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Cedar Rapids Criminal Lawyer: Domestic Assault Abuse during Covid


No one plans for domestic assault.

A domestic assault in Iowa law is an assault on someone with whom the Defendant shares a special relationship. The relationship must be one of the following:

1. Between family or household members who resided together at the time of the assault;

2. The assault is between separated spouses or persons divorced from each other and not living together at the time of the assault;

3. The assault is between persons who are parents of the same minor child, regardless of whether they have been married or have lived together at any time;

4. The assault is between persons who have been family members or residing together in the last year but are not residing together at the time of the assault;

5. The assault is between persons who are in an intimate relationship.

To find whether or not someone is an “intimate relationship,” the court looks to duration of the relationship, frequency of interaction, whether the relationship is terminated, and the nature of the relationship characterized by either party’s expectation of sexual or romantic involvement.

A person can be in more than one intimate relationship at once under the law.

In this context, family or household members excludes children under the age of eighteen. An “intimate relationship” is a significant romantic involvement that need not include a sexual involvement but does not include casual social relationships or associations in a business or professional capacity.

Following an investigation, if an officer finds that a domestic assault has occurred, he or she must make an arrest under Iowa state law but may exclude the victim from arrest if it is apparent he or she was merely engaging in self-defense.

At initial appearance following arrest, the defendant is typically subject to a no-contact order to protect the alleged victim while the prosecution is pending. If the case results in anything other than dismissal or acquittal, it is likely that the Court will enter a renewable, five year no-contact order as part of any sentencing order.

Certain mandatory minimum sentences apply in domestic assaults that do not apply in ordinary assaults. All misdemeanor domestic assaults carry with them a mandatory minimum 48 hour jail sentence. Third offense domestic assault is a felony and requires at least one year in state prison.

All convicted domestic abusers must enroll in, and successfully complete, Iowa Domestic Abuse Program, or, IDAP, a 24 week behavioral modification program administered by the Department of Correctional Services and the Department of Corrections.

How Covid might affect an arrest for Domestic Assault Abuse in a Cedar Rapids criminal case.

The Iowa Supreme Court and the Sixth Judicial District, including all courts in Cedar Rapids, Iowa city, and Linn, Benton, Jones, Johnson, Tama, and Iowa counties have directed judges, counsel, and court personnel to limit personal contact. The chief judge in the Sixth Judicial District has effectively reduced some arrests to “arrest by citation,” and has named only a handful of arrests that should be treated as mandatory.

Even if defendants are arrested for domestic abuse assault in Cedar Rapids, the Hon. Susan Larson Christensen, Chief Justice of the Iowa Supreme Court, has issued an order that allows waiver of initial appearances, authorized telephone and videoconferencing for court appearances that normally require personal presence, and strongly recommended courts employ pretrial release where possible.

If you or a loved one have been arrested for domestic assault abuse in Cedar Rapids, Iowa City, or other Iowa community, let us help you navigate the criminal prosecution. We practice in no other area of the law except for the criminal law. This is what we do. And this is all we do. Contact us for a free initial consultation.

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