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A domestic assault conviction may threaten a person's freedom

An accusation of domestic abuse is not one to be taken lightly. A conviction for such an offense can have a tremendous impact on a person's life. A person accused of domestic assault should take great care in preparing his or her criminal defense to defend against the charge.

Under Louisiana law, a prosecutor charging a person with domestic abuse battery is alleging the intentional use of force or violence by a member of a household against another member of that household. The law deems an adult household member to be a person of the opposite sex who either shares a residence with the accused, or who lived with the accused as a spouse within the past five years. A child of the accused, regardless of residence, as well as any child presently living with, or who has lived with the accused in the last five years, will also qualify as a household member.

A criminal conviction for domestic abuse battery will carry a minimum fine of $300 and a maximum fine of $1,000 for a first offense. Additionally, a required minimum jail sentence of 30 days, with a maximum potential sentence of six months, will result. If the alleged abuse involved strangulation or burning, a conviction under Louisiana law may require a multi-year prison sentence regardless of whether it is a first offense or not.

The potential penalties increase in severity for each subsequent conviction. A person convicted of a fourth or subsequent domestic abuse battery offense will face a minimum ten-year prison sentence, with the possibility of a thirty-year maximum sentence, plus a five thousand dollar fine.

The long-term consequences to a person's reputation and freedom following a conviction for domestic abuse are serious. An aggressive defense may be able to produce beneficial results for a person facing such a charge.

Source: Louisiana Revised Statutes, Section 14:35.3, accessed June 5, 2015

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