What is the punishment for domestic violence?

In Victoria, all types of assault have a maximum penalty of imprisonment. Accordingly, if you are found guilty of a crime of violence, whether it be intentionally causing serious injury or unlawful assault, you may be sentenced to a term of imprisonment. It follows that if you are charged with an offence involving domestic violence you should take the matter seriously and empower yourself with knowledge about the court process and the range of penalties you are facing. In such a situation you should make it a priority to get legal advice from criminal lawyers in Melbourne. 

After attaining an understanding of your individual case, a criminal lawyer will provide you with advice and an understanding of whether or not you have a viable defence, the strength of that defence and the costs of running that defence. Most importantly, your criminal lawyer will help guide you through court and assist you in achieving the best outcome that is possible having regard to the circumstances of your case. 

Domestic violence

Domestic violence or family violence are two terms that are used interchangeably to describe a crime involving harmful behaviour which occurs in the domestic setting where the victim is a family member or an intimate partner of the accused.

The harmful behaviours constitutung domestic violence include: physical assaults; sexual abuse; molestation; psychological abuse; emotional abuse; economic abuse; coercion; controlling or dominating behaviour which causes a person to fear for their wellbeing or the wellbeing of another person; and/or damaging property owned by another person or even property jointly owned by you and another person.

Domestic violence is a criminal offence that covers a broad range of behaviours and can result in a number of different charges. If you have been accused of committing domestic violence, you need to get expert legal advice and representation as soon as possible.

The penalties for domestic violence

Domestic violence cases are treated very seriously by the courts and often involve harsh penalties, even for first-time offenders. 

The range of penalties a court may sentence you to include: penalties with or without a conviction, namely community correction orders, fines or undertakings to be of good behaviour requiring you to comply with certain conditions. Immediate imprisonment is also a penalty which may be imposed, but unlike other penalties which can be imposed without conviction, when you are sentenced to a term of imprisonment a conviction must be recorded against your name. 

The length of any term of imprisonment depends on many factors, including the maximum penalty of the offence of which you have been found guilty, your personal circumstances and whether or not you have a prior criminal history.

Whether you have committed an offence of domestic violence which may result in a conviction or one where you are at risk of imprisonment, it is critical to engage a lawyer to help you prepare your case. 

Your domestic violence lawyer will be able to provide you with a clear understanding of the range of penalties that you are at risk of receiving and what you can do to give yourself the best chance of receiving a penalty at the lower end of that range.  

Intervention orders

Intervention orders are court orders which prohibit and/or place restrictions on contact with another person or group of people. 

When an allegation of domestic violence is reported to police, they will not only investigate the matter, but where they deem it appropriate, they will also make an application for an intervention order against you. 

When the police decide to charge you with an offence they will also apply for an intervention order. In fact, even if they decide not to charge you, when called out to or upon receiving a report of domestic violence the police will, in many instances, still make an application for an intervention order against you. 

An intervention order may involve a number of conditions including prohibiting contact with an intimate partner and/or other family members including your children. Having an intervention order against you does not, in and of itself, result in you having a criminal record, however, breaching it is a criminal offence which carries with it a maximum penalty of imprisonment. 

Domestic violence lawyers

When an allegation of domestic violence is reported to police they will investigate it and will look to charge you with a criminal offence, so hiring a domestic violence lawyer, who is experienced with cases involving domestic violence and intervention orders, is crucial. 

Your lawyer will advise you whether you have an arguable defence, the strength of your defence and, where you instruct them to run the defence, they will prepare your case to give you the best chance of successfully defending it at court. Alternatively, if after receiving advice you instruct your lawyer that you want to plead guilty, your lawyer will advise you what you need to do to achieve the lowest penalty that is possible having regard to the circumstances of your case. 

For criminal lawyers in Melbourne experienced in domestic violence cases, Stary Norton Halphen can provide legal advice and support you through your case. 

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