Domestic violence, also called intimate partner violence, can happen to anyone, regardless of age, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, sex, or sexual orientation. Statistics from the National Coalition against Domestic Violence (NCADV) show that rates of domestic violence in Alaska are among the highest in the nation, with about four out of ten women, and three out of ten men, experiencing abuse by an intimate partner or family member.

Just as anyone can be a victim, anyone may find themselves charged with domestic violence. Sometimes those charges are justified, and sometimes they are not. Raised voices and harsh words during an argument can bring the police to your door, and a partner’s momentary anger can result in false accusations and your arrest. Once the wheels for a domestic violence charge have been set in motion, they are difficult to stop; a partner cannot simply “take back” an accusation. Once allegations have been made, your fate is in the hands of the police and prosecutors, who take those accusations very seriously.

You don’t need to touch or even actively threaten another person to be charged with a domestic violence crime. These charges are often based on the alleged victim’s reported experience. For instance, if you punched a wall or door out of frustration, and your partner perceived your action as a threat, you could be charged with a crime.

Even if the charges against you are mistaken, false, or exaggerated, you need to be proactive in fighting them, and you need a strong defense. A conviction of domestic violence can result in jail time and thousands of dollars in fines as well as loss of your job, relationships, reputation and more.

Everyone facing such serious consequences deserves fair treatment and a strong defense. Domestic violence lawyer Eric Derleth can ensure you get both.

Alaska Domestic Violence Penalties

Domestic violence can involve criminal or civil penalties, and often both. In addition to imprisonment and fines, some of the consequences you could face include:

Barriers to Licensing and Employment

In Alaska, "barrier crimes" are those that keep the convicted person from holding certain licenses or employment, as they will show up on that person's background checks. If you have a license through the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) and are convicted of a crime of domestic violence, you will likely lose your license and job.

Restriction of Personal Liberties

In Alaska, if a domestic violence restraining order (DVRO) has been issued against you, you may be subject to personal restrictions. You may be required to avoid communication or contact with the alleged victim, barred from certain locations, forced to surrender any firearms in your possession, and even required to refrain from consuming alcoholic beverages, (if you were accused of drunken acts). If you violate any requirements under a DVRO, you could face additional criminal charges.

Loss of Child Custody

Under Alaska Statute 25.24.150(g), there is a rebuttable presumption that any parent found guilty of committing an act of domestic violence against another partner or a child may not be granted sole custody, joint physical custody, or joint legal custody of a child. Unfortunately, some parents make false allegations against the other parent to try and gain the upper hand in a custody dispute.

Work with an Experienced Alaska Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer

With your freedom and so much else at stake, you cannot afford to risk a conviction of domestic violence. An experienced criminal defense lawyer can be the difference between moving forward with your life and losing everything that is important to you.

Attorney Eric Derleth is an Alaska native who has spent the last 25 years defending Alaskans charged with crimes, including those involving domestic violence. Eric is known as “the Trial Guy” because of his intensive preparation for trial and his ability to connect with juries. However, Eric’s in-depth attention to each case often enables him to have his clients’ charges reduced or dismissed entirely before trial.

Based in Soldotna, Eric serves the Kenai Peninsula, Anchorage, the Mat-Su Valley, Juneau, Fairbanks, and other areas throughout Alaska. Call Eric at 907-262-9164 or contact our law office today to schedule your free, confidential consultation.