Domestic violence can be defined as any abusive, violent, coercive, forceful, or threatening act or word inflicted by one member of a family or household on another.
In the state of Montana, a person is charged with domestic violence if they cause bodily injury, negligently cause bodily harm with a weapon or threaten a household member by creating a reasonable fear of bodily injury.
If domestic violence occurs within a household, a victim may file a temporary protection order that will require a person who was charged with domestic violence to stay away from and make no contact with the victim. A temporary protection order may turn into a permanent protection order if the physical and emotional damages are severe enough.
Attorney for Domestic Violence Cases in Helena, MT
If you are facing charges for domestic violence in Helena or anywhere else in Montana, contact Greg Beebe, an experienced criminal defense attorney at Beebe Law Firm. Greg Beebe is an aggressive and experienced attorney who is familiar with Montana's domestic violence laws and is ready to represent you. Related criminal charges include child abuse, witness tampering, and tampering with a communication device, or
Related criminal charges include assault, aggravated assault, child abuse, witness tampering, and tampering with a communication device, or interfering with a 911 call.
Greg Beebe also represents residents in Lewis and Clark County, Missoula County, Gallatin County or other Montana Counties. Call us today at 1 (406) 442-3625.
Montana is a "Preferred Arrest" State
As a "preferred arrest" state, law enforcement officers in Montana must attempt to ascertain the predominant aggressor in order to avoid dual arrests. The officers are trained to investigate which person should be classified as the "predominant aggressor" or the most significant aggressor in the situation. In Montana, the officers are trained to avoid the "dual arrest" by conducting an extensive investigation when it appears that the aggression is equally mutual.
Many domestic violence cases involve allegations of self-defense when one person uses force against another based on a reasonable belief that the force was necessary for defense against another's imminent use of unlawful force. Self defense in Montana falls under MCA 45-3-102 for the use of force in defense of a person, and MCA 45-3-105 for the use of force by an aggressor.
The self-defense statutes in Montana take in account whether the injuries were offensive or defenses, the size and strength of the parties, any history of violence, and the statements of all parties.
No Contact Orders in Helena, Montana
If you were charged with a violation of Partner or Family Member Assault (PFMA) in violation of section 45-5-206 MCA, then you will be served with a “No Contact Order” by a law enforcement officer either at the scene of the incident or at the Detention Center.
The order for no contact will warn you that you are prohibited from having any contact with the alleged victim(s) of this offense. No contact means no contact by phone, email, in person (within 1500 feet), electronic communications, and through a third-party. The “No Contact Order” issued before the initial appearance in court remains in effect for 72 hours or until your first appearance in court.
You will be served with another No Contact Order by the Municipal Court Judge at the time of your initial appearance in court after an accusation that you violated any provision of the Partner or Family Member Assault (PFMA) under 45-5-206 MCA. In Helena, the first appearance is done via video conferencing from the Detention Center at 8:00 a.m. on the next business day. The No Contact Order served a first appearance court remains in effect until the case is resolved.
If you violate the no contact order served by the arresting officer immediately after the arrest or by the municipal court judge at first appearance, then you can be charged with a criminal offense under section 45-5-209 MCA. A violation can occur even if the person protected by the order invites you or allows you to violate the order.
In some cases, the alleged victim wants to have contact while the domestic violence case is pending. Although the person accused should never discuss this request with the alleged victim, the alleged victim is permitted to talk with the prosecutor or the defendant’s criminal defense attorney about the case and the request to remove the no contact order.
The criminal defense attorney can also file a motion to lift the No Contact Order and get the case scheduled for a hearing as quickly as possible. At the hearing, the judge might ask the alleged victim questions about the reason for the request and other questions about the circumstances of the underlying case.
Domestic Violence Charges Information Center
- Violation of a Protection Order
- Child Endangerment
- Custodial Inference
- False Imprisonment
- Child Abuse/ Child Neglect
- Domestic Assault
A person commits the offense of violation of an order of protection if the person, with knowledge of the order, purposely or knowingly violates a provision of a Temporary order for maintenance or support, temporary injunction or temporary restraining order.
If there was an additional crime committed during the violation of the protection order, the penalties could become much more severe. Repeat restraining order violations can sometimes result in top-level felony charges and up to three years in prison.
In the state of Montana, child endangerment occurs when a person engages in conduct that places a child in imminent danger of death, bodily injury, or physical or mental impairment.
A person commits the offense of criminal child endangerment if the person purposely, knowingly, or negligently causes substantial risk of death or serious bodily injury to a child under the age 14 by:
- failing to seek reasonable medical care for a child suffering from an apparent acute life-threatening condition;
- placing a child in the physical custody of another who the person knows has previously purposely or knowingly caused bodily injury to a child;
- placing a child in the physical custody of another who the person knows has previously committed an offense against the child;
- manufacturing or distributing dangerous drugs in a place where a child is present;
- operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or dangerous drugs with a child in the vehicle; or
- failing to attempt to provide proper nutrition for a child, resulting in a medical diagnosis of nonorganic failure to thrive.
Stalking is a pattern of behavior that makes a person feel afraid, nervous, harassed, or in danger. The act of stalking can include repeatedly contacting someone, following someone, talking to someone when he or she does not want him or her to, or threatening someone.
A person commits the offense of stalking if the person purposely or knowingly causes another substantial emotional distress or reasonable apprehension of bodily injury or death by repeatedly following someone or harassing, threatening, or intimidating someone in person or by mail, electronic communication, or any other action, device or method.
In Montana, bigamy is the act of going through a marriage ceremony while already married to another person.
A person commits the offense of bigamy if, while married, the person knowingly contracts or tries to contract another marriage unless at the time of the subsequent marriage:
- the offender believes on reasonable grounds that the prior spouse is dead;
- the offender and the prior spouse have been living apart for five consecutive years throughout which the prior spouse was not known by the offender to be alive;
- a court has entered a judgment trying to terminate or annul any prior disqualifying marriage, and the offender does not know that judgment to be invalid; or
- the offender reasonably believes that the offender is legally eligible to remarry.
Custodial interference can be defined simply as the taking/keeping of a child from his or her parent with the intent to interfere with that parent's physical custody of the child. This is a crime in most states, even if the offending parent also has custody rights.
A person commits the offense of custodial interference if, knowing that the person has no legal right to do so, the person takes, entices, or withholds from lawful custody any child, incompetent person, or other person entrusted by authority of law to the custody of another person or institution.
To convict someone of custodial interference, the State must prove the following elements:
- the defendant took, enticed or withheld a child from his or her lawful custody; and
- the child was an incompetent person or a person entrusted by authority of law to the custody of another person or institution; and
- the defendant knew and was aware that he/she had no legal right to do so.
In the state of Montana, false imprisonment, also known as criminal restraint, occurs when someone unlawfully restrains someone else without his or her consent.
The elements of false imprisonment are:
- intentional imprisonment;
- lawful justification;
- use or threats of force;
- false imprisonment and kidnapping; and
- civil false imprisonment.
Child Abuse/Child Neglect
Child abuse is defined as any cruelty inflicted upon a child, including mental abuse, physical harm, neglect, and sexual abuse or exploitation. The specific crimes charged in instances of child abuse can include assault and battery.
In Montana, certain individuals and caregivers are required by law to report suspected child abuse. Nevertheless, unfortunately, many cases of child abuse go unreported.
Child neglect is a form of abuse in which a caregiver fails to provide for the child in some way that could result in physical, emotional or psychological harm. When most people consider mistreatment of a child, they think of physical abuse such as hurting or molesting the child, but neglect is passive abuse.
Montana Coalition against Domestic & Sexual Violence – Visit the Montana Coalition Against Domestic & Sexual Violence to read more about how they are trying to end domestic and sexual violence in the state of Montana.
Montana Child & Family Services Division – Visit the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services website to read more about they are keeping children safe and keeping families strong in Montana.
Domestic VIolence Field Guide - Visit the website for the Montana Law Enforcement Academy to find the Domestic Violence Field Guide. This "how to" manual explains to officers how to conduct investigations, laws pertaining to domestic violence, and information on helping victims obtain orders of protections.
Find a Domestic Violence Lawyer in Helena, Montana
Domestic violence charges in the state of Montana are very serious offenses, and if charged, you need the assistance of a criminal defense attorney. If you are charged with domestic violence in the state of Montana, you need to contact Greg Beebe at Beebe Law Firm.
Greg Beebe at Beebe Law Firm is prepared to assist you, no matter what criminal charges you face. Call to find out defenses to charges being prosecuted in Lewis and Clark County, Missoula County, Gallatin County or other Montana communities.
Criminal charges related to domestic violence cases including child abuse, assault, aggravated assault, witness tampering, tampering with a communication device, or interference with a 911 case.
The office is conveniently located at 1085 Helena Avenue in Helena, Montana, between Idaho Avenue and North Dakota Avenue. Call us today at 1 (406) 442-3625.
This article was last updated on Thursday, August 4, 2016.