless. That’s why you need an experienced Baton Rouge domestic violence lawyer on your side. The criminal defense team at the Law Offices of Ossie Brown have countless years of experience in fighting for the rights of domestic abuse offenders. We can listen to your story, review the evidence in your case, and help you formulate a strong defense like the ones listed below.
Self-defense is possibly the most common defense used in domestic abuse battery cases. Sometimes, self-defense really is the truth. Maybe your household member was enraged about something and began physically lashing out at you or threatening you with violence. In order to stop this person’s rage and protect yourself, you had to inflict some level of force. Some kind of struggle between two parties is very common in domestic abuse cases.
It’s important to remember that this defense will only work in your favor if the level of force you used against the victim was reasonable against their threat. For example, let’s say the victim was screaming at you and shoving you. If you responded by violently hitting them, pushing them to the ground, or even strangling them, you may not have a very strong case.
Nevertheless, it’s important to hire a Baton Rouge domestic abuse lawyer to analyze the details of your case and help you determine if this defense would work in your favor.
Unintentional Use of Force
In order for an incident to be considered domestic abuse battery in Louisiana, there must have been intentional use of force or violence. If you and your Baton Rouge domestic abuse attorney can gather enough evidence to prove that the level of force used was not intentional, then you could experience a better case outcome.
The Victim Isn’t Another Household Member
Louisiana law specifically states that at least one household member must have been involved in a violent incident for it to be considered domestic abuse battery. If the victim in question was not a family member, a partner, or a child in your household, you could receive lighter penalties.
Lastly, you could use the false allegation defense, but only if you and your Baton Rouge domestic abuse attorney can certainly prove that the victim is lying. In order to prove that false allegations occurred, your domestic violence lawyer may investigate the scene for any signs of violence, analyze pictures of the victim’s injuries (or lack thereof), and interview close friends or family.
Call a Baton Rouge Domestic Abuse Lawyer at the Law Offices of Ossie Brown Today
If you’re facing any kind of criminal charges, you need the strongest possible legal representation on your side. Our Baton Rouge law firm is that strongest possible legal representation. Our team has decades of combined experience in walking our clients through the court process and helping them receive the best case outcome possible. For more information on how a Baton Rouge domestic violence attorney at the Law Offices of Ossie Brown can help, call 225-343-1111 today. We offer a free consultation to all new clients.
Let us review your case at no cost to you. We want to take the time to get to know you and understand your legal goals and objectives.
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