When to Consult a Domestic Violence Lawyer
Domestic violence laws have one main goal: to protect spouses, children, and other members of a household from abuse. While every state has domestic violence laws, they all define them somewhat differently. Take Missouri and Kansas. These two states define their domestic violence laws somewhat similarly in some cases. In both of these states, a crime qualifies as domestic abuse when it affects a certain class of persons. Both states identify a few different protected classes like:
- Spouses (current and former)
- Family members either by blood or law.
- Anyone who currently or formerly lives together (including roommates)
- Someone who is pregnant with the offender’s child or is the parent of the offender’s child, regardless of their marital status.
If either Missouri or Kansas is charging you with a crime against one of these protected classes of domestic violence victims, hire an attorney. It’s your best way of keeping your criminal record clean and avoiding years of jail time and hefty fines. Both states punish crimes against these protected classes harshly.
Kansas vs. Missouri Domestic Violence Laws
In Missouri, the offender must commit assault against one of these victims for the state to classify their crime as domestic violence. The state can also charge a domestic offender with a higher-level crime if they:
- Cause physical injury
- Use a deadly weapon
- Attempts to kill a victim
- Isolates the victim using physical or electronic means
- Performs actions that they know could cause death or serious injury.
If the state finds an offender guilty of a higher-level domestic abuse offense, they can charge them with either a felony or a misdemeanor. These crimes can land an offender in jail for up to life in prison depending on the circumstances of their crime. However, the majority of domestic violence crimes are punishable by less than five years in jail and $5,000 in fines.
However, Kansas laws are a bit different. In Kansas, any crime committed against a protected class qualifies as abuse – not just assault. For example, a former roommate could bring charges against someone they shared an apartment with for theft under domestic violence or abuse laws.
Like Missouri, Kansas also has a higher-level tier of domestic abuse charges. They’re called “domestic battery,” and can range in severity from benign to serious. The state can punish these crimes as misdemeanors or felonies. These charges can earn an aggressor up to a year in jail and $1,000 in fines.
In addition, any domestic charge will appear on your criminal record. However, if you retain an attorney, you may be able to prove your innocence in a domestic abuse or violence case and maintain a clean criminal record.
Call Today to Speak with a Skilled Attorney
With a reputation for helping clients resolve their domestic violence or abuse cases spanning more than 30 years, attorney Jeff Jarrett is a reliable lawyer for clients in the Kansas City, MO area. Since founding his law firm in 1985, he’s helped countless clients seeking help in their domestic violence or abuse case. If you need assistance, don’t wait. Instead, call attorney Jeff Jarrett today to schedule your free consultation.