Penalties and defenses for domestic violence cases

On Behalf of | Dec 7, 2022 | Domestic Violence

A domestic violence arrest might follow you for the rest of your life. Even if you get the charges dropped, there is an understandable stigma that comes with the allegations.

The Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes allows law enforcement to make an arrest without a warrant if they believe probable cause exists. Unfortunately, a false accusation against you might quickly become an actual arrest.


Penalties for domestic violence vary. You might be up against misdemeanor or felony charges, depending on the situation. However, Pennsylvania does not define domestic violence as a crime. Instead, the courts consider the underlying offense. Domestic violence occurs if the act goes against a domestic or intimate partner.

Therefore, the penalty you receive is not based on the charge of domestic violence but on the crime as it falls under assault, reckless endangerment, involuntary manslaughter, stalking etc. The incarceration time you might face ranges from one year up to a maximum of 20 years in prison. Fines range from $2,500 to $25,000.


One potential defense you might pursue is to challenge the arrest. Sometimes law enforcement makes a mistake when they assess the situation. You also might base your defense on the allegations being false. If evidence of violence exists, possible defenses include self-defense, unintentional actions or the defense of another person.

Domestic violence defenses typically are an uphill battle. However, this does not mean you should give up from the outset. Begin your defense immediately, and do not talk to anyone else about the case or post on social media.