Domestic violence crimes are defined as violent criminal acts directed toward certain individuals. Pennsylvania law affords special protection for individuals that fall under the category of a "household member." Household members will typically include anyone that a person shares a child with, a current or former spouse, a relative, a current or former intimate partner, or a child. When the court believes that a domestic violence act has occurred, the matter can be adjudicated in criminal court and in family court as well. The Delaware County Court of Common Pleas, located in Media, PA, will handle these matters in its two appropriate divisions.
Domestic Violence Crimes in Delaware County
Domestic violence crimes may come in several forms. Some common crimes that the court may prosecute as domestic violence include:
- Assault: Inflicting bodily harm on a person with or without the usage of a weapon is considered assault
- Rape: Imposing non-consensual sexual intercourse on a person is considered to be rape, especially when done by force or by threat
- Sexual Assault: Any other non-consensual sexual contact is considered to be sexual assault
- Child Abuse: Physically or sexually assaulting a child can be considered as child abuse
- Pattern of Abuse: A pattern of abuse consists of repeated and consistent abusive acts, and can be used in court against a person
- Terroristic Threats: Causing a person to fear for their immediate safety or to fear imminent infliction of bodily harm can be considered a crime of domestic violence
Police Authority in Domestic Violence Cases in Delaware County
When police officers respond to a potential domestic violence situation, the law permits the officers to have a higher authority to make an arrest. Officers are granted the ability to make an arrest for domestic violence without actually seeing any crime take place, however, they must have a reasonable cause to do so. Typically, an officer will make a judgment based on what is seen at the place the officer is called. Things like broken objects, disheveled furniture, or injuries to either party will often give the officer probable cause to make an arrest. Also, if it is discovered that either party has violated a Protection from Abuse (PFA) order, an arrest can be made as well. Police officers will often make quick judgments based on what they see immediately. This presents little opportunity for both sides of a story to be heard.
After a Domestic Violence Arrest in Delaware County
Domestic violence charges in Delaware County will generally first be addressed at a preliminary hearing in one of the 33 Delaware County Magisterial District Courts. A magisterial district justice will preside over the matter, and the case against the person charged with domestic violence offenses will be prosecuted by a representative of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania; generally an assistant district attorney from the Delaware County District Attorney's Office, which is located in Media, Pennsylvania.
At a domestic violence preliminary hearing in Delaware County, charges can be dismissed, withdrawn, or "held for court," meaning that the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has met their burden against the defendant and that the case will move forward. If a domestic violence offense in Delaware County is "held for court" at a preliminary hearing, a formal arraignment date will be scheduled at the Delaware County Court of Common Pleas in Media, PA. Thereafter, a domestic violence case will generally either go to trial or be resolved through non-trial disposition, which is generally through an agreement between the Delaware County District Attorney's Office, the defendant, the defendant's attorney, and the judge. At the applicable time, domestic violence charges may also be withdrawn or dismissed in some instances.
The Delaware County Court of Common Pleas is located at 201 W. Front Street, Media, PA 19063.
Delaware County Domestic Violence Defense Attorney | Defense Lawyer for Domestic Violence in Media
Domestic violence often charges arise from complex scenarios, however, they are often treated as open-and-shut cases in court. The truth is that every situation is different. The consequences of a domestic violence charge can echo in more than just criminal court as well. A person charged with domestic violence may lose their rights to firearm ownership, and can also suffer negative consequences in any on-going family law matters, such as child custody or divorce proceedings. For these reasons, domestic violence charges are best left in the hands of and experienced criminal defense attorney.