Louisiana Domestic Violence
Not all states have criminal statutes that specifically relate to crimes of domestic violence, but in Louisiana, domestic abuse offenses are treated differently than assault and battery charges committed against people who are not family or household members of the accused. If you are accused of committing abuse or violence against an intimate partner or a member of your family or household, you could be charged with domestic abuse battery, a violent crime carrying severe penalties upon conviction. A successful outcome in your criminal case can make a significant difference in terms of your rights and freedom, so don’t wait to contact a reputable Louisiana domestic violence attorney to represent your defense.
Louisiana Domestic Violence Law
Domestic violence is a broad term that applies to acts of physical violence or other abuse that occurs in a domestic setting, such as a marriage, dating relationship or cohabitation. In the state of Louisiana, defendants accused of committing domestic violence against a family or household member are generally prosecuted under LA Rev Stat § 14:35.3 for domestic abuse battery.
Domestic Abuse Battery – LA Rev Stat § 14:35.3
The law covering the crime of domestic abuse battery in Louisiana is LA Rev Stat § 14:35.3A. Under this law, a person is guilty of domestic abuse battery if he or she intentionally commits an act of force or violence against a household member or family member. The law defines “household or family members” as follows:
- Former spouses
- Foster parents
- Foster children
- Any person who is currently living or who previously lived in the same residence as the offender and is involved or was involved in a sexual or intimate relationship with the offender
- Any child who is currently living or who previously lived in the same residence as the offender
- Any child of the offender, regardless of where the child lives
Other Domestic Violence-Related Crimes
Domestic abuse battery may be the main statute relating to domestic violence offenses in Louisiana, but there are other types of criminal offenses that can fall under the umbrella of domestic violence if committed by one household or family member against another. Pursuant to LA Rev Stat § 14:35.3J, any crime of violence as defined in LA Rev Stat § 14:2(B) is considered an act of domestic abuse for the purposes of any criminal proceeding, so long as the crime involves family or household members. LA Rev Stat § 14:2(B) defines “crimes of violence” as any “offense that has, as an element, the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against the person or property of another, and that, by its very nature, involves a substantial risk that physical force against the person or property of another may be used in the course of committing the offense or an offense that involves the possession or use of a dangerous weapon.” The following are some examples of violent crimes in Louisiana:
- First- or second-degree murder
- Aggravated assault
- Aggravated battery
- Sexual battery
- Aggravated arson
- Armed robbery
- Home invasion
- Vehicular homicide
Penalties for Domestic Abuse Battery
LA Rev Stat § 14:35.3C states that a person found guilty of domestic abuse battery in Louisiana shall be imprisoned for a minimum of 30 days and a maximum of six months and pay a fine of between $300 and $1,000. According to the law, at least 48 hours of the sentence imposed must be served without benefit of parole, probation or suspension of sentence. For a second offense, domestic abuse battery carries a harsher penalty, possibly including imprisonment with or without hard labor for a minimum of 60 days and a maximum of one year and a fine of between $750 and $1,000. According to the law, at least 14 days of the sentence imposed must be served without benefit of parole, probation or suspension of sentence. The offender is also required to complete a domestic abuse intervention program upon conviction (LA Rev Stat § 14:35.3D).
For a third offense, the crime of domestic abuse battery in Louisiana is punishable by a minimum of one year and a maximum of five years’ imprisonment with hard labor, plus a fine of $5,000. According to the law, the first three years of the sentence must be served without the benefit of probation, parole or suspension of sentence (LA Rev Stat § 14:35.3E). For a fourth or subsequent offense, domestic abuse battery is punishable by imprisonment with hard labor for a minimum of 10 years and a maximum of 30 years and a fine of $5,000. According to the law, the first three years of the sentenced imposed must be served without the benefit of probation, parole or suspension of sentence (LA Rev Stat § 14:35.3F(1)).
Enhanced Penalties for Domestic Abuse Battery
Generally speaking, domestic abuse battery crimes in Louisiana carry harsher penalties if there are certain aggravating factors present. For instance, if the abuse involves burning or strangulation, if the alleged victim suffers significant bodily injury, if a minor child 13 years of age or younger is present at the time the abuse occurred, or if the accused knew the alleged victim was pregnant at the time the abuse occurred, a conviction may result in a longer term of imprisonment.
Protect Yourself Against Louisiana Domestic Violence Charges
There are special laws relating to battery committed against family or household members compared to assault and battery crimes involving other types of people in Louisiana, and there are also stiffer criminal penalties for defendants convicted on charges of domestic abuse battery. If you have been charged with domestic abuse battery in Louisiana, or if you suspect that you may be charged at some point in the future, do not hesitate to retain the services of an experienced Louisiana criminal defense attorney who specializes in domestic violence cases. You could be sentenced to months or even years in jail or prison if you are found guilty of the crime and you will also carry the stigma of a domestic violence offender, which can have an adverse impact on virtually every aspect of your personal and professional life going forward. Your freedom and your future are at stake, so don’t want to call.