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Important Definitions to Know for a Delaware Domestic Violence Case


If you have been served with paperwork regarding a restraining order and allegations of domestic violence, it is critical to take action right away. One of the first tasks is to understand the basics of the laws, starting with a key term. Delaware defines domestic violence as certain acts listed in the statute, which are perpetrated against individuals with whom you have a relationship of some type. Even within this basic definition, there are numerous terms that also need description.

Therefore, you should be familiar with some of the fundamental terminology for a case involving an order of protection. After reviewing the documents served upon you, it should be clear that the case includes serious allegations that have profound effects for your rights. Fortunately, you can rely on your Wilmington domestic violence defense lawyer to tackle all essential tasks for your case. It is also helpful to be familiar with some of the terminology.

Persons Protected: Delaware domestic violence laws protect individuals who have a family or relationship background with the accused. The definition covers:

  • Family members, including spouses;
  • A couple cohabiting with each other, when one has a child or they share children;
  • Persons related by blood or marriage who live in the same household;
  • Former spouses;
  • Individuals who are now or were in a romantic relationship; and,
  • Many others as designated by law.

Abuse: This definition applies to the acts a defendant engages in when the victim is a protected person. Abuse covers all types of intentional and reckless conduct involving violence, physical injuries, or sexual assault. Plus, a person could also face charges when making threats or acting in a way that causes distress or alarm for the victim.

Protective Order: There are many terms in different states for what is familiarly known as a restraining order or order of protection. Delaware uses protective order to describe an order entered by the court which prohibits certain conduct by the respondent, i.e., person accused of domestic violence. The order may include bans on contacting the accuser and being present at the petitioner’s work or school. For some respondents, this may mean leaving the residence.

 First Offender Treatment: This term may be important for your case if you qualify, as you can avoid the harshest consequences of a domestic violence case. You can request first offender treatment, in which you will enter a guilty plea. Instead of facing penalties, you enter a probation program that requires you to meet certain conditions set by the court, such as alcohol and substance abuse treatment. If you comply with all terms, there is no conviction on your record.

Learn More by Consulting with a Delaware Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer

These definitions regarding domestic violence cases are helpful, and you will probably hear them often throughout the proceedings. For more information on how the process works for a restraining order, please contact Attorney Michael W. Modica. You can set up a consultation at our Wilmington, DE office by calling 302.600.1262 or visiting us online. After reviewing your case, a criminal defense lawyer will advise you.



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