Household disputes can get heated in any home, and although disputes are common or even inevitable, they must not lead to violence, abuse or assault. Many people believe they can only be charged with a domestic assault if they physically harm a member of their household, which is incorrect. A person can be also be charged with domestic assault if they put a household member in reasonable fear of bodily harm, even if they never actually touch the other person.
If you have been accused of domestic violence, you are likely to be devastated and fearful of what the consequences could be. While domestic assault charges are typically misdemeanor offenses, the collateral consequences of a conviction are equal to and in some instances, more serious than a felony conviction. If you are not a citizen of the United States, a domestic assault conviction will result in your deportation. And even if you are a citizen, a conviction for domestic assault will result in a lifetime ban on the possession of firearms or ammunition. It is important to stay calm and make sure that you are committed to taking rational steps in order to defend yourself and your actions.
How is domestic violence defined?
Domestic violence is any act that is committed by a family or household member that was centered around violence. This act of violence could be between housemates, between a parent and child, or between a romantic couple who are not, in fact, living together.
What are the consequences of a domestic violence accusation?
Usually a report of domestic violence is immediately responded to with a Domestic Abuse No Contact Order (DANCO) being put in place. If you have a DANCO put in place against you, it does not mean that you have been found guilty of any crime. It is merely an act of erring on the side of caution and protecting the person who made the accusation before trial can be held.
How can I defend myself against a domestic violence claim?
Many domestic violence accusations can be made in the heat of an argument and do not actually constitute domestic violence at all. In order to be convicted of domestic violence, it needs to be proven beyond reasonable doubt that you engaged in a certain act with the intent of causing harm to a household member. You are also permitted to use reasonable force to defend yourself or another person.
If an argument took place after alcohol was consumed by the other party, you may be able to argue that he or she was not acting with rationality and made the accusation on false grounds or as a result of an intoxicated misinterpretation of the incident.
If you have been accused of domestic violence in Minnesota, it is important that you take this very seriously and take action to defend yourself.