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Are domestic violence cases criminal or civil?

On Behalf of | Apr 19, 2024 | Criminal Defense |

A discussion about domestic violence brings up serious and concerning thoughts. These charges allege harmful behaviors by one person against another within a household or close relationship.

An accused individual rightfully wonders about the consequences of such accusations and whether the case is a civil or criminal matter. The fact is that domestic violence cases can be both criminal and civil. Understanding the difference is key to knowing what steps to take to legally defend oneself.

Criminal charges for domestic violence

Many alleged actions of domestic violence fall under criminal law. This means that the government takes action against someone who has supposedly harmed a partner or family member. The goal is to protect society and punish people who commit wrong acts.

Common examples of criminal domestic violence include hitting, threatening, stalking or any other form of physical or severe emotional harm. When these actions happen, the police can get involved. Then, the alleged perpetrator might face charges, leading to consequences like going to jail, paying fines or both.

Civil cases in domestic violence

Civil cases in domestic violence are a bit different. These do not involve the government punishing someone for their actions. Instead, they are about resolving disputes between people and providing protection or compensation to a hurt person.

For example, if someone wants a restraining order to keep a partner away, this would happen in a civil case. A plaintiff in a civil personal injury case could also request monetary compensation for financial and emotional losses from the alleged harm.

Clearly, domestic violence cases can be both criminal and civil. Comprehending the difference between the two processes can help a defendant understand what kind of legal help to seek if ever facing such accusations.