Kansas Domestic Violence Laws
Kansas has various laws covering domestic violence. These laws protect family and household members from domestic abuse. Family and household members are defined as any of the following: spouses, former spouses, parents, stepparents, children, stepchildren, persons who presently or in the past resided together, persons who have a child in common, and persons who are or were previously dating.
Overview of Kansas Domestic Violence Laws
In Kansas, domestic violence is a threat or act of violence against a family or household member. Domestic violence also includes the commission of any crime against a person or property which is directed at a family or household member. Therefore, if an abuser decides to vandalize an ex-spouse's car, it is still domestic violence since it was a crime directed at a family or household member.
The penalty for domestic violence depends upon the crime committed and any prior convictions. The penalties increase as the number of prior convictions increase. For example, domestic battery is a Class B misdemeanor punishable by up to 6 months in prison and up to $500 in fines. A second conviction is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year in prison and up to $1,000 in fines. A third or subsequent conviction is a felony punishable by up to 1 year in prison and up to $7,500 in fines.
Victims can also seek a restraining order or an "order of protection" from a court to protect themselves from an abuser. These orders prohibit the abuser from coming within a certain distance of their victim.
A temporary restraining order may be issued without the abuser present on the same day a petition is filed based upon good cause. It is considered good cause if the victim or minor children are shown to be in immediate and present danger. A temporary restraining order is valid from the time a petition is filed until the court hearing for the order or protection. At the hearing, both sides are able to present their arguments before a judge decides upon whether or not to issue an order of protection. Once issued, an order of protection is good for one year but may be renewed after it expires if the court finds that the threat of domestic violence still exists.
If a restraining or protective order is violated by the abuser, it is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year in prison and up to $1,000 in fines.
Getting Legal Help
If you're facing a domestic abuse charge or have violated an order of protection and need assistance, you can contact a Kansas criminal defense attorney or public defender for help. If you are a domestic violence victim, various non-profit agencies also exist to assist domestic violence victims for no fee or a reduced fee.
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