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DC Domestic Violence Enhanced Penalties

When a person is convicted of violence, aggravating factors of the offense and the resulting penalties may include injuries or hospitalization, a long history of criminal convictions, or a prior criminal conviction. The aggravating factors can result in the judge considering harsher DC domestic violence enhanced penalties such as longer probationary periods, stricter conditions of probation, or possible jail time based on the aggravating factors.

Since these penalties are more severe than typical consequences of domestic violence, it is imperative that you consult an experienced lawyer. They can help you determine the best course of action.

What are Enhanced Penalties?

When a person faces a criminal charge, the charge as written in DC law lays out the person’s maximum possible penalties if they are convicted of the crime. A person facing a misdemeanor simple assault charge faces a maximum penalty of 180 days in jail, a maximum fine of $1,000, or both. An individual may be eligible for enhanced penalties depending on the facts of the case.

Common enhanced penalties include enhancements for bias-related crimes or enhancements for crimes committed against a person over 65 years of age. There are also enhanced penalties for crimes committed against minors and crimes committed against certain types of transit workers. Convictions for these offenses can increase the maximum possible penalty.

A person facing a simple assault charge that is eligible for DC domestic violence enhanced penalties faces a maximum penalty of one and a half times 180 days which is a maximum of 270 days of jail time. In cases charged against family members or sometimes children, penalties can be increased if the person is convicted.

Aggravating Factors that Impact Penalty Enhancements

Enhanced penalties in DC for domestic violence offenses are slightly different from aggravating factors. When a person faces criminal charges, they may be eligible for enhancements based on aggravating factors of the case. Certain factors in their case could change the maximum possible penalties.

However, even if a person is not eligible for one of these sentencing enhancements, there may be factors in their case or in the person’s criminal history that can change the sentence a judge imposes within the normal sentencing range.

When a person does not have any criminal history, and the allegations are relatively minor, a judge may decide that jail time is not warranted. The judge may determine that it is more appropriate for the person with no criminal history to be placed on probation so they can receive counseling, treatment, and other kinds of programs in lieu of jail time.

Effects of a Civil Protection Order on Potential Penalties

When a person faces criminal domestic violence charges, it is not uncommon for that person to also be facing a civil protection order. It is important to understand the difference between a civil protection order and a domestic violence criminal charge. When a person is accused of committing a domestic offense such as domestic assault, the prosecutors in DC can file criminal charges against the person.

A civil protection order is different. While criminal charges are filed by prosecutors who represent the government, civil protection orders are civil cases filed directly by the complainant. In a civil protection order, the complainant cannot seek criminal penalties, jail time, or probationary periods. Civil protection orders most commonly seek orders from a judge that a person stays away from the complainant or have no contact with the complainant.

A complainant can file a civil protection order while a person has a pending criminal case. An individual can face a criminal case without having a protection order in place. In other situations, a person faces a civil protection order while having no criminal case. A civil protection order does not affect the penalties associated with a criminal domestic violence charge.

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