If you believe you are under investigation for domestic violence, it is crucial to take action as soon as possible. Without adequate legal representation, your situation could quickly escalate to formal charges and a criminal conviction. Retaining an experienced domestic abuse lawyer immediately can make a critical difference in your case.
Contact the accomplished domestic violence attorneys at Stracci Law Group right away so we can preserve and gather the information needed to fight your case. Our team consists of four former prosecutors, including one who was a founding member of the Lake County Prosecutor’s Office Special Victims Unit, which specifically prosecutes cases involving domestic violence. We’re well equipped to defend you and serve clients throughout Northwest Indiana, including Hammond, Crown Point, and Valparaiso.
Who Can Be Charged With Domestic Violence?
In Indiana, “domestic violence” is an umbrella term used to describe an entire category of offenses rather than a single discrete crime. The prosecutor can only use domestic violence charges against people with “family or household member” relationships to you, including:
- your current or former spouse, boyfriend/girlfriend, or sexual partner;
- anyone related to you by blood, adoption, or marriage;
- a current or former guardian, ward, custodian, or foster parent; or
- Anyone who has a child in common with you.
What Can Be Classified as Domestic Violence?
As mentioned above, domestic violence is a broad category of offenses. Some of these offenses don’t even involve inflicting any sort of physical harm. Below are some examples:
The crime of Intimidation involves the communication of a threat with the intent (1) that another person engages in conduct against the other person’s will; or (2) that another person is placed in fear of retaliation for a prior lawful act. There is no requirement of touching or a physical injury.
Stalking means deliberately and repeatedly harassing someone in a manner that causes the victim to feel threatened, terrorized, frightened, or intimidated. This behavior must be such that it would cause an ordinary person to react the same way.
Strangulation occurs when the perpetrator knowingly or intentionally applies pressure to the victim’s throat, neck, or torso or performs similar acts that obstruct the victim’s breathing or blood circulation. The perpetrator must act in a “rude, angry or insolent” manner.
Sexual assault occurs when the perpetrator engages in sexual conduct that was involuntary in the sense that the victim was coerced, forced, intimidated, unconscious, mentally disabled, etc.
Penalties for Domestic Violence in Northwest Indiana
Because domestic violence is a broad term that applies to many different offenses, there is no single set of penalties that apply to “domestic violence.” The most common types of penalties for a domestic violence conviction include:
- Incarceration (in some cases for years)
- Loss of your gun rights
- Mandatory batterer’s intervention/anger management classes (or similar courses)
- Immigration consequences. If you are not a citizen of the United States, a domestic violence conviction could carry severe immigration consequences, including deportation.
Defenses Against a Domestic Violence Charge
If you have been charged with domestic violence, a conviction is not necessarily inevitable. Depending on the facts of your case, you may have a defense. Some of the most common defenses include:
- False accusation. People frequently use false domestic violence allegations to gain an advantage in child custody proceedings, divorce proceedings, etc.
- Self-defense: It might be the case that your accuser was the aggressor and that you acted in self-defense.
- Defense of others: You might have resorted to force or violence to prevent your accuser from harming your children, for example.
- Police misconduct: The prosecutor cannot use evidence that the police obtained as a result of their own misconduct.
- Reasonable doubt: The sum of the evidence does not establish your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Many other defenses might be available, depending on your circumstances.
The Challenges of Domestic Violence Accusations
Domestic violence is a political hot potato. As such, large sections of the media are biased in favor of the accuser, especially if the accused is a man. Your challenge, and your attorney’s challenge, is to avoid “trial by media” and to preserve your freedom, your finances, and your reputation.
Contact a Professional Domestic Violence Attorney Today
Criminal prosecutions move fast in Indiana and can be complex. Contact a domestic violence attorney who has had hands-on experience prosecuting these unique cases. Call Stracci Law Group at (219) 525-1000, contact us online or visit us at 11890 Broadway, Crown Point, IN 46307.
At Stracci law Group, we successfully represent defendants charged with domestic violence, helping them regain their lives. Contact us immediately so we can begin gathering critical information for your case.
Domestic Violence Lawyer Near Me
Stracci Law Group serves clients in Crown Point [46307, 46308] as well as Gary [46402, 46404, 46405], Valparaiso [46383, 46384], and other towns in Northwest Indiana. We are experienced, relentless, and ready to defend you.