Philadelphia Criminal Law News

What's Considered Domestic Violence in Pennsylvania?

Domestic violence comes in many forms. Partner abuse, domestic abuse, dating abuse, or intimate partner violence are only a few of the other names it is known by.

It can involve issues stemming from alcohol abuse or mental illness, or even a squabble over who should win this season of "American Idol," as The York Dispatch reported.

So while many people have a general idea of what domestic violence looks like, the laws do vary by state. Here's a general overview of what it looks like in Pennsylvania:

Not a Separate Charge

In Pennsylvania, domestic violence is not considered a separate charge, but rather is an additional category or charge added onto arlready existing ones. So, for our York county couple obsessed with the Fox reality singing competition, they are facing domestic violence charges amongst many others.

Domestic violence is defined by state law as:

  • Knowingly, intentionally, or recklessly causing bodily injury of any kind;
  • Causing fear of bodily injury, assault, rape; or
  • Knowingly engaging in a repetitive conduct (such as stalking, for example) toward a certain person that puts them in fear of bodily injury.

Domestic violence always involves another family member, or two people who are in an intimate relationship, such as dating, marriage, or a romantic partnership.

Which Crimes Count?

There are specific crimes in Pennsylvania that fall under the domestic violence umbrella. This means that if you are charged with one of the following, you can also face a domestic violence charge as well, if the investigation finds that your spouse or partner was abused in the process:

  • Assault,
  • Battery,
  • Kidnapping,
  • Burglary,
  • Sexual assault,
  • Homicide,
  • False imprisonment,
  • Trespass,
  • Threats, and
  • Criminal restraint.

It can be very scary and difficult for one if they think they might be facing a possible domestic violence charge. If you or someone you know may be involved, it is best to consult an experienced Philadelphia criminal defense lawyer who can help.

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