Domestic Violence


What is it?

Domestic violence means any assault, aggravated assault, battery, aggravated battery, sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking, aggravated stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment, or any criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death of one "family or household member" by another "family or household member".

The state must prove that you and the alleged victim are "family or household members" to qualify as domestic violence.  

Pursuant to statute, "family or household member" means spouses, former spouses, persons related by blood or marriage, persons living together as a family, or who have resided together in the past as a family, or persons who are parents of a child in common.  


Domestic violence is a serious offense and has a number of criminal and collateral consequences.  

An adjudication of guilt for domestic violence requires a minimum of 10-days county jail for a first offense, 15 days for a second offense, and 20 days for a third/subsequent offense if the offender intentionally caused bodily harm to the alleged victim.  

If the offense was committed in the presence of a child under 16 years old, the minimum penalties increase. 

The offense is a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by 1 year county jail and a $1,000 fine.  

In addition, penalties often include the following:

  • 12 months probation
  • Completion of a 26-week Batterer's Intervention Program
  • Community service hours
  • Inability to carry concealed firearms
  • Injunctive relief and/or a "no contact" order
  • Family law consequences involving child custody/timesharing
  • Employment consequences 
  • Offense is NOT eligible for sealing or expunging

What can a Domestic Violence Defense Attorney do?

  • As always, the first step for a criminal defense attorney is to thoroughly analyze all facts surrounding your case.  
  • Early involvement of a domestic violence defense attorney may enable the attorney to negotiate with the State to drop the criminal charges, or to reduce the possible charge.
  • If formal charges are filed, an investigation may be necessary to challenge the sufficiency of the State's evidence.  The State must prove its allegations beyond a reasonable doubt, and it is important to note any inconsistencies in testimony, identify possible basis for bias/motive, and to determine the existence of legal motions.
  • Skilled negotiation is critical, and domestic violence offenses may involve a plea to a lesser non-violent offense.  
  • An experienced criminal trial attorney will be able to advise you of all of the possible ramifications of trial, and vigorously litigate your case.

Domestic Violence Intervention Program - DVIP

Some domestic violence offenders may be eligible for the DVIP diversionary program to avoid formal prosecution and to potentially obtain a dismissal of the charges.  

Hiring a Domestic Violence Criminal Defense Attorney

Attorney Brooke Elvington, an AV-rated attorney, will offer you a free consultation to discuss your pending criminal charges.  

Ms. Elvington has more than 18 years criminal defense experience involving state and federal trials and appellate/post-conviction matters.  In addition to her work as a criminal defense attorney, she has taught at the university level on courses involving criminal law, constitutional law, evidence and domestic violence law.  In addition, Brooke is a PhD candidate in criminal justice, and has extensively studied domestic violence.  Brooke is not only a skilled litigator, she is educated in the complexities that surround domestic violence law in both criminal and family law forums.