Criminal Defense Attorneys in Topeka
Unfortunately, many violent crimes in Topeka are perpetrated by individuals who live in the same household as the victim.
There are, however, cases where misunderstandings or false reports occur – resulting in unfair domestic violence charges. Sometimes, too, good people make dreadful mistakes as a result of a momentary loss of judgment.
If you are accused of domestic violence charges in Topeka, our experience in handling such charges can make the difference between serving harsh penalties and your case being dismissed or, at least, resulting in reduced consequences.
Contact Irigonegary, Turney, & Revenaugh, LLP for a free consultation.
What is considered domestic battery in Kansas?
Domestic violence is an act of violence or threat of violence against a family or household member.
The “domestic battery” laws in Kansas specifically address these violent acts. The criminal statute Kan. Stat. Ann. § 21-5414 defines the offense as follow:
(a) Domestic battery is:
(1) Knowingly or recklessly causing bodily harm by a family or household member against a family or household member; or
(2) Knowingly causing physical contact with a family or household member by a family or household member when done in a rude, insulting or angry manner.
Note that a “family or household member” is considered to be someone who is at least 18 years old and:
- A current or former spouse
- A parent or stepparent and children or stepchildren
- Currently or formerly resided together
- Parents of the same child, regardless of whether they have ever been married or lived together, and
- A pregnant woman and the man alleged to be the father, regardless of whether the two people have ever been married or lived together
What are the penalties for domestic battery in Kansas?
The Kansas courts take a dim view of any crime against family or household members.
Included in the criminal statute outlined above are the penalties for domestic battery. The offense is classified as a Class B misdemeanor in Kansas.
Accordingly, penalties are as follows:
- A jail sentence of 48 hours to six months
- A fine of $200 to $500
- Possible assessment by a certified batterer intervention program
If the defendant agrees to participate in batterer assessment and complies with the recommendations, probation may be granted.
The charge will be upgraded to a Class A misdemeanor if the accused has a prior domestic battery conviction within the previous five years.
The penalties associated with a Class A misdemeanor in Kansas are:
- A maximum of 90 days in jail (and up to one year)
- A fine of $500 to $1,000
- Possible assessment by a certified batterer intervention program
For a third or subsequent conviction within a five-year period, the crime is upgraded to a person felony.
This could result in:
- A minimum of 90 days in jail (up to one year)
- A fine of $1,000 to $7,500
- No possibility of probation, suspension or parole for the 90-day minimum jail sentence
- The need to complete a domestic violence counseling program (failing this, the minimum jail term will be 180 days)
Are diversion programs possible for domestic battery convictions?
If you are convicted of domestic battery in Kansas, you may be permitted to enter a diversion program involving counseling or community service – providing you are charged with the crime no more than twice in five years.
Your acceptance into such a program generally depends on the circumstances of your alleged crime and the persuasive skills of your defense lawyer.
If you successfully enter and complete the diversion program, the charge against you will be dismissed.
However, if you are subsequently charged with domestic battery, the dismissed charge will count as a conviction for the purposes of sentencing.
What happens during a domestic battery investigation in Kansas?
Domestic violence complaints in Kansas are extremely sensitive matters and law enforcement officers need to tread very carefully when investigating them.
They must follow a strict set of policies adopted by all law enforcement agencies in the state for handling domestic violence.
These policies must include certain requirements, such as:
- A person suspected of committing a domestic violence offense must be arrested
- Statements of emergency dispatcher duties
- Procedures for handling domestic violence calls that involve court orders
Note that even if the complainant wishes to withdraw a charge of domestic battery, it may not be possible. Once the matter is in the hands of law enforcement and the prosecutors, the decision whether or not to prosecute is out of the hands of the complainant.
What are domestic violence protective orders in Kansas?
If victims of domestic violence are concerned that they may be in further danger, it is possible to petition the court in Topeka for a protective order against the alleged perpetrator (sometimes called a “restraining order”).
A judge will hear the evidence of abuse from the plaintiff and arguments from the defendant at a court hearing.
If there are children involved and at risk, the court will not take any chances and will put their safety first.
If the order is granted, the judge is also able to impose strict conditions, such as:
- Excluding the defendant from the home
- Awarding exclusive use of the home to the plaintiff
- Setting temporary child support and visitation rights
- Awarding the possession of certain items of personal property to either the plaintiff or defendant
The court order may last up to a year, after which it can be extended, if necessary.
If the court order is violated, the perpetrator may be charged with a Class A misdemeanor, which may result in up to one year in jail.
Crimes against a family or household member may be classified as domestic violence
Domestic battery is one of the more obvious domestic violence crimes but many other offenses are also considered to be domestic violence when committed against a family or household member, including crimes that do not result in injury to the other person.
Some examples include:
- Criminal damage to property
- Disorderly conduct
- Assault and aggravated assault
- Violation of a domestic violence restraining order
These offenses carry penalties ranging from days of jail time and moderate fines to years in prison and fines of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Domestic violence has serious repercussions in Kansas. If you’ve been charged with domestic crime, speak to the criminal defense lawyers at ITR Law in Topeka so that we can begin working on your defense.
Pedro Irigonegaray is one of the most experienced, knowledgeable, professional and compassionate attorneys I have ever known. When you need legal advice or someone to fight for you, get the best. Talk to Mr. Irgonegaray.
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A rigorous defense
Our attorneys’ experience in criminal defense means that, if we take your case on, we are confident of preparing a rigorous defense.
We will focus on key areas such as the following:
- The precise evidence against you
- The credibility of accusers and/or witnesses
- How the evidence was collected by criminal investigators
- How you were informed of your legal rights by the police
- Interrogation procedures and other protocols
- Your state of mental health at the time of the alleged crime
- Whether there are other factors that explain your alleged actions
In this way, we will build a robust case that will stand up to scrutiny and provide you with the best chance of a favorable outcome.