Sometimes, domestic abusers call the police. They want to punish victims who have called the police in the past. Maybe they call to prove that they are in control of what happens. If your abuser frames you as the bad guy, you need a lawyer.
Alternatively, maybe you were the abuser. The victim or witnesses might exaggerate, though. You might be facing charges that are more serious than what really happened was.
Maybe you’re being accused of something that never happened. Sometimes, the other party in a divorce or custody proceeding wants to gain an advantage by having you arrested. That would undermine the presumption in favor of joint custody of the kids. You might even be accused of domestic abuse assault by someone who is trying to punish you for leaving a relationship or for “cheating” on them.
Whatever happened, you have a right to a presumption of innocence. You have a right to an attorney. Your attorney will look for ways to reasonable doubt. If a jury sees reasonable doubt, you could be found “not guilty.”
Domestic assault convictions are publicly visible online. An assault conviction can keep you from getting the job you want. If you’re seen as dangerous, other people might not want to be in relationships with you. They might not even want to be around you.
Des Moines Domestic Assault Lawyers
At Clark and Sears Law, PLLC, we defend the rights and liberties of good people who are accused of bad things.
An Iowa domestic assault attorney might be able to help you avoid conviction. If you are acquitted or if the charges are dismissed, you could save thousands of dollars in fines and surcharges. You could go home to your family instead of going to jail.
Get out of trouble and get back to life. Call Katherine Sears at Clark and Sears Law, PLLC. You can set up a free consultation now at (515) 491 6128. A receptionist is available 24/7 to take your call.
The criminal defense lawyers at Clark and Sears Law, PLLC, are based in Des Moines and Ankeny. They represent defendants throughout Polk County and the rest of Iowa.
Domestic abuse arrests
When there’s an injury — even just a scrape or a red mark — the police will make a mandatory arrest.
If police think someone got injured, then they will arrest someone. The law also requires arrest for using a dangerous weapon. Similarly, intent to cause serious injury requires arrest.
Police arrest the primary physical aggressor. Sometimes, police make mistakes. The arresting officer considers the need to protect victims. They considers fear and injuries. They also will consider any history of domestic abuse. Iowa Code 236.12.
What is domestic abuse assault?
The elements of domestic assault are:
- You were in a domestic relationship.
- You committed an assault.
When is an assault domestic?
If any of these people assault each other, it is domestic assault:
- Family or household members.
- Separated or divorced spouses.
- People who have children together.
- Persons who lived together within the past year.
- “Intimate relationship” partners who have had contact in the last year.
Iowa assault defined
Many people say that they “didn’t even hit” someone. Therefore, they feel indignant.
Even if you don’t leave a mark, you can be convicted. You don’t have to strike someone for it to be assault.
Acts that are intended to cause harmful, painful, injurious or offensive contact are assaults. Hitting is assault. Simply grabbing someone’s arm is also assault. Spitting on someone is offensive. Because spitting is offensive, it is assault.
Making someone think you’re about to assault them is also assault. Even if you never touch someone, drawing your fist back can be assault.
Penalties for domestic abuse assault
Domestic Assault First Offense
- Simple domestic assault is a simple misdemeanor.
- Domestic assault causing bodily injury or mental illness is a serious misdemeanor.
- Intent to commit a serious bodily injury results in an aggravated misdemeanor.
- Using or displaying a dangerous weapon is an aggravated misdemeanor.
- Choking someone or obstructing their nose/mouth so that they can’t breathe is an aggravated misdemeanor.
- Domestic assault while choking or suffocating someone and injuring them is a Class “D” felony.
After conviction, you have to complete a batterers’ treatment program (IDAP.) In the past, most IDAP programs have been 24 or 36 weeks long. The program might cost about $25 each week. Alternatively, it may cost more or less than $25/week in your area.
Domestic Assault Second Offense
- Was your first offense was a simple misdemeanor? If so, and if your second offense is a simple assault, then the second offense is a serious misdemeanor.
- Most other second offense domestic assaults are aggravated misdemeanors.
- Choking or suffocating someone and injuring them is a Class “D” felony.
You must complete a batterers’ treatment program (IDAP.)
Domestic Assault Third Offense
In Iowa, Third offense domestic assault is a class “D” felony.
When convicted, you won’t be eligible for parole or work release. Denial of parole lasts for at least one year. Then again, it could last for up to five years. The judge will decide how long denial lasts. Iowa Code 902.13.
After first offense or second offense domestic abuse assault, you have to spend at least two days in jail. The two day minimum sentence can’t be waived or suspended.
You can get credit for time previously served. However, the two days must be consecutive. If you spent one day in jail when you were arrested, you must still serve two more consecutive days. Iowa Code 708.2A.
You may be eligible for a deferred judgment. If judgment was deferred on a previous domestic, you aren’t eligible anymore.
Before probation ends, you will still have to complete batterers’ education. Until you finish probation, anyone can see your conviction record.
No Contact Order / Restraining Order
The Court probably entered a criminal no contact order at the beginning of your case. After conviction, that order might continue for five more years.
Sometimes, the order might be modified. The prosecutor might decide the order isn’t necessary. Alternatively, the victim can request a hearing. At the hearing, the victim can ask the judge to terminate or modify the order.
Do not violate a no contact order. After violation, the Court might hold you in contempt. Iowa Code 664A.7.
Additionally, violating the order is a simple misdemeanor.
If the Court holds you in contempt, you will go to jail. You have to stay in jail for at least seven days. There are no exceptions. Both contempt and conviction of the misdemeanor require at least seven days in jail.
People found guilty of domestic assault can’t have guns. Because the second amendment has limits, you lose your gun rights.
Having guns after conviction is a class “D” felony. Iowa Code 724.26.
Notwithstanding expungement, the Court can see what you were convicted of. Domestic abuse makes it unlikely that you will get joint custody. Iowa Code 598.41.
Domestic Abuse Education Program (IDAP/BEP)
If you are convicted, then you must complete IDAP. Iowa Code 708.2B.
The Iowa Domestic Abuse Program used to be called the “Batterers’ Education Program.”
Domestic abuse education lasts 24-36 weeks. IDAP is required for first offenses. IDAP is also required for second offenses.
Fees apply. You might have to pay a fee at the beginning. Additionally, you might have to pay a fee each week. When you miss too many classes, you have to start over. After telling you to start over, your probation officer might file a report of violations.
Most domestic abuse assault offenses involve people in intimate or romantic relationships. However, there are other domestic abuse scenarios. Assaulting a family member or a roommate also counts.
Defense lawyers for domestic abuse assault charges in Des Moines, Polk County, Ankeny, Ames, Johnston, West Des Moines, Waukee, Saylorville, Bondurant, Altoona, Clive, Grimes, Pleasant Hill, Story County, Boone County, Marshall County, Dallas County, Jasper County, Madison County, Warren County, Marion County, Wapello County, Davis County, Ottumwa, Bloomfield, Iowa City, Council Bluffs, and the rest of Iowa.
This blog post is for informational purposes only. Don’t rely on it as legal advice. It may be out of date. It may not apply to your situation. Reading this site doesn’t make me your lawyer.
Consult with a licensed attorney in your jurisdiction. If you want to talk to us about your Iowa domestic assault case, please contact us at (515) 491 6128. We’ll set up a time to talk.