Domestic abuse in Louisiana can yield either misdemeanor or felony charges being brought against the attacker. Both charges come with serious consequences and penalties, including jail time, fines, mandatory loss of possession or ownership of firearms for 10-years, and mandatory domestic intervention program attendance. If repeat domestic violence is committed, the charges have longer jail sentences and more expensive fines. If you have been charged with domestic abuse, especially after hitting a pregnant woman, you should immediately seek the services of a lawyer to help with the criminal charges that may be imposed upon you.
Louisiana Law: Definitions of Domestic Abuse Battery and Household Member.
Domestic abuse battery is the intentional use of force or violence committed by one household member upon another household member without the consent of the victim. A household member is a person of the opposite sex presently living in the same residence or living in the same residence within five years of the occurrence of the domestic abuse battery with the defendant as a spouse, whether married or not, or any minor child presently living in the same residence or living in the same residence within five years immediately prior to the occurrence of domestic abuse battery, or any biological minor child of the offender regardless of where the child resides.
Misdemeanor or Felony?
Domestic abuse charges can fall under misdemeanor charges or felony charges. Misdemeanor charges are usually those of a first-time offender. Domestic abuse becomes a felony when it is: 1) the perpetrator’s third (or greater) domestic abuse battery; 2) the perpetrator’s second domestic abuse battery, the victim is pregnant, and the offender knows of the pregnancy, or 3) a domestic abuse battery that involves strangulation.
The penalties for felony battery are specific to each case and range from one year in prison with or without hard labor for a second offense of domestic abuse battery when the victim is pregnant; to a fine up to $5,000 or up to ten years in prison with or without hard labor, or both, for aggravated battery. In some cases, such as domestic abuse or felony battery offense involving a “special” victim, the court may be required to impose the minimum jail sentence without suspended jail time, meaning the offender will have to serve time in jail without the opportunity for probation.
Knowing that the victim is pregnant increases the minimum prison time if you are convicted:
First offenses of domestic abuse battery fines run from $300 – $1,000 with a minimum 30-day prison sentence and the possibility of up to six months jail time.
Second offenses of domestic abuse battery fines run from $750 – $1,000 with a minimum 6- month prison sentence and the possibility of up to one year in jail.
Third offenses of domestic abuse battery fines are $2,000 with a minimum 2-year prison sentence and the possibility of 5 years in prison.
Fourth offenses of domestic abuse battery fines are $5,000 with minimum 4-year prison sentence and the possibility of 30 years in prison.
If you had a conviction that was older than ten years at the time of the presently charged crime, that will not be counted, and this offense will be considered punishable with the “First Offense” criteria.
If you are convicted of felony domestic assault, you may be required to pay the victim for any expenses resulting from your crime, such as medical treatment or counseling.
Seeking Legal Counsel.
If you are convicted of a felony, it will become part of your permanent criminal record, and if you are in the future convicted of another crime, this will be taken into consideration and may yield a tougher sentence. Felony convictions may also result in loss of right to vote, hold public office, serve jury duty, own or carry guns, and if you have professional licenses, you may lose them. Hiring an attorney to work your case and investigate the activities surrounding the charges against you will benefit you if the charges can be reduced or dismissed.