The Crime of Domestic Violence in Mississippi
Domestic violence in Mississippi is classified as either simple or aggravated. This law can be found in the Mississippi Code, Title 97, Chapter 3, Section 7 (97-3-7). Simple domestic violence is when a person (a) attempts to cause or purposely, knowingly or recklessly causes bodily injury to another; or (b) negligently causes bodily injury to another with a deadly weapon or other means likely to produce death or serious bodily harm; or (c) attempts by physical menace to put another in fear of imminent serious bodily harm. The victim must be a family or household member who resides with the defendant or who formerly resided with the defendant, a current or former spouse, a person who has a current dating relationship with the defendant, or a person with whom the defendant has had a biological or legally adopted child. Mississippi law defines “dating relationship” as a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature.
Simple domestic violence in Mississippi is a misdemeanor punishable up to six months in jail and/or a fine of up to $500. However, a third conviction for simple domestic violence within five years is a felony and is punishable from 5-10 years.
Aggravated domestic violence, as its name suggests, is much more serious. It’s when a person (a) attempts to cause serious bodily injury to another, or causes such injury purposely, knowingly or recklessly under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life; or (b) attempts to cause or purposely or knowingly causes bodily injury to another with a deadly weapon or other means likely to produce death or serious bodily harm.
Aggravated domestic violence is punishable from one year in the county jail to up to 20 years in the state penitentiary. In most instances it will be a felony, but there may be some cases where it is a misdemeanor.
A Mississippi criminal lawyer can explain the legal process more if you’ve been charged with domestic violence. If you are a first-time offender you may be worried about being convicted and having this charge on your record. Being permanently convicted of domestic violence can hurt you in many ways. Under federal law, anyone convicted of this kind of charge is prohibited from ever owning or purchasing a firearm. Furthermore, being labeled as a violent person can harm your employment prospects and carry a lifetime stigma.
However, first-time offenders do have options for avoiding a permanent conviction. Having a Mississippi domestic violence lawyer on your side can help. There may be options such as supervised or unsupervised probation, or court-ordered anger management classes. If the victim does not want to press charges, having him or her sign an affidavit and presenting it to the court can also help achieve a fair outcome. Of course you can always fight the charge, but if there are ways to avoid the stress and risk of trial then those should be considered.