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A Key Development in Domestic Violence Defenses

The concerns about domestic violence in many Western countries has led to detailed studies and new laws about this often unreported crime. Most states in the United States have specific statutes for criminal domestic battery where there are certain intimate relationships involved.

In a recent blog post, the seriousness the United States has placed on this issues was discussed because of the SCOTUS case affirming that a misdemeanor conviction of domestic violence could cause a life time loss of the core civil right to keep and bear arms (the other core civil liberties are the right to hold elected office, sit on a jury, and vote).

Some states have now adopted provisions to allow the right to keep and bear arms to be restored, but this is discretionary. Attorneys have also had some successes before trials, during and after in removing this bar. This is very technical, and requires the skills of an attorney familiar within the legal area.

A recent case of the Indiana Court of Appeals (July, 2016) shows one way to begin to minimize the impact of a domestic violence conviction.1 In this case, Gomez was convicted of three counts of Class A misdemeanor domestic violence. On appeal, he was able to get all but one reversed since the acts constituting the crime were almost simultaneous, constituting one crime, not three crimes. This is known as the “continuous crime doctrine.”

Thus, in the future if Gomez were to seek restoration of his right to keep and bear arms or otherwise challenge his conviction, presumably it would be much easier to make progress with one conviction than three. Domestic violence cases have many defenses, including the affirmative defense of self defense, but they must be considered at the start of a case to avoid waiver and minimize or preclude later ways to remedy the disqualification.

This blog post was written by attorneys at Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. It is not intended as legal advice or a solicitation for services. It is for general educational purposes. It is an advertisement. Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. advocates handle domestic violence and other criminal cases and restoration of rights matters throughout the State of Indiana.

  1. Ariel Gomez v. State of Indiana, 49A02-1511-CR-2000

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Dixon & Moseley, P.C., is a law firm located in Indianapolis, Indiana. We serve clients in six core practice areas: family lawappellate practicefirearms lawgeneral practicepersonal injury and criminal law.

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