Kansas Domestic Violence
Most people think of domestic violence as physical abuse or acts of violence perpetrated by one spouse against another, but that is not always the case. In Kansas, any crime committed by one member of a family or household against another can constitute domestic violence, including current or former spouses, parents and their children, people who live together and people who have a child in common, and crimes that can fall under the category of domestic violence include everything from stalking, violation of a restraining order and disorderly conduct to assault and battery. The court takes domestic violence offenses very seriously and you could face considerable penalties upon conviction for such a crime, possibly including jail time, substantial fines and mandatory participation in a batterer’s intervention program. If you have been charged with a domestic violence offense in Kansas, you need assistance from a qualified Kansas domestic violence defense attorney. When it comes to domestic violence cases, time is of the essence, so don’t wait to call.
Kansas Domestic Violence Law
Kansas law defines domestic violence as “an act or threatened act of violence against a person with whom the offender is involved or has been involved in a dating relationship, or an act or threatened act of violence against a family or household member by a family or household member” (Kan. Stat. Ann. § 21-5111). Under this law, the following people qualify as family or household members: individuals 18 years of age or older who are spouses, former spouses, people who have a child in common, parents or stepparents and children or stepchildren, and people who are currently residing together or have resided together in the past. The law also considers a man and woman to be family or household members if the woman is pregnant and the man is alleged to be the father, regardless of whether they have been married or have lived together at any time.
Domestic Battery – Kan. Stat. Ann. § 21-5414
In the state of Kansas, a domestic violence offense includes any crime where the underlying facts of the crime make it an act of domestic violence. For instance, a person who commits the crime of assault may be charged with a domestic violence offense if the alleged victim of the assault is an intimate partner or family or household member. Depending on the specific facts of the case, other domestic violence-related crimes may include stalking, disorderly conduct, violation of a restraining order, criminal damage to property or intimidating a witness. In addition to this fairly broad definition of domestic violence offenses, Kansas law also contains a criminal statute that deals specifically with violent acts committed against intimate partners or family or household members, known as domestic battery.
Under Kan. Stat. Ann. § 21-5414(a), domestic battery is defined as:
(1) Knowingly or recklessly causing bodily harm to a person with whom the offender is involved or has been involved in a dating relationship or a family or household member; or
(2) knowingly causing physical contact with a person with whom the offender is involved or has been involved in a dating relationship or a family or household member, when done in a rude, insulting or angry manner.
Kan. Stat. Ann. § 21-5414(b) defines the more serious crime of aggravated domestic battery as:
(1) Knowingly impeding the normal breathing or circulation of the blood by applying pressure on the throat, neck or chest of a person with whom the offender is involved or has been involved in a dating relationship or a family or household member, when done in a rude, insulting or angry manner; or
(2) knowingly impeding the normal breathing or circulation of the blood by blocking the nose or mouth of a person with whom the offender is involved or has been involved in a dating relationship or a family or household member, when done in a rude, insulting or angry manner.
Penalties for Domestic Battery
In most cases, domestic battery in Kansas is charged as a class B person misdemeanor, carrying a sentence of not less than 48 consecutive hours nor more than six months’ imprisonment and a maximum fine of $500. However, if the defendant has a prior conviction for domestic battery within the previous five years, the new offense may be charged as a class A person misdemeanor, carrying a sentence of no less than 90 days nor more than one year’s imprisonment and a maximum fine of $1,000.
If the defendant is convicted of a third or subsequent domestic battery offense within five years, the new offense may be charged as a felony, carrying a sentence of no less than 90 days nor more than one year’s imprisonment and a maximum fine of $7,500. Defendants convicted of felony domestic battery in Kansas are not eligible for release on probation, suspension or reduction of sentence or parole until at least 90 days imprisonment has been served. Defendants may also be required to undergo a domestic violence offender assessment conducted by a certified battery intervention program and follow all recommendations made by the program. In Kansas, the crime of aggravated domestic battery is a severity level 7, person felony, carrying a sentence of between 22 and 26 months of imprisonment.
Domestic Violence Restraining Orders
Any time the police are called to a domestic violence situation in Kansas, there is most likely going to be an arrest. If you have been accused of abusing someone in your family or household, the alleged victim can file a petition with the court to issue a domestic violence protective order, also known as a restraining order or a Protection from Abuse Order, against you. Domestic violence protective orders can do many things, possibly including forcing you to leave your home, preventing you from contacting the alleged victim, granting the alleged victim temporary custody of your children and awarding the alleged victim possession of certain personal property. If you violate the terms of a domestic violence restraining order, you could be charged with a Class A misdemeanor offense, which carries a possible penalty of up to one year in jail.
Contact a Kansas Domestic Violence Defense Attorney for Legal Help
Domestic violence can consist of physical abuse, sexual abuse or emotional abuse and may include slapping, punching, kicking, sexual assault, harassment, threats of harm, insults, or any other violent or abusive behavior intended to cause physical or emotional harm. This type of behavior is against the law and victims deserve protection under the law. Sadly though, there are many cases of domestic violence where alleged victims make false claims of abuse in order to get back at the other person or gain more custody rights. If you have been arrested for domestic violence in Kansas, you need to protect yourself and your rights. Consult a knowledgeable domestic violence defense lawyer as soon as possible to discuss how best to proceed.