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Every state has domestic violence laws.

Some states have stand-alone domestic abuse laws, while others have domestic violence enhancements or add-ons that can get tacked onto underlying crimes like assault or battery.

No matter the case, the courts and prosecutors take domestic assault very seriously. A mere accusation can cost you big time.

If a verbal disagreement with a loved one turns sour and the police arrest you and charge you with domestic violence in North Dakota, you need an experienced North Dakota criminal defense attorney to fight for your rights. 

Contact the experienced criminal defense lawyers at Arechigo & Stokka today to learn how we can help.


What Is Domestic Violence?

In North Dakota, domestic violence means any physical harm, bodily injury, sexual activity compelled by force, assault, or infliction of fear of any of the above between family or household members.

For purposes of this statute, family or household members are defined as a spouse, family member, former spouse, parent, child, a person related by blood or marriage, an individual you’re dating or living with (or have in the past), or someone with whom you share a child. 

A person cannot be charged with a felony for domestic violence in this District. The jurisdiction only processes domestic violence cases as misdemeanor offenses, overseen by specialized domestic violence prosecutors in dedicated courts.

North Dakota Domestic Abuse Laws

A domestic violence incident can lead to several charges depending on the specific circumstances. 

North Dakota domestic assault is a commonly charged offense resulting from family altercations that turn physical.

A simple assault against a family member usually results in getting charged with domestic assault.

Typically, a first-offense domestic assault charge is a Class B misdemeanor.

However, a second, third, or subsequent domestic violence charge will increase the offense to a Class A misdemeanor.

The crime can become a felony domestic assault offense if the victim suffers serious bodily injury or is under 12 years of age.

In North Dakota, sexual assault, assault, and domestic violence are distinct statutes.

Allegations of domestic violence are often accompanied by accusations of assault or sexual assault and vice versa.

Since they are considered separate offenses, individuals might face more than one charge stemming from a singular incident. 

Upon arrest for domestic violence in Minnesota, individuals face immediate consequences and legal proceedings. These may include being taken into custody, potential bail hearings, and issuance of a protective order. Subsequently, the legal process unfolds, which may involve court appearances, plea negotiations, or a trial. Depending on the severity of the offense and aggravating factors, consequences may range from fines and probation to imprisonment. Additionally, individuals convicted of domestic violence may lose their firearm ownership licenses, face restrictions on contact with the victim, and undergo mandatory counseling or rehabilitation programs.

Quick Reference Guide to Penalties

In North Dakota, the penalties you might face for domestic violence depend on the level of crime you are charged with.

Class B Misdemeanor

  • Maximum of 30 days in jail,
  • Up to a $1,500 fine,
  • Or both.

Class A Misdemeanor 

  • Maximum of one year in jail,
  • Up to a $3,000 fine, 
  • Or both.

Class B Felony

  • Maximum of 10 years in prison,
  • Up to a $20,000 fine,
  • Or both.

Class C Felony

  • Maximum of five years in prison,
  • Up to a $10,000 fine,
  • Or both.

Any domestic violence conviction will result in a criminal record. 

Protective Orders

It is essential to understand that, unlike most crimes, you can face some punishment for domestic violence before you are convicted.

Following a domestic violence incident, the alleged victim will often apply for a protective order.

A temporary protective order is granted ex-parte (without the defendant or defense counsel present), usually based on the victim’s statement.

If the judge grants the protective order, you are barred from having any contact with your accuser.

If you live with your accuser, this might even mean you cannot return to your home.

An experienced defense attorney can help ensure the temporary restraining order does not become permanent.

Contact a North Dakota Domestic Assault Lawyer

At the Criminal Defense Attorney & Workers Compensation Law Offices of Arechigo & Stokka, our team is dedicated to fighting for our clients, no matter the crime charged.

Domestic violence offenses are serious, and North Dakota prosecutes them heavily. However, there are defenses to these charges.

Please contact our skilled criminal defense attorney with over a decade of experience to discuss the options best suited to you. 

Author Photo John T. Arechigo, Esq.

Attorney John Arechigo has a passion for criminal defense in St. Paul, MN. John received his J.D., from Hamline University School of Law and also carries a Bachelor of Arts from, The University of Minnesota. John was named Attorney of the Year for 2019 by Minnesota Lawyer. Additionally, John was also named as a 2019 Rising Star and was selected to Minnesota Super Lawyers in 2021. He devotes nearly 100% of his practice to defending individuals charged with a crime.

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