You may wonder what happens to you or your family if you’re facing domestic violence charges. A domestic violence conviction is serious and can include jail time. Understanding the basics of these charges and the facts of your case is crucial in developing a sound legal strategy.

Domestic violence is generally defined as any act that causes physical, emotional or financial harm to another family member or member of a household. Family members may include spouses, children or parents while members of a household could include a roommate or romantic partner.

Crimes against romantic partners are generally prosecuted the same whether a couple was in a traditional or same-sex relationship. A person who is charged with domestic violence in Massachusetts or any other state could be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony.

The charges may vary

In some cases, a crime could be either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the circumstances in the matter. One of the key differences between a misdemeanor and a felony is the amount of time that a person might spend in jail if convicted. Those who are convicted of a misdemeanor typically spend less than a year in jail while defendants who are convicted on felony charges could spend more than a year in custody.

While it’s possible for a person to be charged under a specific domestic violence statute, this isn’t always true. For instance, a person who hit a spouse might be charged with assault, battery or other appropriate charges. Those who are charged with domestic violence or other crimes may want to speak with an attorney to review the case or work to get the charges reduced.

Individuals may spend time in jail or face other penalties if they are convicted of harming a roommate, partner or family member. A domestic violence conviction might also result in strained relationships with friends, family members and colleagues.

There may be hope

A legal representative may attempt to avoid a conviction or reducing the penalties by casting doubt on evidence introduced at trial. This might be enough to obtain a favorable plea deal or an acquittal. Since charges of domestic violence, assault and battery carry serious consequences, it’s important to have a strong advocate on your side.