Georgetown Assault and Domestic Violence Lawyer
The definition of domestic violence in Kentucky is an assault against a family member or member of an unmarried couple by a family member or member of an unmarried couple. A family member is defined as a spouse, former spouse, grandparent, grandchild, parent, child, stepchild, or any other person living in the same household as a child if the child is the alleged victim. According to KRS Chapter 403, a member of an unmarried couple is defined as each member of an unmarried couple which allegedly has a child in common, any children of that couple, or a member of an unmarried couple who are living together or formerly lived together.
In Kentucky, crimes of domestic violence are not taken lightly. The criminal penalties and consequences can be harsh. Prosecutors can be extremely aggressive in prosecuting cases involving allegations of domestic violence. If one is convicted of a crime of domestic violence, he/she may lose important rights as a result of the conviction, including the right to own a firearm.
Accordingly, it is critically important that you hire an experienced assault and domestic violence lawyer as soon as possible to ensure that your rights are protected and that you are building the best defense possible in your case.
Common Crimes of Domestic Violence
Depending on the facts of each case, there are a multitude of crimes that can be charged as a result of domestic violence in Kentucky. Most, if not all, of these crimes can be found in KRS Chapter 508.
Assault in the Fourth Degree
By far, the most common is Assault in the Fourth Degree (KRS 508.030). Assault in the Fourth Degree has its own unique set of elements, and is generally charged as a Class A misdemeanor, meaning it can carry up to 12 months of potential jail time.
Assault in the Fourth Degree can be charged as a Class D felony (carrying 1 to 5 years in state prison) if an individual is charged for his/her third Assault in the Fourth Degree in a 5-year timeframe.
Strangulation in the First and Second Degrees
In 2019, Kentucky made the crime of strangulation an independent felony charge, meaning strangulation can be charged independent of an Assault in the Fourth Degree. This often leads to individuals who are accused of strangulation facing multiple charges for crimes of domestic violence in the same case.
In Kentucky, there are two levels of strangulation. Strangulation in the Second Degree (KRS 508.175) is a Class D Felony, carrying a potential penalty of 1 to 5 years in prison. Strangulation in the First Degree (KRS 508.170) is a Class C Felony, carrying a potential penalty of 5 to 10 years in prison.
Often, a defense to these charges requires an experienced attorney to look through all of the evidence, including the medical records of the alleged victim to see if there are any medical indications that strangulation occurred. These critical facts can make or break a case, and you will want an attorney with a trained eye to build such a defense.
Domestic Violence Orders/Interpersonal Protective Orders/Emergency Protective Orders (DVOs, IPOs, and EPOs)
Often, a victim of domestic violence will file a petition for a protective order to prevent their alleged abuser from having contact with them. There are three types of common protective orders in Kentucky:
- Domestic Violence Orders (“DVOs”)
- Interpersonal Protective Orders (“IPOs”)
- Emergency Protective Orders (“EPOs”)
These protective orders are civil, meaning they do not carry any criminal penalties if one is entered against you. However, a violation of any of the above-listed orders could result in criminal charges. Kentucky makes it a crime—a class A misdemeanor, carrying a potential penalty of up to 12 months in jail—to violate any of these orders, pursuant to KRS 403.763.
The Effect(s) Domestic Violence Has on Your Right to Bear Arms
Under Kentucky law, a domestic violence conviction or allegation does not impact the right of the accused to buy, sell, or possess a firearm or ammunition. However, federal law does prohibit individuals from buying, selling or possessing guns or ammunition when a person has a domestic violence protective order entered against him/her. Additionally, those who have been convicted of a misdemeanor domestic violence crime (for example, an Assault in the Fourth Degree) are subject to this law.
If you or someone you know has gotten involved in domestic violence, and is now accused of a crime, and/or has had filed against him/her a protective order petition, you need an experienced attorney. At Stotts Law, our attorneys have years of experience in these types of cases with our unique background in both criminal and family law.
Schedule a consultation with Stotts Law and learn more about what we can do to help.