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Can You File a Domestic Violence Claim Against Your Roommate?

It may surprise you to know that roommate violence and disputes are categorized as domestic violence. This means disputes between roommates can carry all the consequences of domestic violence cases between spouses.

What Is Classified as Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence (or abuse) is assault between two people in a relationship.

This relationship can be:

  1. a married couple;
  2. a divorced couple;
  3. people living together or people who have lived together within 1 year from when the violence took place;
  4. people who have children together; or
  5. people who are in an intimate relationship.

Domestic Violence Arrests

If there is probable cause for a police officer to believe some form of domestic abuse has taken place, the officer can arrest the alleged abuser without a warrant. Probable cause is a reasonable belief that a crime has occurred.

The officer will make an arrest if there is probable cause that abuse has occurred and:

  1. the victim is injured;
  2. the alleged abuser has a dangerous weapon; or
  3. the alleged abuser intended to cause serious bodily injury.

Serious bodily injury is one that could possibly cause death, permanent disfigurement, or sustained impairment.

Punishment of Domestic Violence

Depending on the number of domestic violence offenses a person has, the punishment will vary in severity.

First Offense
If no other law applies to the situation, a domestic assault is classified as a simple misdemeanor. This offense is punishable by 30 days in jail and/or a fine of $65 to $625.

If the victim of the assault suffered any bodily injury, the assault then becomes a serious misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year in jail and/or a fine of $315 to $1,875.

The first offense can become an aggravated misdemeanor if the assault was committed with an intention to inflict serious injury or the alleged abuser was armed with a dangerous weapon. The punishment for an aggravated misdemeanor is up to 2 years in jail and a fine of $625 to $6,250.

Second Offense
If the alleged abuser has a first conviction of domestic abuse and it is a simple misdemeanor and the second offense will also be a simple misdemeanor, the second offense will be bumped up to a serious misdemeanor.

If the first or second offense is a serious or aggravated misdemeanor, the second offense will be an aggravated misdemeanor.

Third Offense
If the alleged abuser has been convicted of domestic abuse 3 times or more, it will be classified as a class D felony. A conviction of this type carries up to 5 years in prison and a fine of $750 to $7,500. The alleged abuser must serve at least 1 year in jail before becoming eligible for parole or work release.

The Law Offices of Mark R. Hinshaw, PLC Can Help

If your roommate has inflicted or threatened to inflict bodily injury upon you, contact our firm today. Our domestic violence attorneys are highly experienced in this type of case and can help you protect yourself.

Contact our firm online or give us a call at (515) 200-7571 for a FREE consultation.




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