Domestic Violence in Iowa
In Iowa, the term domestic violence is also known as "domestic abuse." According to Iowa Code Section 236.2(2), domestic abuse can be defined as committing "assault" under any of the following circumstances:
- The assault is between family or household members who resided together at the time of the assault.
- The assault is between separated spouses or persons divorced from each other and not residing together at the time of the assault.
- The assault is between persons who are parents of the same minor child, regardless of whether they have been married or have lived together at any time.
- The assault is between persons who have been family or household members residing together within the past year and are not residing together at the time of the assault.
- The assault is between persons who are in an intimate relationship or have been in an intimate relationship and have had contact within the past year of the assault.
General Provisions of the Law
Under Iowa Code Section 708.1(2), a person commits an assault when, without justification, the person does any of the following:
- Any act which is intended to cause pain or injury to, or which is intended to result in physical contact which will be insulting or offensive to another, coupled with the apparent ability to execute the act
- Any act which is intended to place another in fear of immediate physical contact which will be painful, injurious, insulting, or offensive, coupled with the apparent ability to execute the act
- Intentionally pointing any firearm toward another, or displaying in a threatening manner, any dangerous weapon toward another
Possible Consequences and Penalties
The possible penalties of a domestic violence conviction in Iowa include:
First Offense: This is a simple misdemeanor charge. Punishable by up to 30 days imprisonment in county jail and a fine of between $65 and $625.
Second Offense: This is a serious misdemeanor charge. Punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of between $315 and $1,875. Also, a first offense where the victim suffered bodily injury or mental illness will also be classified as a serious misdemeanor.
Involved a Dangerous Weapon: A domestic abuse that involved the use of a dangerous weapon is considered an aggravated misdemeanor. Punishable by up to two years in county jail and a fine of between $625 and $6,250.
Third & Subsequent Offenses: Third and subsequent offenses are considered as Class D felonies. Punishable by up to five years imprisonment and a fine of between $750 and $7,500.
Other possible consequences of a domestic violence conviction include:
- Domestic violence restraining or protective order
- Loss of child custody rights or parenting privileges
- Several hours of community service
- Inability to own or possess a firearm in Iowa
- Future employment difficulties
- Ineligibility for certain jobs, educational, or professional opportunities
- Possible deportation from the United States
- Permanent criminal record
Possible Legal Defenses
When accused of domestic violence in Iowa, your attorney can fight your charges using any of the following defenses:
- False accusations
- Stand your ground (You didn't do it)
- Lack of intent
- Defense of others or property
- Absence of injuries
- Mutual confrontation
- Inconsistencies in the evidence
- Error during the investigation
- Dispute the facts of the case
- The violence occurred due to the victim's behavior
An experienced attorney can intervene quickly on your behalf, try to negotiate with the state prosecutor, or take preemptive measures to make sure no case is filed against you.