Domestic Violence Terrorizing
Serving the Areas of Portland, Biddeford, Bangor, Augusta and Saco
DV Terrorizing is a serious charge in Maine. In fact, any charges of domestic violence carry with them the very real possibility of jail time and a lengthy period of probation.
Domestic Violence Terrorizing is defined as follows:
- The victim must be a domestic partner or dating partner of the defendant, as defined by Title 19-A section 4002 of the Maine Statutes.
- The defendant must make a threat to commit an act of violence, which is dangerous to human life and does in fact cause the person who this threat was communicated to, to be placed in reasonable fear of the act being carried out.
An example of Domestic Violence Terrorizing would be calling your wife that you were coming home in a couple of hours and that whey you arrive, if she's there, you're going to shoot her in the face. Your wife would likely be fearful of you carrying out this threat and a call to the police would be warranted.
The prosecution faces serious proof problems when charging Domestic Violence Terrorizing as they normally involve a household family member who is not interested in seeing the defendant prosecuted for the crime committed. Equally important is that if there is only a threat of violence uttered and no physical assault, these cases are incredibly difficult to prove. Normally, an act of violence accompanies the threat and in those cases, it becomes much easier to prove the underlying threat.
If you've been previously charged with any crime of domestic violence or you've previously violated a Protection from Abuse Order, you're at risk for being charged with a Class "C" Felony Domestic Violence Terrorizing crime. Section 210-B of Title 17-A, which is the Maine Criminal Code dealing with DV Terrorizing charges, provides for specific instances where a person can be charged with a felony.
In all other crimes, you normally have to have at least 2 prior convictions for the same crime within a 10 year period before the new crime can be charged as a felony. However, that law changed recently to provide for only a single prior conviction to transform the second charge into a felony. Quite a risk for anyone that has a "tumultuous history" with his or her significant other.
There are no mandatory minimum penalties if you've been convicted of the crime of Domestic Violence Terrorizing. However, if you this is a first offense and you have no prior criminal history, you are likely looking at a fully suspended jail sentence, followed by 2 years of probation and enrollment and completion of the 48 week Certified Batters Intervention Program.
If you have a history of violence but no prior convictions for domestic violence, you are likely looking at a period of incarceration, followed by 2 years of probation and enrollment and completion of the 48 week Certified Batters Intervention Program.
If you've been previously convicted of a crime of domestic violence or Violation of a Protection Order, you're now a convicted felon (assuming you were found guilty following trial). You are facing a maximum penalty of up to 5 years in prison, a $5,000.00 fine and a term of probation and domestic violence counseling. The length of your prison sentence will be dictated by your criminal history and the particular circumstances of the crime for which you were convicted.
There are always defenses in any criminal case. The issue is whether those defenses will be effective in any particular case. Let's review a few common defenses in Domestic Violence Terrorizing cases.
Motivation to Lie. Oftentimes in domestic violence cases, the victim has a motivation to lie. Perhaps the two parties are in the beginning stages of a difficult divorce and the wife wants to gain leverage in the family matter. Nothing would make the husband's life and divorce more difficult than seeing him charged with a crime. Perhaps the girlfriend is looking to get rid of the boyfriend so she can keep the apartment and the child. The quickest way to accomplish that goal is to call the police and say Johnny threatened to punch my face in. Goodbye Johnny. Hello prison cell. Sadly, this scenario is quite common and frequently employed by "victims" who know how to work the system.
He Said, She Said. When there is no evidence of a crime, other than one person's word against another and there are no admissions to the commission of the crime by the defendant, juries inevitably have a difficult time returning guilty verdicts. Since it's the State's burden of proof to prove you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, an acquittal can be achieved through skillful cross-examination of the police officers and "victim". Oftentimes, it's not even necessary to put the defendant on the stand to testify when it is a case of "he said, she said".
These are just two examples of common defenses that can be employed in a Domestic Violence Terrorizing case. However, many more defenses can be uncovered through careful investigation of the case, which includes employing a PI. Since each case is unique, they need to be reviewed on a case by case basis. There is no cookie cutter solution to a legal problem. With that said, a skilled trial attorney can make all difference in your case.
If you've been charged with any crime of domestic violence, take that charge seriously. Call The Law Office of William T. Bly. We have the experience and judgment necessary to secure a favorable outcome in your DV case. Call us at (207) 571-8146.