Asked in Criminal Law and Domestic Violence for Alabama

Q: In Alabama can two people be charged for domestic violence by strangulation a month apart for the same incident?

My son was arrested for domestic violence by strangulation in alabama, when he went back a month later trying to file charges on his wife for domestic violence by strangulation the sheriff's deputy refused to write a report even though he had proof and they knew she was guilty because she had admitted to it when the first report was filed. the sheriff's deputy told him that once a court date had been set no one else could be charged for the same incident. Is this true?

2 Lawyer Answers
Samuel G McKerall
Samuel G McKerall
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Gulf Shores, AL

A: Some judges, Clerks and law enforcement offices read the law as though it prohibits a person from filing a retaliatory domestic violence case. Others do not. There is a difference of opinion, and I don't know whether one of our appellate courts has answered the question. It is my opinion this is wrong, but many do not agree with me. Your son is involved in a jurisdiction where they don't permit cross actions for domestic violence.

All is not lost, however. Your son will (or should) have an opportunity to tell his side of the story in court, and I wish him luck with it. If he wants to make his own luck, he should hire a good local criminal defense attorney. He or she may be able to work out a solution in which the case is dismissed without a judgment that either party is guilty. It's best if a conviction can be avoided. If the court result doesn't suit him, he has a right to appeal to the Circuit Court. (Most of these actions begin in a lower court, called the District Court).

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A: I agree completely with Mr. McKerall.

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