Alabama Domestic Violence (1st, 2nd, and 3rd Degrees): What are the Differences?
Published January 9, 2023
A person is guilty of domestic violence if he or she causes another to fear for his or her safety, resulting in psychological or physical discomfort, injury, or illness.
There are three levels of severity for domestic violence, either considered a misdemeanor or a felony. In Alabama, domestic violence is punishable by imprisonment, hefty fines, and firearms restrictions.
Domestic Violence 3rd Degree
According to Alabama criminal code 13A-6-132, 3rd degree domestic violence is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and a $6000.00 fine. A second conviction of a 3rd Degree Domestic Violence has a minimum mandatory jail term of 10 days, while a third conviction of the same crime is a Class C felony.
Domestic violence 3rd degree happens when a person commits a 3rd degree assault, harasses or coerces, or offers or attempts to do so (while being able to do so) on a household member, establishing a reasonable fear of imminent danger.
Domestic Violence 2nd Degree
Domestic violence 2nd degree under Alabama criminal code 13A-6-131 requires the same relationship criteria as domestic violence 3rd degree but applies to more serious allegations, like assault 2nd degree, burglary 2nd or 3rd degree, or stalking. Domestic violence 2nd degree is considered a Class B felony.
The Court will issue a term of at least 6 months incarceration in prison if found guilty. The required minimum sentence would increase to 1 year (without parole, probation, or good credits) if the offense happened in the presence of a minor under the age of 14 or violated a protection order. Additional penalties include a fine of up to $30,000, driver’s license suspension if a vehicle was used, and imprisonment can extend to up to 20 years.
Domestic Violence 1st Degree
Domestic violence 1st degree is the most severe domestic violence charge under Alabama’s criminal code 13A-6-130; domestic violence will be considered a 1st degree if a person commits a 1st degree assault, 1st degree burglary, or aggravated stalking.
Domestic Violence 1st Degree, a Class A felony, carries a minimum mandatory sentence of 1 year imprisonment, which doubles (without parole, probation, or good credits) if the violation happened under a protection order or if a child under 14 years of age heard or saw the act, and a $60,000 fine.
Countering Domestic Violence Charge
A person accused of domestic violence may claim self-defense if they can prove that the supposed victim was the aggressor. A defendant may alternatively argue that the prosecutor failed to show any underlying charge or they did not share one of the relationships protected by domestic violence statutes.
Domestic violence can be categorized as domestic violence 1st degree, domestic violence 2nd degree, and domestic violence 3rd degree. Alabama includes the following as an act of said offense: assault, child abuse, coercion, imprisonment, trespass, menacing, kidnap, sexual abuse, arson, stalking, and endangerment.
Any statement or action by the offender that places the victim in reasonable fear for his or her safety or the safety of another constitutes a threat of this unlawful behavior.
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About The Author
Krizzia Paolyn is an SEO Specialist with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology. It has always been her passion to share her voice, and at the same time, to encourage other people to speak up.