What Other Factors Can Raise a Domestic Violence Charge from a Misdemeanor to a Felony?

Interviewer: If it’s a first offense, what determines if it’s going to be charged as a felony or a misdemeanor?

Attorney Churak: Assault-family violence, such as hitting or pushing an individual, is a Class A misdemeanor, so it’s subject to up to a year in jail and a $4,000 fine. If you have previously been convicted of a family violence case, and it doesn’t have to necessarily be the same individual, it can be an ex-girlfriend, a totally different individual but you have a prior conviction, it becomes a felony, state jail felony, which is up to 2 years in state jail.

Attempting to Choke another Individual Is Charged as a Third Degree Felony and Is Subject to between 2 to 10 Years in Prison

If it’s alleged that you choked the individual, in other words, put your hands around the individual’s neck, then it becomes a third degree felony and at that point in time, you’re looking at up to 2 to 10 years in prison. So the stakes go up even higher if there’s an allegation of choking.

Inflicting Serious Injury, Such as Broken Bones Can Result in a Charge of Assault-Serious Bodily Injury, Which Is a Second Degree Felony

Inflicting serious bodily injury on an individual, for example, if there were broken bones, upgrades the charge to assault-serious bodily injury which is a second degree felony. But the totality of the injuries has to comprise more than just a couple of bumps and bruises. There has to be some broken bones, such as a shattered eye socket or a broken nose, something like that.