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DAVID CLARK
Criminal Defense Attorney

Philadelphia Spousal Abuse Penalties

An accusation of spousal abuse could have many unwanted consequences. A conviction for domestic violence could affect where someone lives, where they work, custody of their kids, and the ability to own firearms.  Fortunately, you do not need to fight the charges alone.

A seasoned spousal abuse lawyer could help you build a defense. Speak to an attorney to learn about the Philadelphia spousal abuse penalties and to discuss your legal options.

Penalties of a Conviction

Depending on the specific charges, those who have been charged with domestic violence face harsh consequences. Simple assault is a misdemeanor in the second degree, and a person can be subject to up to two years of imprisonment, probation, or some combination of both. If it is a misdemeanor of the first degree like terroristic threats, for example, that could result in up to five years of jail. The more serious charges such as strangulation and aggravated assault are felony offenses that carry ten-year jail sentences or more time depending on the specific type of violation.

Aggravating Factors for a Spousal Abuse Case

There are several aggravating factors that could affect a spousal abuse case, such as:

  • Whether a weapon was used
  • Whether a child was present
  • The age of the parties
  • Previous threats of violence or previous acts of violence
  • Any threats after the event trying to stop the witness from testifying
  • Deterring the person from going court or reporting the situation
  • Lack of remorse, any indication that they are willing to act again in a similar manner
  • Not trying to seek rehabilitation for their offenses

These aggravating factors can lead to harsher Philadelphia spousal abuse penalties such as significant jail time.

Mitigating Factors

There is always a chance that mitigating factors could be discovered. It is an attorney’s job to find the mitigating factors in your case and present them on the defendant’s behalf. For a spousal abuse case, this can be efforts for rehabilitation and treatment if drugs and alcohol were the cause. Therapy could be used, if mental health issues were the cause of the breakdown, or simply anger management if the inability to manage the anger is the cause.

Those types of treatments can be helpful, but even when those are not present, an attorney can find other witnesses from the community as to the good character of the defendant. This can help show that they are an otherwise law-abiding person and an otherwise honest and peaceful person. Mitigating factors can also include accomplishments at work, school, in the community, or in other areas where they excel and contribute.

How a Spousal Abuse Attorney Could Help

Spousal abuse lawyers can provide expertise about the potential Philadelphia spousal abuse penalties and the case law as it applies to domestic incidents. The advantage is knowin whether they expect the charges to move forward, or whether they can have a good chance of having them dismissed at a preliminary hearing or withdrawn.

Spousal abuse lawyers can challenge the motives and intentions of the spouse. For example, if they have some ulterior motive for bringing the case and claiming spousal abuse, such as jealousy, financial gain, or other motives that may cause them to falsely claim that they were abused. The advantage is that a person’s good name can be reclaimed by going to trial, winning their case, or having their case dismissed for lack of evidence. They can feel vindicated that they were proven to not be responsible for any abuse in court.

Finally, in a case involving some abuse, a diligent spousal abuse lawyer will be able to direct the person towards diversion programs or negotiate outcomes that are favorable for everyone, such as anger management and supervision. An attorney ultimately may even have the case resolved without a trial, without any incarceration, and can keep the charge expungable from the person’s record at the end of the case.

Call today to get started on your case.