Domestic Abuse Battery in Louisiana: Everything you Need to Know

 

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Definition of Domestic Abuse Battery

 

What is Louisiana domestic abuse battery under La R.S. 14:35.3?

Domestic abuse battery is the intentional use of force or violence committed by one household member or family member upon the person of another household member or family member.

 

What is a "Household member"?

It means any person presently or formerly living in the same residence with the offender and who is involved or has been involved in a sexual or intimate relationship with the offender, or any child presently or formerly living in the same residence with the offender, or any child of the offender regardless of where the child resides. Therefore, both the defendant and the victim must live in the same house.

 

What is a "Family member"?

Family member means spouses, former spouses, parents, children, stepparents, stepchildren, foster parents, and foster children.

 

Defenses to Domestic Abuse Battery

No Intent to Inflict Force

The force must be proven to be intentional. Therefore, a defense is that the defendant did not mean to inflict force or violence on the alleged victim.

Self-Defense

Another common defense is that the force or violence used by the defendant was in self-defense. This happens a lot when the victim initiates the struggle and the defendant protects himself or herself by pushing or punching the alleged victim. Unfortunately, when the police arrive they will make an arrest anyway. Therefore, hiring a domestic abuse battery lawyer is key to fighting this charge and making your defense heard.

Not a Family Member

Another defense is that the victim was not a family member or a household member. If they battery can still be proven, it becomes a simple battery instead.

 

Domestic Abuse Battery Conviction and Gun Possession

Can You Possess a Gun if Convicted?

Anybody convicted of domestic abuse battery in Louisiana cannot legally possess a firearm or carry a concealed weapon for 10 years after their sentence is complete (after probation, parole, or sentence is over).   If the person is found in possession of a firearm within the 10 years, the minimum prison sentence is 1 year and the maximum is 20 years. The fine is $1000 – $5,000. After the 10 years, as long as they are not convicted of domestic abuse battery again or any felony offense, they will be able to possess own a gun.    

Other charges that prevent possessing a firearm under La. RS 14: 95.10

  • A second or subsequent offense of battery of a dating partner (R.S. 14:34.9).
  • Battery of a dating partner when the offense involves strangulation (R.S. 14:34.9(K)).
  • Battery of a dating partner when the offense involves burning (R.S. 14:34.9(L)).

 

Penalties for Louisiana Domestic Abuse Battery 

First Offense

Imprisonment 30 days – six months and/or a fine $300-1000. At least forty-eight hours of the sentence imposed shall be served without benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence. Imposition or execution of the remainder of the sentence shall not be suspended unless either of the following occurs: 

  • The offender is placed on probation with a minimum condition that he serve four days in jail and complete a court-monitored domestic abuse intervention program, and the offender shall not own or possess a firearm throughout the entirety of the sentence.
  • The offender is placed on probation with a minimum condition that he perform eight, eight-hour days of court-approved community service activities and complete a court-monitored domestic abuse intervention program, and the offender shall not own or possess a firearm throughout the entirety of the sentence.   

 

Second Offense

On a conviction of a second offense, notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, regardless of whether the second offense occurred before or after the first conviction, the offender shall be fined not less than seven hundred fifty dollars nor more than one thousand dollars and shall be imprisoned with or without hard labor for not less than sixty days nor more than one year. At least fourteen days of the sentence imposed shall be served without benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence, and the offender shall be required to complete a court-monitored domestic abuse intervention program. Imposition or execution of the remainder of the sentence shall not be suspended unless either of the following occurs:    

  • The offender is placed on probation with a minimum condition that he serve thirty days in jail and complete a court-monitored domestic abuse intervention program, and the offender shall not own or possess a firearm throughout the entirety of the sentence.
  • The offender is placed on probation with a minimum condition that he perform thirty eight-hour days of court-approved community service activities and complete a court-monitored domestic abuse intervention program, and the offender shall not own or possess a firearm throughout the entirety of the sentence.

 

Third Offense

Imprisonment with or without hard labor for not less than one year nor more than five years and shall be fined two thousand dollars. The first year of the sentence of imprisonment shall be imposed without benefit of probation, parole, or suspension of sentence.

 

Fourth Offense

The defendant shall be imprisoned with hard labor for not less than ten years nor more than thirty years and shall be fined five thousand dollars. The first three years of the sentence of imprisonment shall be imposed without benefit of probation, parole, or suspension of sentence.

 

Enhancing Domestic Abuse Battery

Prior Convictions

Convictions in Other States Count

If you were previously convicted of domestic abuse battery in another state, the prosecutor can use that one as a predicate to enhance the current charge, making the sentences stiffer.

 

Ten-Year Cleansing Period

If 10 years has passed since the completion of the sentence for the prior conviction and the commission of crime for the current charge, that conviction cannot be used to enhance the new charge.

 

Domestic Abuse Child Endangerment Law

If a child age 13 or younger is present during the domestic abuse battery, the battery becomes a felony punishable at hard labor for not more than three years. Therefore, the misdemeanor domestic abuse battery becomes a felony if done in front of a young child.

 

Pregnant Enhancement for Domestic Abuse Battery

If the victim of domestic abuse battery is pregnant and the offender knows that the victim is pregnant at the time of the commission of the offense, the offender, in addition to any other penalties imposed pursuant to this Section, shall be imprisoned at hard labor for not more than three years. The misdemeanor charge becomes a felony. The defense is that the defendant did not know she was pregnant. The State must prove he knew it.

 

Strangulation Turns it into a Felony

If strangulation of the victim is alleged, the misdemeanor charge becomes a felony punishable by up to three years in prison.    

"Strangulation" means intentionally impeding the normal breathing or circulation of the blood by applying pressure on the throat or neck or by blocking the nose or mouth of the victim.

 

Burning Turns it into a Felony

 If the domestic abuse battery is committed by burning, the offender, in addition to any other penalties imposed pursuant to this Section, shall be imprisoned at hard labor for not more than three years. For instance, if the defendant puts a burning cigarette on the victim, the judge could sentence the defendant up to 3 years in prison.    

  • "Burning" means an injury to flesh or skin caused by heat, electricity, friction, radiation, or any other chemical or thermal reaction.
  • If the burning results in serious bodily injury, the offense shall be classified as a crime of violence, and the offender, in addition to any other penalties imposed pursuant to this Section, shall be imprisoned at hard labor for not less than five nor more than fifty years without benefit of probation, parole, or suspension of sentence.   

 

Serious Bodily Injury

If the defendant is proven to have intentionally inflicted serious bodily injury, the offender could be imprisoned at hard labor for not more than eight years.

 

domestic abuse battery louisiana

Serious Charges Need Serious Help

Domestic Abuse Battery charges are taken extremely seriously in Louisiana. Prosecutors and police officers rather over-prosecute these charges than take a risk of cutting them and face scrutiny later on if the defendant ends up committing more crimes. Therefore, prosecutors usually take strong stances and don’t like to dismiss these cases. We are used to working these cases and defending clients to get the best result. We have gotten many domestic abuse battery cases reduced or dismissed. Contact us at 225-964-6720 if you need a domestic abuse battery lawyer in Louisiana.

Domestic abuse battery in Louisiana is taken very seriously by law enforcement and prosecutors.  It is a charge that is a misdemeanor upon first conviction but is a felony on the second conviction.  Domestic Abuse Battery first offense carries up to six months in jail as well as many other requirements.

There are many aspects involved when defending a domestic violence case. We have represented clients charged with Louisiana domestic abuse battery for many years. We know how to handle these cases with care and understanding.  If you need a domestic abuse battery lawyer in Louisiana, contact us at 225-964-6720.

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