Twin Cities Area Domestic Abuse Lawyer
Domestic violence is an issue that affects families and couples throughout the country. In 2011, Minnesota District Courts handled more than 27,000 cases involving domestic violence offenses, most of which were for orders of protection, according to the Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women. The cases are taken seriously and often are harshly prosecuted.
Being accused of a domestic violence offense could have serious impact on a person’s future. Whether there was a misunderstanding or a simple mistake, domestic violence charges could be significant. If you are facing charges for domestic violence, contact a domestic abuse defense lawyer.
Apple Valley Domestic Violence Attorney
James Blumberg is an Apple Valley domestic abuse defense lawyer who uses his experience as a prosecutor to vigorously defend his clients. He knows what it takes to fight the prosecution, and he can help you present a solid defense against domestic violence charges. James can help you through all aspects of domestic abuse accusations, including protective orders.
Call (952) 431-7758 to schedule a consultation. James Blumberg Law represents clients throughout Dakota County, including Burnsville, Eagan, Hastings, Inver Grove Heights, Mendota Heights and Rosemount, as well as anywhere in the Twin Cities region, including Hennepin County, Ramsey County and Anoka County.
Information About Domestic Abuse Charges
- What is Considered Domestic Abuse?
- Types of Domestic Violence Offenses in Minnesota
- Penalties for Domestic Violence Charges
- Restrictive Orders After Domestic Violence Incidences
- Additional Resources for Domestic Violence Charges
What is Considered Domestic Abuse?
Causing physical harm or bodily injury or committing assault against a family or household member is considered domestic abuse in Minnesota. Inflicting fear of imminent physical harm or assault also would be labeled as domestic violence.
In these instances, the relationship between the victim and the accused is important in determining if the offense would classify as domestic. According to Minnesota Statute 518B.01, a family or household member is defined as:
- Spouses and former spouses;
- Parents and children;
- People related by blood;
- People who currently are living together or have in the past;
- People who have a child in common regardless of whether they have been married or have lived together in the past;
- A man and woman if the woman is pregnant and the man is alleged to be the father, regardless if they have been married or have lived together in the past; and
- People involved in a significant romantic or sexual relationship.
A couple who has not been married, does not have children and does not live together still could be charged with a domestic violence offense based on the definition. Simply being involved in a sexual relationship is enough to constitute a domestic label. This could be considered “dating violence.”
Types of Domestic Violence Offenses in Minnesota
Domestic violence is a broad term that can mean a variety of offenses. Minnesota Statute 609.02 outlines various charges that are considered “qualified domestic violence-related offenses.” All of these charges can have life-altering consequences if a person is convicted.
Some of the charges outlined as domestic violence offenses include:
- Domestic assault by strangulation;
- Domestic assault;
- Malicious punishment of a child;
- Criminal sexual conduct;
- Female genital mutilation;
- Terroristic threats;
- Interference with an emergency call;
- Violation of domestic abuse no contact order;
- Violation of harassment restraining order; and
- Violation of an order for protection.
Assault charges could be in the first, second, third, fourth or fifth degree, depending on the particular facts in the case. Additionally, murder could be in the first or second degree, and charges for criminal sexual conduct could be in the first, second or third degree.
Penalties for Domestic Violence Charges
The penalties for domestic violence crimes vary based on the offense. Most often the offenses could include prison sentences, expensive fines and various other penalties. Some penalties could include:
- Petty misdemeanor – Up to $300 in fines;
- Misdemeanor – Up to 90 days in jail, up to $1,000 in fines or both; or
- Gross misdemeanor – Up to one year in prison, up to $3,000 in fines or both.
When a person is convicted of a felony domestic violence offense, he or she could face a minimum of one year in prison. However, depending on the severity of the charge, he or she could face much more time behind bars. Additionally, this could mean thousands of dollars in fines.
A domestic violence conviction also could mean being restricted on the ability to possess a firearm. This restriction could be applied for the rest of a person’s life, especially if a firearm was used to commit the domestic violence offense. If a person who has the restriction is found to be in possession of a firearm, he or she could face additional charges.
Additionally, the court can issue a no contact order against the defendant if he or she is charged with domestic abuse, harassment, stalking, violation of an order for protection or violation of a previous no-contact order.
Restrictive Orders After Domestic Violence Incidences
After allegations of domestic violence, measures may be taken to separate the alleged accuser and the victim. In some instances, the victim will file for an ex parte order. This can be granted when the court finds there is imminent and present danger of domestic abuse.
This temporary order can be granted before holding a hearing. The order could include:
- Restricting the abuser from committing domestic violence;
- Excluding the offender from a shared dwelling and a reasonable area around it;
- Excluding the offender from the victim’s place of work;
- Ordering the offender to avoid contact with the victim, including in person, mail, telephone, email, electronic devices and a third party;
- Continuing all currently available insurance coverage without change in coverage or beneficiary designation;
- Directing the care, possession or control of a pet owned, possessed or kept by a party or a child of a party; and/or
- Directing the respondent to refrain from physically abusing, injuring or threatening a pet owned, possessed or kept by a party or a child of a party.
If the petitioner is seeking a longer order and there is no imminent danger, he or she must file a petition for an order of protection. This is a court order that requires the respondent, or the accused, to stay away from the petitioner.
Family and household members can file petitions for protective orders in civil court. If the protective order is for a child, the child’s guardian can file a petition, according to Minnesota Statute 518B.01. Another person older than 25 years old also may file if it is in the child’s interest.
Once the petition is filed, the court must have a hearing within 14 days from the date of the order. Both the petitioner and the respondent can be present at the hearing. The order would function similar to an ex parte order and provide some of the same restrictions. Other restrictions and relief in the order could include:
- Awarding temporary custody or establishing temporary parenting time with regard to minor children of the parties on a basis which gives primary consideration to the safety of the victim and the children;
- Awarding temporary spousal support or child support;
- If requested by the petitioner, providing counseling for the petitioner and respondent if they are married or have children;
- Requiring counseling or treatment for respondent;
- Requiring respondent to pay restitution (repayment for costs incurred); and/or
- Mandating any other relief necessary for protection of petitioner.
According to Minnesota Statute 518B.01, an order for protection could last for up to two years. The court could require the order last longer if it seen as necessary. During this time, if the person violates the order, he or she could face criminal charges.
A no contact order is an order issued by a judge against a defendant in a criminal proceeding. This could be done in instances of domestic violence, harassment, stalking or violating a previous order, according to Minnesota Statute 629.75. Violating the order could mean misdemeanor charges and a minimum of 10 days in jail.
Additional Resources for Domestic Violence Charges
Minnesota Domestic Abuse Act — The Minnesota Domestic Abuse Act outlines the laws and regulations regarding domestic violence in the state. It defines domestic abuse and lists the penalties corresponding to each possible charge.
Dakota County District Court — Residents in Dakota County must contact the Dakota County District Court to file a petition for an order of protection. If an OFP is granted, the court will fax it to the Civil Division of the Dakota County Sheriff’s Office for service. For more information, call (651) 438-8100.
Order for Protection Forms — These state-approved court forms include instructions on how to apply for an order of protection, the petitioner’s affidavit and petition for order of protection.
Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women — This is a membership organization throughout Minnesota that advocates for women’s safety and security. The goal of the program is to provide a voice for battered women and member programs while challenging the system and encouraging them to respond to the violence.
James Blumberg Law A Domestic Abuse Defense Lawyer in Dakota County
If you have been charged with a domestic abuse offense, it is important you begin building a defense to the charges early. Your future and reputation are important, and Apple Valley domestic violence defense attorney James Blumberg can help you protect both. Call (952) 431-7758 to schedule a free consultation today in Dakota County and other surrounding counties including Rice County, Carver County, Olmsted County, Scott County, Dodge County, Sibley County, and Steele County.