Domestic violence is one of those crimes that was once largely ignored, or swept under the carpet, in the United States until relatively recently. Most people preferred to pretend that it couldn’t happen to them. Law enforcement officers and prosecuting attorneys looked at domestic violence as a “personal” or “family” matter that really did not belong in the courts, and lawmakers weren’t sure what to do with the issue. As a result, domestic violence was rarely prosecuted and, even if it was, a conviction was far from certain even if the abuse was obvious. Fortunately, all that began to change in the 1960s and 1970s. Unfortunately, in their efforts to correct the wrongs of the past, lawmakers and law enforcement agencies all too often go too far in the other direction now, arresting people if there is even a possibility that a domestic assault has occurred. If you have been arrested and charged with domestic assault in Nebraska, you may be wondering if assault lawyers also handle domestic assault cases. While a universally applicable answer to that question isn’t available because individual attorneys decide what type of cases they wish to handle, as a general rule if an attorney handles assault cases, he/she will also represent people charged with domestic violence.
Nebraska Assault Laws
In the State of Nebraska, you can be charged with assault or with domestic assault. Nebraska Revised Statute Section 28-308-310 governs the crime of assault, reading in pertinent parts:
(1) A person commits the offense of assault in the first degree if he or she intentionally or knowingly causes serious bodily injury to another person.
(1) A person commits the offense of assault in the second degree if he or she:
(a) Intentionally or knowingly causes bodily injury to another person with a dangerous instrument;
(b) Recklessly causes serious bodily injury to another person with a dangerous instrument; or
(c) Unlawfully strikes or wounds another (i) while legally confined in a jail or an adult correctional or penal institution, (ii) while otherwise in legal custody of the Department of Correctional Services, or (iii) while committed as a dangerous sex offender under the Sex Offender Commitment Act.
(1) A person commits the offense of assault in the third degree if he:
(a) Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes bodily injury to another person; or
(b) Threatens another in a menacing manner.
By comparison, Nebraska Revised Statute 28-323 governs domestic assault, reading as follows:
A person commits the offense of domestic assault in the first degree if he or she intentionally and knowingly causes serious bodily injury to his or her intimate partner.
A person commits the offense of domestic assault in the second degree if he or she intentionally and knowingly causes bodily injury to his or her intimate partner with a dangerous instrument.
A person commits the offense of domestic assault in the third degree if he or she:
(a) Intentionally and knowingly causes bodily injury to his or her intimate partner;
(b) Threatens an intimate partner with imminent bodily injury; or
(c) Threatens an intimate partner in a menacing manner.
How Can Assault Lawyers Help Me?
As you can see, the primary difference between the assault and domestic assault is found in the victim. In order to be convicted of domestic assault the victim must have been an “intimate partner.” Nebraska defines an “intimate partner” as a “spouse; a former spouse; persons who have a child in common whether or not they have been married or lived together at any time; and persons who are or were involved in a dating relationship.” Aside from that requirement, the two crimes are very similar. As such, you will likely find that assault lawyers are likely to also handle cases involving domestic assault. If you have been charged with domestic assault in the State of Nebraska it is imperative that you consult with an experienced defense attorney right away, Often, the non-judicial penalties that you will face if convicted are far greater than the actual sentence handed down by the court. A conviction for domestic assault, for example, could prevent you from having custody of your children and/or interfere with your visitation privileges. It could also disqualify you from buying and/or carrying a firearm as well as make you automatically ineligible for certain employment opportunities.
If you are currently facing charges for domestic assault in Nebraska, it is certainly in your best interest to consult with an experienced Nebraska assault lawyer right away. In Nebraska contact Petersen Criminal Defense Law 24 hours a day at 402-509-8070 to discuss your case with an experienced sex crimes lawyer.