Domestic violence is widespread. It is not isolated to any particular group of people. It crosses all lines of economic situations. Any gender can be guilty of domestic abuse. Oftentimes, domestic violence is a hard crime to prove. The state of Pennsylvania takes domestic violence seriously.
In Pennsylvania there are specific crimes that fall under the domestic violence and domestic abuse umbrella. These are all included in the list of possible activities that may find one facing a domestic violence charge.
* criminal mischief
* sexual assault
* breaking an order of protection
* false imprisonment
* criminal trespass
* terroristic threats
* criminal restraint
One of the unique things about the domestic violence laws in Pennsylvania, is that the victim does not always have to press charges. The district attorney is given the power and responsibility to speak for victims who may be afraid or unable to come forward. There are those who believe this gives the district attorney too much power. However, the case still has to be proven.
When a person chooses to press charges against someone for domestic violence the first step is to get the information in order and see a judge to get an Order of Protection. This is designed to keep the victim and the alleged abuser from contact. In Pennsylvania, the Order of Protection may include the following:
1. prohibit the abuser from having any gun permits or guns
2. direct the abuser to pay restitution for any losses to include (wages, medical bills, relocation costs and attorney fees)
3. direct the abuser to cease any abuse, threatening behaviors, harassing, and stalking
4. grant any terms necessary to make sure the abuse stops to include mandatory counseling for all parties
5. direct abuser to avoid workplace and schools of the victim
6. make temporary orders for child custody if there are children in the home.
The penalties for domestic violence are based on the crime they are convicted of. For example if the domestic charge is base on individual crime. For example, if the actual charge is assault, there are many different possibilities. It could be a simple assault charge that is a misdemeanor 2, which can be up to two years in prison. It could be a aggravated assault with extreme indifference to human life, which would be a class 1 felony charge which could carry up to 20 years in prison.
On the other hand, the charges may be criminal mischief which has a whole different set of penalties and possible charges.
Those who may try and claim ignorance of law will find that this is not an allowable defense.
Domestic violence and abuse will be prosecuted in the state of Pennsylvania.