DC Roommate Violence Penalties 

DC roommate violence penalties can be severe and come with different processes depending on what it is prosecuted as. When prosecutors decline to charge an offense in the domestic violence court, the offense can be prosecuted in the general criminal court at the DC Superior Courthouse. A simple assault or misdemeanor assault offense can be charged in the domestic violence court or in the general criminal court at DC Superior Court.

The difference between the two is only the court in which the case is heard and the judge who presides over the case. The actual criminal offense of simple assault is the same. The burden of proof still rests with the prosecutors, and the procedural rules are all the same.

That also means the constitutional protections that are afforded to a defendant are identical whether a case is charged as a domestic violence offense or a general criminal offense. For more on the distinction between a domestic violence offense and a general criminal offense in regards to roommate violence, contact an experienced domestic violence lawyer.

Non-Domestic Offenses

One situation where a domestic offense may not be charged in the domestic violence section of the criminal court is when prosecutors seek to have a domestic offense charged as a felony. The cases filed in the domestic violence courts are always misdemeanor offenses. However, when an allegation of an assault is serious enough where there are significant or serious bodily injuries, it is considered to be a higher level assault case compared to misdemeanor assault. Those cases can be charged as felony assault in the general criminal court instead of a misdemeanor in the domestic violence courts which only hears misdemeanor offenses. A felony assault will, of course, come with harsher roommate violence penalties.

Potential Roommate Violence Penalties

When a roommate is charged with violence against a roommate, they are likely charged with simple assault in the DC Domestic Violence Division of the DC Superior Court. A person with a simple assault charge in the domestic violence branch of the court system faces the same possible penalties as a person facing a simple assault charge in any other court in DC. The maximum penalty for a simple assault charge is up to 180 days in jail, up to $1,000 in fines, or both.

DC roommate violence penalties are the same whether the people involved are roommates facing a simple assault charge or complete strangers who get into a fight at a bar. However, the actual penalties a person faces if convicted can range anywhere from the minimum zero days in jail all the way up to the maximum of 180 days in jail. It is not uncommon for judges to see situations of a domestic nature as being more serious than situations where the people involved are strangers.

Hiring a Lawyer

A domestic offense has a certain social stigma. It is important for a person to be aware of the possible DC roommate violence penalties and the probable or likely penalties they face when convicted in domestic violence court. Domestic violence arrests or convictions do not come off someones criminal record like a simple assault conviction in a non-domestic violence court.

There are possibilities to resolve these matters through negotiations with prosecutors to help the person avoid the possibility of a permanent stain on their criminal record that affects future job searches, apartment rentals, or government security clearances. That is why it is important to contact a DC domestic violence lawyer immediately.

DC Roommate Violence Lawyer