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Domestic Violence Laws in Alabama

Posted by Erik Fine | Jul 03, 2020 | 0 Comments

     In Alabama, there are three (3) degrees of domestic violence codified in the criminal code.  First and Second Degree Domestic Violence crimes are codified as felony offenses.  Third Degree Domestic Violence crimes are codified as misdemeanor crimes.  Felony offenses are crimes that society deems as more serious criminal acts and are punished more severely than misdemeanor crimes.  Felony offenses carry significant potential prison terms.  Minimally, those prison terms affix a prison sentence that is 366 days (a year and a day).  Misdemeanor offenses may require a jail sentence (NOT a prison sentence) that range from 30 days up to 365 days (one year) in a municipal or county jail. 

     Alabama's Criminal Code, also known as Title 13A, has a section of Chapter 6, Offenses Involving Danger To The Person, written specifically for domestic violence crimes.  The domestic violence citations begin at 13A-6-130 and conclude at section 13A-6-143.  Domestic violence offenses in Alabama are crimes that are composed of criminal acts that are found throughout the criminal code, such as assault or aggravated stalking or menacing.  The difference in these crimes versus a domestic violence crime is what the relationship is between the offender and the victim. So what are those Qualifying Relationships?  Well here they are:

  • the victim is a current or former spouse
  • the victim is a parent
  • the victim is a child
  • the victim is any present or former household member
  • the victim is a person who has or had a dating relationship

For more information regarding what is known as Qualifying Domestics Relations according to Alabama law, I have added a quick link to a blog that I wrote that explains in detail what those relationships are according to the Alabama Criminal Code.

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IN THE FIRST DEGREE  13A-6-130

     In Alabama, the crimes that compose Domestic Violence 1st Degree are:

  • Assault 1st Degree
  • Aggravated Stalking

     Domestic Violence 1st Degree is a Class A Felony, meaning that it carries a potential PRISON TERM of 10-99 years to life in PRISON.  However, if the defendant had PREVIOUSLY committed either of the above-mentioned offenses before, then the defendant SHALL serve a MINIMUM of ONE YEAR in PRISON WITHOUT ANY CONSIDERATION OF PROBATION OR GOOD TIME CREDIT. 

     If the defendant committed either of the above-mentioned offenses AND THERE WAS A PROTECTION ORDER IN PLACE AT THE TIME OF THE OFFENSE, then the minimum term of imprisonment imposed will be doubled. 

     Additionally, if the defendant commits either of the above-mentioned offenses IN THE PRESENCE OF A CHILD WHO IS AGE 14 OR YOUNGER, if the victim was the parent or legal guardian of the child, then the minimum term of imprisonment imposed will be doubled.

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IN THE SECOND DEGREE 13A-6-131

     In Alabama, the crimes that compose Domestic Violence 2nd Degree are:

  • Intimidating a Witness
  • Stalking
  • Burglary 2nd Degree or 3rd Degree
  • Criminal Mischief 1st Degree 

     Domestic Violence 2nd Degree is a Class B Felony, meaning that it carries a potential PRISON TERM of 2-20 years in PRISON.  However, if the defendant had PREVIOUSLY committed any of the above-mentioned offenses before, then the defendant SHALL serve a MINIMUM of SIX MONTHS in JAIL WITHOUT ANY CONSIDERATION OF PROBATION OR GOOD TIME CREDIT.

     If the defendant committed any of the above-mentioned offenses AND THERE WAS A PROTECTION ORDER IN PLACE AT THE TIME OF THE OFFENSE, then the minimum term of imprisonment imposed will be doubled.

     Additionally, if the defendant commits any of the above-mentioned offenses IN THE PRESENCE OF A CHILD WHO IS AGE 14 OR YOUNGER, if the victim was the parent or legal guardian of the child, then the minimum term of imprisonment imposed will be doubled.

     ***Domestic Violence 2nd Degree Strangulation or Suffocation is codified separately in Alabama's Criminal Code.  It can be located at 13A-6-138***

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IN THE THIRD DEGREE 13A-6-132 

     In Alabama, the crimes that compose Domestic Violence 3rd Degree are:

  • Assault 3rd Degree
  • Menacing
  • Reckless Endangerment
  • Criminal Coercion
  • Harassment
  • Criminal Surveillance
  • Harassing Communications
  • Criminal Trespass 3rd Degree
  • Criminal Mischief 2nd or 3rd Degree
  • Arson 3rd Degree

     Domestic Violence 3rd Degree is a Class A Misdemeanor, meaning that it carries a possible JAIL sentence of 1 year (in a municipal or county jail).  If the defendant committed any of the above-mentioned offenses AND THERE WAS A PROTECTION ORDER IN PLACE AT THE TIME OF THE OFFENSE, then the defendant SHALL serve a mandatory 30 days in jail without any possibility of a suspended or probated sentence.  

     A SECOND conviction under this section requires a mandatory minimum jail sentence of 10 days in the city or county jail without the possibility of a suspension or probated sentence.

     A THIRD or subsequent conviction under this section is a Class C Felony.  A Class C Felony carries a potential PRISON TERM of 366 days-10 years in PRISON.

     If a person is convicted of ANY degree of Domestic Violence in Alabama, that person will FOREVER BE PROHIBITED OF OWNING OR POSSESSING A FIREARM FOR THE REST OF HIS OR HER NATURAL LIFE.

     If a person is convicted of Domestic Violence 1st or 2nd Degree in Alabama, that person WILL LOSE HIS OR HER RIGHT TO VOTE FOREVER.

     If a person is convicted of ANY degree of Domestic Violence in Alabama and then goes through a divorce, THE COURT WILL PRESUME THAT CONVICTED PERSON AS BEING AN UNFIT PARENT. 

     If you are charged with any degree of Domestic Violence in Alabama, you need to hire a lawyer.  Do the smart thing and call Erik Fine at Patriot Law Firm, LLC.  Erik has a proven track record of successfully defending clients charged with every degree of Domestic Violence offenses.  Let him help you.  Call Erik at (205) 478-2498 right now!

Read my Blog on Qualifying relationships

About the Author

Erik Fine

Attorney Erik D. Fine, A.A., B.S., J.D. Mr. Fine, an Alabama native, is a graduate of Mountain Brook Public Schools. He received an athletic scholarship to play baseball at Kansas City Kansas Community College from which he graduated with an Associates Degree in Law Enforcement in 1989. It was i...

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