Domestic violence laws in Alaska prohibit physical, emotional, sexual, economic or psychological actions or threats of actions intended to injure, frighten, manipulate, intimidate, coerce or humiliate another person in a dating, marital or live-in relationship. Domestic violence is a crime that is taken extremely seriously by both the criminal and family courts in the state of Alaska, which has some of the highest rates of intimate partner violence, sexual assault and murder in the country. If you are facing domestic violence charges in Alaska, your rights are of vital importance, and the one person you can rely on to protect those rights is your defense attorney. The moment you find yourself facing accusations of domestic violence, your first course of action should be to retain the services of the best domestic violence defense attorney you can find.
Alaska Domestic Violence Laws
Domestic violence is a broad term used to describe a pattern of behavior that one person uses to gain or maintain power and control over an intimate partner, close family relative or household member. Most people think of domestic violence as physical violence between spouses, but it can also involve sexual, emotional or economic abuse, threats and isolation, and the crime is not limited to married couples. Domestic violence charges can also be brought against a person accused of committing acts of abuse against a former spouse, a current or former dating partner, a person with whom the person has had sex, a person who lives or used to live in the same household, or any close family relative, such as a parent, child, aunt, uncle or cousin.
Consequences of a Domestic Violence Charge
The state of Alaska has a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to domestic violence. What that means is, if the police show up at your door on a domestic violence call and your spouse accuses you of domestic violence, you will most likely be arrested, even if the accusations are unfounded. We have even seen cases where alleged victims of domestic violence decide to drop the charges after taking some time to calm down and rethink their accusations. Unfortunately, it is nearly impossible to reverse charges of domestic violence in Alaska once the matter is in the hands of the police and the prosecutor’s office. Alaska’s domestic violence law (Alaska Statute 18.66.990) defines the crime of domestic violence broadly, making it a crime for a household member to commit or attempt to commit any of the following crimes against another household member:
- Any crime “against a person” under AS 11.41, i.e. assault, homicide, stalking, reckless endangerment, sexual violence or abuse
- Burglary under AS 11.46.300 – 11.46.310
- Arson under AS 11.46.400 – 11.46.430
- Criminal trespass under AS 11.46.320 – 11.46.330
- Criminal mischief (vandalism) under AS 11.46.475 – 11.46.486
- Harassment under AS 11.61.120 (a)(2) – (4)
- Terrorist threatening under AS 11.56.807 or 11.56.810
- Violating a domestic violence protective order under AS 11.56.740 (a)(1)
The penalties for a domestic violence conviction in Alaska vary greatly depending on the underlying crime the defendant is accused of committing. For instance, assault in the first degree is a Class A felony in Alaska, punishable by a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years, plus up to $250,000 in fines, probation, victim restitution and community service. Not only can a domestic violence conviction in Alaska result in jail time, hefty fines and a criminal record, it can also have an adverse impact on your personal rights and freedoms, including your right to own a firearm or have custody of your children.
Domestic Violence Protective Orders
A domestic violence protective order is a court order from a judge initiated by an alleged victim of domestic violence against the person accused of committing the abuse. If you have been accused of domestic violence in Alaska, and the alleged victim petitions the court for a protective order, you could be ordered to pay medical bills and lawyer fees related to the alleged domestic violence, complete a batterer’s intervention program and/or drug or alcohol counseling, and surrender any firearms in your possession. You could even be ordered to leave your home, regardless of who owns the residence. The protective order may also grant your accuser temporary custody of your children and prohibit you from contacting your accuser or consuming alcohol, among other constraints. As restrictive as the terms of the domestic violence protective order issued against you may be, it is imperative that you comply with the order or risk facing additional criminal charges.
Alaska Domestic Violence Defense
Regardless of the specific circumstances surrounding your charges, being accused of domestic violence can be a frightening experience, one you won’t want to go through alone. Given the severity of the penalties stemming from a domestic violence conviction and just how broadly Alaska’s definition of the crime of domestic violence is, any person accused of or arrested for domestic violence in Alaska is in dire need of skilled legal representation by an experienced criminal defense attorney. When it comes to defending yourself against criminal charges for domestic violence in Alaska, retaining the services of a qualified Alaska domestic violence lawyer who is prepared to fight for your freedom is the key to success. The right criminal defense attorney will have extensive experience defending clients against domestic violence charges and will work tirelessly to craft a compelling defense that challenges the prosecution’s evidence against you.
Consult an Alaska Domestic Violence Defense Attorney
Domestic violence is a crime that carries a lasting stigma and being convicted of such a crime can ruin your reputation, cost you your job and severely restrict your rights as a parent, not to mention expose you to a significant prison sentence and other criminal penalties. This is especially devastating given that many domestic violence cases arise out of heated disagreements or simple misunderstandings where an alleged victim makes unfounded accusations of domestic violence against his or her intimate partner, relative or household member. False claims of abuse are not uncommon in Alaska and may even be used by one spouse against another as a means of getting revenge or gaining leverage in divorce or child custody proceedings. If you have been arrested for domestic violence in Alaska, the most important thing you can do to protect your rights and improve your chances of avoiding criminal charges is to hire a knowledgeable and aggressive Alaska criminal defense attorney to represent you.