This is the second post of our Defending Against Allegations of Domestic Violence series. Our last post discussed why it is important to hire an attorney if your are charged with domestic violence in Arkansas. In this post we will discuss a subject that is often misunderstood – the conduct which constitutes domestic violence.
Arkansas residents are often unaware that their conduct will be considered domestic violence
We have had many clients who were surprised when they found out what constitutes domestic violence in Arkansas. This misunderstanding comes from stereotypes about these types of cases. People often think that “domestic violence” means that there was a knock-down and drag-out fight, resulting in serious injury, between spouses. One does not have to engage in conduct so extreme, however, to be charged with this offense. Understanding Arkansas law on this topic allows people to understand why they are facing charges currently pending against them.
Domestic violence occurs in Arkansas any time there is physical violence between two people who are either in a romantic relationship or related by blood. The “physical violence” does not have to be extreme. A simple push, shove, or restraining someone can constitute domestic violence. One can also be charged for throwing objects at their partner or loved one or if they otherwise attempted to injure the person. If the incident resulted in any type of injury to the other person then our state will likely charge you with a felony. This is a much harsher stance than that taken by many other states.
The common misunderstandings of what constitutes domestic violence leads to two common occurrences. First, people are often surprised when they are initially arrested because they did not believe that the conduct was extreme. Second, people often arrive in Court under a belief that the matter will quickly go away and are surprised to find out when it does not. To put it simply, you are more likely to be facing serious allegations than you may think. This is why if you should contact an attorney immediately if you are facing domestic violence allegations in Arkansas.
It is possible for both parties to be charged with domestic violence after a dispute
Another area in which people are surprised is when both parties to a dispute are charged with domestic violence in an Arkansas Court. If a person batters another then the victim is allowed to use reasonable force to protect themselves. Once that person crosses a line from defending themselves to being an aggressor, however, they are also committing a crime. Due to the heated emotions that exist in these situations it is more common than people may think for both parties of an altercation to be charged with domestic violence. Do not make the mistake of thinking that you will be exonerated simply because the other party was the initial aggressor. Our next article will discuss steps an attorney can take to defend you in a domestic violence case.