Montgomery County, PA Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer
Domestic violence is a serious crime. Getting charged with domestic violence likely will have you worrying about your future. As understandings of what constitutes abuse have evolved and improved over time, so too have domestic violence laws in Pennsylvania. A conviction for domestic violence could have life-long consequences.
Our lawyers have a wealth of experience dealing with domestic violence criminal charges in Pennsylvania. We can analyze your case and tailor our assistance to fit your needs. If you or a loved one has been charged with a domestic violence crime, we are here to help.
Call our domestic violence defense lawyers with The Law Offices of Lloyd Long at (215) 302-0171 for a free, confidential case review.
Domestic Violence Accusations in Montgomery County, PA
Pennsylvania does not have a statute specifically defining domestic violence as a crime. Instead, Pennsylvania attaches additional penalties for crimes in a domestic violence context. Domestic violence claims are being taken more seriously than they were in the past, so consequences for getting accused of domestic violence are severe.
Under 18 Pa.C.S. § 2711(a), police officers do not need a warrant to arrest people for domestic violence so long as the officer has probable cause and sees evidence of injuries. In order to make an arrest in this way, a police officer must observe actual injuries or other evidence indicating that domestic violence has occurred. Additionally, police responding to a domestic violence call are required to seize any potential weapons used in the alleged abuse.
The purpose of this law is to try and make sure that victims of abuse are able to be safe from their abusers. However, it also means that if you are accused of domestic violence, you are more likely to be arrested.
Types of Domestic Violence in Montgomery County, PA
Domestic violence is more than just physical assault. There is a variety of other conduct that could constitute abuse or domestic violence in Pennsylvania. Many domestic violence claims will center around “abuse,” as defined under 23 Pa.C.S. § 6102, but you could still be charged with a wide variety of crimes for actions that constitute domestic violence.
Causing or attempting to cause bodily injury or serious bodily injury to a family or household member is assault in Pennsylvania. Assaulting a family or household member will be considered a domestic violence charge. A family or household member usually means someone who lives with you, like children or intimate partners, but also includes people who do not live with you, like dating partners or separated former spouses.
The threat of injury is enough to be considered abuse. Conduct such as raising a fist while threatening a family member will be considered domestic abuse or even a terroristic threat under 18 Pa.C.S. § 2706. even though nobody was physically hurt.
Bodily injury also does not need to be on purpose to be considered abuse. It only needs to be reckless to be considered abuse. For example, if you throw a glass bottle at a family member during an argument, that will likely still be considered abuse even though you might not have intended to hit them.
Sexual abuse of a family member is a serious crime in Pennsylvania. Rape, sexual assault, and incest are generally what come to mind when the term sexual abuse is mentioned. However, that is not the only conduct covered here. Unwanted or nonconsensual touching or sexual advances are also considered sexual abuse in Pennsylvania and could lead to a domestic violence charge.
False imprisonment of family or household members is domestic violence in Pennsylvania. False imprisonment is defined in 18 Pa.C.S. § 2903 as knowingly and unlawfully restraining someone against their will in a way that interferes with their liberty. For example, locking a family member in a room with no way out is false imprisonment .
Penalties are more severe for false imprisonment when the person imprisoned is a minor child.
Stalking, Following, and Other Threatening Behavior
Domestic violence and abuse include behavior that creates apprehension of danger for household members. Stalking, following, or otherwise making family members and household members feel unsafe is considered stalking under 18 Pa.C.S. § 2709.1 or harassment under 18 Pa.C.S. § 2709and could lead to domestic violence charges against you.
Stalking includes more than the stereotypical hiding in bushes or watching people sleep. Stalking also includes sending threatening messages or letters as well as repeated harassment.
Consequences of a Domestic Violence Conviction in Montgomery County, PA
There are consequences for a domestic violence conviction that are beyond the sentence you might receive from a judge. Domestic violence convictions become part of a public record, so anyone can find out who has been convicted of domestic violence should they choose to look. A domestic violence conviction will affect your life in many ways and close off a number of opportunities for you. It is important to have our lawyers help you through a domestic violence allegation when there is so much at stake.
Difficulty Finding Employment
Most employers conduct background checks before hiring individuals. If you are convicted of domestic violence in Pennsylvania, potential employers will find out about it during background checks and will likely be less likely to hire you. If the domestic violence conviction resulted in a felony, that will also come up in a background check and could adversely impact your employment opportunities.
Protection From Abuse Orders
Domestic violence allegations can result in protection from abuse orders (PFA) or restraining orders preventing you from going too close to the accuser. These orders will likely remain in effect if a domestic violence charge results in a conviction. This could prevent you from seeing family members, children, or other loved ones.
Adverse Effects on Other Legal Outcomes
A domestic violence conviction could have consequences for other legal proceedings. For example, in a child custody dispute, a conviction for domestic violence on record would dissuade a judge and jury from awarding custody of a child to that person. A domestic violence conviction could also take away your right to own a firearm.
Call Our Montgomery County, PA Domestic Violence Defense Lawyers for a Free Case Review
The domestic violence defense lawyers with the Law Offices of Lloyd Long offers free case reviews at (215) 302-0171.