Aggravating Factors to DC Domestic Violence Penalties

In DC, aggravating factors to domestic violence penalties can be added onto the consequences associated with the criminal offense based on certain factors. There are a number of different enhancements that could apply in any criminal case but there are no enhancements that apply solely from the fact that a person has been charged with a domestic violence offense. If you are facing aggravating factors after your charge, it may be vital to the future outcome of your case to contact a skilled domestic violence attorney before proceeding to trial.

A simple assault charge carries a maximum penalty of 180 days in jail and a maximum fine of $1,000. If a person is accused of committing a simple assault against their significant other, that fact alone would not increase the penalties that a person would face if they are convicted. When a judge is deciding what kind of penalties to impose, there are many things that a judge can consider such as the severity of the offense.

Causes of Aggravating Factors

The facts of the case could change the actual sentence that a judge imposes if the person is convicted but the fact that a person is charged in the domestic violence court would not change the minimum and maximum possible penalties available to a judge in the event that the defendant is convicted. However, there are separate enhancements that could apply in either a domestic violence case or any other criminal case.

These enhancements could include bias-related enhancements. If the motivation for a criminal offense is based on certain characteristics of the complainant such as race, religion, ethnic origin, or sexual orientation then that could subject a defendant to enhanced penalties, meaning the maximum possible penalty they could face as a result of being convicted which will be higher than the baseline level penalties available for the regular offense.

There are a number of other aggravating factors to DC domestic violence penalties that are available to prosecutors in criminal cases. It is important for the defense to understand those possibilities and be able to explain to the potential client how those enhancements might impact negotiated resolutions and how they may impact possible penalties upon conviction at trial.

Penalty Enhancements

Aggravating factors to DC domestic violence penalties are not based on when a person is facing a criminal charge such as a simple assault in the domestic violence court and they are facing sentencing on that crime before a judge, there are many things that a judge would take into consideration when deciding what kind of sentence to impose. Ultimately, the judge is limited by the penalties permitted in the statute. As an example, if the person is facing an assault charge in domestic violence court, a judge will be limited by the simple assault penalties contained in the simple assault statute under DC law.

If a simple assault resulted in severe injuries sustained by a complainant then a judge may be more inclined to impose more severe jail time upon a defendant being found guilty. Assault charges do not necessarily need to have any specific injuries associated with them if injuries were minimal or potentially non-existent. In this case, a judge may be more inclined to see the offense as less serious and impose less serious penalties potentially imposing no jail time at all.

Those factors can be considered aggravating factors in the sense that a judge can impose harsher penalties still within the permissible penalty range based on factors such as severity of injuries and other factors that a judge may deem relevant when considering an appropriate sentence.