Domestic Violence in Pennsylvania

Domestic violence is one of the most common criminal offenses, accounting for around 15% of all violent crime in the United States. One-third of women—and around one-quarter of all men—have experienced violence at the hands of an intimate partner at one point in their lives. Thousands of people get served by Pennsylvania’s domestic violence programs each day.

Domestic abuse affects people from all walks of life. Students in Philadelphia succumb to domestic violence at around twice the national rate, with almost 20% reporting being physically hurt by their partner in the last year. And domestic violence doesn’t necessarily mean physical violence—it can include intimidating behavior such as stalking. According to one report, almost 20% of women in Pennsylvania will fall victim to stalking at one point in their lives.

A Domestic Violence Allegation Can Turn Your Life Upside Down

Often times, the line between victim and abuser is blurred, since many toxic relationships involve mutually abusive partners. In these circumstances, it’s essential to retain the services of a skilled attorney to help you overcome your criminal charges, and to resolve any civil law issues such as child custody, a potential divorce, and in some cases a restraining order.

Pennsylvania law does not consider domestic violence as separate from crimes such as assault, sexual assault, or battery. Rather, if your conduct meets the definition of domestic violence, some procedural and sentencing aspects of your case will change. These changes start right at the beginning of the criminal justice process: when an alleged victim calls the police about a domestic violence incident, the responding officers are required to make an arrest.

Once the arrest is made, the prosecutor will choose whether or not to press charges. The alleged victim cannot influence this decision, unlike simple assault or battery cases where the victim can decide whether or not to press charges. A conviction for domestic abuse can have a serious affect on your personal and professional life. In addition to fines and potential jail time, you may find yourself barred from practicing certain professions, subjected to a restraining order, and stigmatized within your community.

Learn More About Assault & Domestic Violence

The Pennsylvania criminal defense attorneys of Fienman Defense have a proven track record of defending cases involving the following charges:

  • Aggravated Assault — This is a felony offense, which may be charged where there is evidence that you attempted to cause serious bodily harm to another person intentionally, knowingly or recklessly, or with extreme indifference to the value of that person’s life.
  • Simple assault — This is a misdemeanor, which applies in situations where you intentionally, knowingly or recklessly cause bodily injury to somebody else. Simple assault also involves situations where you threatened or attempted to harm another person.
  • Domestic violence — Pennsylvania law defines domestic violence has harming or threatening to harm, a former or current spouse, the parent of a shared child, a former or current dating partner, or someone with whom you share a living space. These cases require fast action by an experienced legal advocate.
  • Harassment — This misdemeanor offense covers a wide range of threatening behavior, including hitting and kicking, following someone in a public place, obscene and threatening communications, and calling in the middle of the night.
  • Recklessly endangering another person — You may be charged with this misdemeanor offense if you put another person in danger of injury or death through your willful disregard for his or her safety.
  • Ethnic intimidation — If you act maliciously towards another person on account of his or her real or perceived membership in a protected group or minority, you may face serious criminal consequences.

How Fienman Defense Can Help

You may fear that your situation is hopeless if you’re facing criminal charges after an arrest and a night in jail. But each and every criminal suspect has important constitutional rights and is considered innocent until proven guilty. Your Philadelphia domestic violence lawyer can defeat your assault or domestic violence charges by demonstrating that you harmed the alleged victim because you reasonably
believed that he or she was going to hurt you.

In other cases, you may not have actually harmed the other person. It may be that the charges are based on a false accusation, and your lawyer can present evidence that the accuser has a tendency for being dishonest. In any case, the prosecutor must show that you committed the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. This is easier said than done and a skilled lawyer by your side can point to the weaknesses and gaps in the prosecution’s evidence against you.

A lawyer can help you obtain the most advantageous outcome possible from your assault or domestic violence charges. At Fienman Defense, we’ve helped hundreds of our clients get their lives back on track after getting charged with a serious crime. If you’re facing criminal charges, call us today at (215) 839-9529 for a free and confidential consultation of your case.