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What is domestic violence and what are the penalties for it in Pennsylvania?

On Behalf of | Nov 15, 2020 | Violent Crimes

Domestic violence is illegal in Pennsylvania, just like it likely is in virtually any other jurisdiction in the United States. The state outlines its treatment of domestic violence in Pennsylvania Statutes, Title 23, Sections 6102 and 6113. 

What constitutes domestic violence?

Someone doesn’t have to be in a romantic relationship with another person to face domestic abuse charges here in Pennsylvania. They need only to be biological parents to a child, in a sexual relationship or otherwise share a household or familial bond with one another to face such criminal charges. 

Anyone who causes another to fear bodily harm or recklessly, intentionally or knowingly inflicts bodily harm upon someone else, may face domestic abuse charges in Pennsylvania. Criminal offenses such as sexual abuse of minors, stalking, rape or assault all fall under the umbrella of domestic abuse.

How Pennsylvania handles domestic violence allegations

State law requires any law enforcement officer who responds to a 911 call in which someone accuses a housemate of violence to arrest the alleged perpetrator of such acts. Pennsylvania law doesn’t allow victims to decide not to press charges in such cases. The prosecutor determines that instead. 

Penalties you may face if convicted of domestic violence

If there’s one thing that you should know about criminal penalties, it’s that there’s no one definitive sentence that any defendant can expect if a judge or jury finds them guilty of an offense. The same holds for domestic violence. 

A judge may sentence a defendant to complete counseling or an anger management class and have them pay fines. They may also brand them as a felon and order their incarceration. A judge will likely heavily weigh the alleged offenses’ severity before deciding what penalty is most appropriate in your unique case. 

What you should do if you’re facing charges

A conviction on your record can make finding or maintaining a job difficult to do. It can leave you needing supervision to see your child. It can make it hard for you to obtain individual professional licenses or work in specific fields. A violent crimes attorney can defend your rights when your future is in the balance. Don’t leave your livelihood to chance. Let a Carbondale lawyer advocate for you to the fullest extent that Pennsylvania law allows.