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A guide to Delaware domestic violence laws

Domestic violence is a serious crime in Delaware. This violent crime comes with criminal punishments, including fines, incarceration and orders of protection. If you face accusations of domestic abuse, you may have concerns about the implications. 

Getting a domestic violence conviction may seriously affect your life. If you have worries about a domestic abuse conviction, you should learn the basics of the law to understand your charges.

What is domestic violence?

According to Delaware statutes, domestic violence includes any physical or sexual abuse between family members, cohabitating couples or former spouses. This includes any violent acts against adult or children family members. Some examples of domestic abuse include:

  • Recklessly or intentionally attempting or causing physical injury
  • Recklessly or intentionally attempting to place or placing a person in fear of physical injury
  • Recklessly or intentionally damaging, destroying or taking property from another person
  • Partaking in a pattern of distressing or alarming behavior that results in emotional distress or fear
  • Unlawfully imprisoning, kidnapping or interfering with child custody orders
  • Abusing children

These are just some basic types of actions that constitute domestic abuse. Almost any behavior that a reasonable person finds harmful or threatening may result in criminal charges. 

What are the consequences?

If someone brings charges of domestic violence against you, he or she may file a protective order. This court order may include provisions such as:

  • You must not contact the victim
  • The victim gets temporary custody
  • Exclusive use of the shared residence for the victim
  • Child support for the victim
  • Strict visitation conditions
  • Counseling
  • Surrender of firearms

If you get a conviction for the first time, you may get first-offender treatment, which means you will get probation. Otherwise, you may face jail time and fines.

It may be scary when you face accusations of abuse, especially if you believe they are false. Having a basic understanding of the law and getting legal help will help you navigate these complex matters.

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Wilmington, DE 19801

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