Charges of roommate violence are treated seriously in Philadelphia. Prosecutors and the courts are concerned about possible repeat offenses against the same roommate. They are also concerned that a continued relationship of abuse might be established and could be stopped by the prosecution and court intervention. Since the parties live together, there is an enhanced need for safety. The prosecution may seek stay-away orders to keep the parties apart until the case is over. The accused needs to be careful about what they say or communicate to the alleged victim because statements after the fact could affect their case.
If you have been accused of committing a violent act against a roommate, seek help from an experienced domestic violence attorney as soon as possible. A Philadelphia roommate violence lawyer could help you fight the charges. They could conduct an independent investigation, collect evidence, and speak to witnesses to help build a defense. With the help of a skilled attorney, you may be able to avoid the severe consequences of a conviction.
Roommate violence usually falls under the categories of assault, aggravated assault, or harassment. Depending on the nature of the relationship between the parties, this may also be categorized as domestic violence and prosecuted in Room 906 or 405 of the Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia.
A person accused of roommate violence in Philadelphia can be charged with domestic violence if the members of the household had an intimate relationship or are related in some familial way besides just friends. Such a relationship would list the case for prosecution by the Family Violence Unit of the District Attorney’s Office.
Roommate violence is not considered domestic violence in circumstances in which the people are truly platonic individuals. This includes friends in a college dorm room or strangers who have agreed to live together. State law does not qualify this as a relationship that has enhanced risk and therefore would not consider this for domestic violence prosecution.
Additionally, both sides do not have to agree about there being an intimate relationship. If the alleged victim claims that there is an intimate relationship, that will often be enough to categorize the situation as domestic violence. A tenacious Philadelphia roommate violence lawyer could review the charges, and individuals understand the potential consequences.
The immediate criminal consequence of roommate violence, even before conviction, includes a stay-away order from the person or place where the violence allegedly occurred. This could mean possible eviction from where the person lives by virtue of that stay-away order. The alleged offender can be required to leave the residence until the case works its way to the court system or the stay-away order is removed by motion of the court.
Another consequence is the reputational stigma of being accused of violence towards a roommate. Time, money, fines, and even jail time can be consequences when charged with roommate violence, and the charge could be a misdemeanor or a felony.
In the long term, a conviction for roommate violence could have significant consequences. Some of these charges will not be expungable or sealable and will always follow them for decades after they occur. Additionally, certain charges will make people ineligible for certain professions, such as working around children or in schools. Other charges will make it very unlikely that people can continue their professional practices, whether the issue is keeping a professional license or achieving a later professional license if required by the state. Some charges of roommate violence will make it much harder for them to achieve these goals.
If convicted for these crimes, the penalties can seriously hinder a person’s ability to get a higher-paying job. The conviction will be in the public record, may affect family relations, and creates a stigma around the person that follows them for years. A diligent roommate violence attorney in Philadelphia could build a defense and help individuals fight the charges.
A conviction for roommate violence could follow someone for their entire life. Those who have been convicted may be unable to obtain certain jobs and housing. A seasoned Philadelphia roommate violence lawyer could help you build a defense to avoid the harsh consequences of a conviction.
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