I have been accused of domestic battery. Now what?

In Kansas, you can be charged with domestic battery if you harm a family member, the person you are dating, or a household member.  That “harm” includes physical contact done in a rude, insulting or angry manner. 

WHAT IS THE COOLING OFF PERIOD? 

In short, someone must be arrested if the officer believes the crime of domestic battery has been committed.  The time in jail is intended to give the aggressor an opportunity to cool off as a way to stop continued violence.  It also gives the alleged victim an opportunity to change the locks, so to speak.  That period is extended upon release from jail for 72 hours as the law requires no contact with the alleged victim. 

WHAT ARE THE POSSIBLE PENALTIES FOR DOMESTIC BATTERY? 

The penalty for domestic battery depends, in part, on whether there is a history of domestic violence.  The first offense is a misdemeanor carrying up to six months in jail.  If the offender has been convicted one or more times in the preceding five years, the penalties increase and may be a felony.  In nearly all domestic violence cases, you may be affected by a conviction for the rest of your life due to collateral consequences.

CAN THE VICTIM DROP THE CHARGES? 

Once the police are called and someone is arrested, it is unlikely for the charges to be dropped.  Because the case is brought by the State, not the victim, the charges will only be dropped if the facts of the case demand it.  In other words, the prosecutor must believe the case cannot be won beyond a reasonable doubt. 

DEFENDING YOURSELF AGAINST DOMESTIC BATTERY CHARGES 

As with all charges, in order to gain a conviction, the government must prove each element of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt.  The evidence usually comes in the form of witness testimony, police officer reports, and injury photos or videos.  You should quickly hire a criminal defense attorney to start building your defense.


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