Domestic violence gained widespread attention beginning in the 1990’s and legislatures quickly took action to attempt to distinguish generic assault charges from emotionally driven assault between people in a romantic relationship. Domestic abuse can often be a cycle of violence that is characterized by abuse, the abuser showing remorse and asking for forgiveness and then continued violence. People in violent relationship often feel trapped due to financial entanglement or children with the abuser. Penalties are greatly enhanced for domestic violence as compared to assault.
Domestic violence is a widely defined term that applies to individuals in a romantic relationship such as a spouse, people who are dating or who have children together or people who were in a dating relationship or married in the past. It does not apply to people in a casual relationship or in work or social contexts. Some of the factors that define relationships versus a casual relationship are the number of times you have gone on a date, if you present as a couple in public, and how your family considers the relationship.
Domestic Assault Penalties
The Nebraska Domestic Assault criminal charge is found in Section 28-323 of the Nebraska Revised Statutes. It defines domestic assault as intentionally or knowingly causing bodily injury to an intimate partner, threatening an intimate partner with imminent bodily injury or threatening an intimate partner in a menacing manner.
The first offense is a Class I misdemeanor which carries up to a year in jail and up to a $1,000 fine. A second or subsequent offense is a Class IV felony charge, which carries up to five years in jail and up to a $10,000 fine.
Additional Consequences of Domestic Assault Conviction
There are collateral effects of a conviction under the domestic assault charge. Conviction of a misdemeanor charge means that you cannot possess a firearm or brass knuckles for a period of seven years under Nebraska law. The penalty for possession a firearm is between one and twenty years in prison. However, the federal statutes provide a lifetime ban for possession of a firearm that has been shipped or affects interstate commerce. This prohibition does not include black powder firearms.
It you are not a U.S. citizen, the Immigration and Nationality Act allows for deportation for a crime of domestic violence. It does not require deportation, but does allow it to be considered. A conviction may also be characterized as a crime of moral turpitude depending on the facts and circumstances leading to denial of naturalization.
Defense of Domestic Assault Cases
Domestic violence allegations that are purely fabricated are on a steep rise. While a great many reports are genuine there are extensive motives for making false reports. Motives include retaliations for a cheating partner, to obtain an advantage in divorce or child custody proceedings, or revenge. People who falsely report a domestic violence case are rarely prosecuted.
There is significant political pressure applied to domestic assault charges as well. While other types of cases are routinely negotiated, reduced or dismissed, domestic cases are rarely given the same treatment. A politician does not want to be seen as soft on crime against women and so a D.V. prosecution can get quickly out of hand with even the most frivolous facts.
Even with the uneven landscape of a D.V. charge, they are defensible. In any D.V. case, quick investigation can lead to beneficial witness statements and other evidence. All of the facts and circumstances surround the alleged event must be examined. Was the reporting party intoxicated or under the influence of drugs? Is there a motive for retaliation or revenge? Was this a case of self-defense? Did the police investigate properly? Is the complaining party lying? All of these questions are thoroughly explored. The State has the burden to prove the offense beyond a reasonable doubt.
If you or a loved one are accused of domestic assault, call Petersen Criminal Defense at 402-509-8070 for a free consultation.