Idaho Domestic Violence
Idaho domestic violence laws make it illegal to commit acts of physical abuse, sexual abuse, forced imprisonment or threats of abuse or violence against a family member or a member of your household. If you have been accused of committing the crime of assault or battery against your spouse, dating partner, a member of your family or someone you live with, you could be charged with a misdemeanor or felony crime, and if you are convicted, you face the possibility of incarceration, plus significant fines and a loss of certain rights, including your parental rights. The best way to protect yourself against allegations of domestic violence in Idaho is to retain the services of a skilled Idaho criminal defense attorney whose specialty is domestic violence. Domestic violence cases tend to be emotionally draining and legally complex and an experienced domestic violence defense lawyer can help ensure that you understand your legal rights and the charges against you.
Idaho Domestic Violence Law
Idaho Code § 39-6303 is the law that covers domestic violence offenses in the state of Idaho. According to this law, the term “domestic violence” refers to “the physical injury, sexual abuse or forced imprisonment or threat thereof of a family or household member, or of a minor child by a person with whom the minor child has had or is having a dating relationship, or of an adult by a person with whom the adult has had or is having a dating relationship.” Family or household members covered under this law include the following:
- Current or former spouses,
- Current or former dating partners,
- People related by blood, adoption or marriage,
- People who reside or have resided together, and
- People who have a child in common, whether or not they have been married or lived together at any time.
Domestic Assault and Battery
In Idaho, there are several different criminal offenses that may constitute domestic violence if committed against a family or household member, the most common offenses being assault and battery.
Idaho Code § 18-901 defines assault as: a) An unlawful attempt, coupled with apparent ability, to commit a violent injury on the person of another; or (b) An intentional, unlawful threat by word or act to do violence to the person of another, coupled with an apparent ability to do so, and doing some act which creates a well-founded fear in such other person that such violence is imminent.
Idaho Code § 18-903 defines battery as any: (a) Willful and unlawful use of force or violence upon the person of another; or (b) Actual, intentional and unlawful touching or striking of another person against the will of the other; or (c) Unlawfully and intentionally causing bodily harm to an individual.
Penalties for a Domestic Violence Conviction
A conviction for domestic violence in the state of Idaho carries severe criminal penalties. Depending on the nature of the underlying crime (i.e. assault or battery) and the severity of the alleged victim’s injuries, domestic violence may be punished as follows:
Domestic Battery Penalties
Idaho Code § 18-918(2)(a) – “Any household member who in committing a battery, as defined in section 18-903, Idaho Code, inflicts a traumatic injury upon any other household member is guilty of a felony.” A traumatic injury here refers to any injury, such as a wound or internal or external injury, whether minor or serious, that is caused by physical force. A conviction on charges of felony criminal battery is punishable by a state prison sentence of up to 10 years, a fine of up to $10,000, or both.
Domestic Assault Penalties
Idaho Code § 18-918(3)(a) – “A household member who commits an assault, as defined in section 18-901, Idaho Code, against another household member which does not result in traumatic injury is guilty of a misdemeanor domestic assault.”
Idaho Code § 18-918(3)(b) – “A household member who commits a battery, as defined in section 18-903, Idaho Code, against another household member which does not result in traumatic injury is guilty of a misdemeanor domestic battery.”
A first conviction for misdemeanor domestic assault or battery is punishable by a county jail sentence of up to six months, a fine of up to $1,000, or both. If a defendant is convicted on charges of misdemeanor domestic assault or battery and has a prior domestic violence conviction within the previous 10 years, the crime is a misdemeanor and the punishment may be increased to a county jail sentence of up to one year, a fine of up to $2,000, or both. If the defendant has two prior convictions within 15 years, the crime is a felony and the punishment may include a state prison sentence of up to five years, a fine of up to $5,000, or both. If a defendant is convicted of domestic assault or battery and has a prior conviction for felony domestic violence within the previous 15 years, the crime is a felony and the punishment may include a state prison sentence of up to 10 years, a fine of up to $10,000, or both. There are certain other factors that can result in a considerably harsher punishment for defendants convicted on charges of domestic violence in Idaho. For instance, according to Idaho Code § 18-918(4), the maximum penalties for a domestic violence conviction are doubled if the act of domestic assault or battery took place in the presence of a child under the age of 16.
Consult an Idaho Domestic Violence Defense Attorney
It is against the law in Idaho to commit the crime of assault or battery against anyone, but allegations of assault or battery are far more serious when they involve an intimate partner, a family or household member, or any other protected person. The unfortunate truth is that innocent people are falsely accused of domestic violence all the time, but with the help of an attorney, you may be able to prevent criminal charges from ever being filed. If you have been arrested for a domestic violence crime in Idaho, or if you have been accused of domestic violence in a petition for a protective order, you should consult a skilled Idaho defense lawyer right away to discuss your legal options, even if you are innocent of the crime. Idaho domestic violence laws can be complex and confusing, and a knowledgeable domestic violence defense attorney can help.