Felony domestic violence is a type of criminal charge. When a person is charged with domestic violence, it means he or she is accused of behaving violently toward family members or people who live with him or her. The violence may involve not only physical harm, but also the threat of physical harm. The laws regarding domestic violence may vary from place to place, but many jurisdictions consider felony domestic violence the most serious type of domestic violence offense. When a person is convicted of it, he or she typically faces more serious penalties than with other types of domestic violence.
In many jurisdictions, domestic violence can be classified as either a misdemeanor or a felony. Misdemeanor charges are typically given for less serious crimes and often mean the defendant is subject to lighter penalties. For example, a person who is convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence may spend only a short period of time in jail or may be given fines or counseling instead of jail time. A person convicted of a felony charge, on the other hand, may face a longer prison sentence and harsher penalties overall.
In some places, the law determines whether or not domestic violence is a felony or a misdemeanor based on whether or not the victim is injured and the extent of those injuries. If a victim doesn’t sustain injuries or sustains only minor ones, some jurisdictions may charge the defendant with misdemeanor domestic violence. If, however, the victim is seriously injured, this may result in a felony domestic violence charge. Some jurisdictions also apply felony charges when the injured victim is a minor or pregnant. Likewise, a person may face this charge if he uses a weapon in the domestic violence incident or disfigures the victim.
Sometimes a jurisdiction will apply a felony domestic violence charge based on the legal restrictions the accused party was under when he committed the crime. For example, if there was a restraining order in effect at the time and his actions represented a violation of the order, he may be charged with a felony. Additionally, a person may face felony charges if he has a significant history of domestic violence convictions.
While prison sentences are often given for felony domestic violence convictions, they are not the only penalty the person may face. In some cases, someone convicted of this crime will have to pay fines or face the loss of certain rights. He may, for example, lose the right to carry a weapon.