8 Things About Domestic Violence Laws

Gavel, books and handcuffs on wooden table

Domestic violence is a touchy subject and its laws can be easily misinterpreted. It important that we known the laws and rights and punishments of such an act. Here is a rundown of eight things people should know about domestic violence laws.


What is Domestic Violence Law?


Domestic violence law is the punishment for offenders of committing emotional/physical harm to a family member, notably their spouse or partner. It works with what protections are open to any victim of this act. There are state laws and federal laws that make domestic violence illegal.

What Is The Violence Against Women Act?

VAWA was first signed in 1994 and is periodically reauthorized by Congress to provide funding to deal with such heinous cases. Besides stronger sentences, programs were started to bring awareness and help victims of domestic violence. These programs in all communities helps those kicked out of their residence because of domestic violence cases, as well as gives financial support for pregnancy through rape, immigrants, legal aid, and for those underage.

Domestic Violence Is Not Just Violence

Laws also related to any threats or stalking committed by one person in or from a previous relationship. This includes coercion, intimidation, and acts of revenge.

Only The State – Not The Victim – Can Drop Charges

A victim can choose not to move forward for any reason, but it does not mean it will end. The state can continue and press charges because they are disruption to the state’s peace. It is up to the DA to determine if to keep the alive or drop the charges.

Legal Punishments for Domestic Violence

A domestic violence charge can be either a misdemeanor or a felony. This includes fines, probation, restraining orders, anger management classes, and jail time. It depends on the severity of the crime.

Federal Laws

A big difference regarding these laws is that this is all felonies and are charged if the accused crossed state lines to intend to commit harm or did the act upon entering a military base or an Indian reservation. The same applies if a weapon is used as part of the Gun Control Act.  

The Rights of the Victim

Under 42 U.S.C. Section 10606(b), the victim has the right to be treated fairly with respect, dignity, and their privacy, be protected from the accused, be informed of the court’s actions and be present at every hearing regarding the crime, speak with a Government attorney, receive restitution, and information regarding convicting, sentencing, jail time, and possible release of their abuser.

States’ Laws

It should be noted that each state has their own standards. For example, states like Arizona, Hawaii, Iowa, Louisiana, Ohio, and Texas prohibit family members from suing each other with the exception of any action that was intentional. Each state has their own respective sentences for each crime.

These are things that should be known and understood. It cannot be left to open interpretation. The laws are there to explain it all.