When domestic disputes turn into violent acts, the lawful consequences are much harsher if a child is present at the time. 24 states currently have a statute addressing this issue, and Louisiana is one of them. We know how criminal defense law affects the outcome of your case and can advise you on your best course of action if you find yourself in this situation.

According to the Child Welfare’s document on Child Witness to Domestic Violence, children suffer harm from instances of domestic violence regardless of whether or not they are the direct victim. This includes instances of visual, auditory, or inferred violence committed in the presence of, or perceived by, the child. Studies have shown that children who witness domestic violence suffer emotional and developmental damage almost as if they were the direct victim.

If the state proves that someone below the age of 13 was present at the scene of a domestic violence incident, the judge will add additional penalties to your sentence. A first or second offense removes the option to suspend the minimum mandatory sentence, meaning that you will serve some time in jail. A third offense will add two years to your sentence, and a fourth will add another four.

Also, you must pay for any medical or psychological care that the child may need as a result of the incident. These costs will be in addition to other costs you may incur for the abused adult related to court costs, attorney fees, and his or her own medical and psychological care. More information regarding this topic is available on our webpage about criminal defense.