What is Traumatic Injury in a Domestic Violence Case?
A lot of Domestic Violence cases in Idaho are charged as Felonies because the State claims there is a “Traumatic Injury.” It can be incredibly frustrating. Maybe there is only evidence of a minor mark or scrape from basic pushing or shoving. Maybe you have no criminal history; however, you still find yourself charged with a Felony. We understand your frustration. The phrase “Traumatic Injury”is somewhat misleading because it sounds like a serious injury; however, a Traumatic Injury does not mean serious injury. It can, in fact, be a very minor injury and still be the reason for Felony charges. Idaho Code Section 18-918 defines a “Traumatic Injury” as: "Traumatic injury" means a condition of the body, such as a wound or external or internal injury, whether of a minor or serious nature, caused by physical force.” As you can see, in the criminal code, even a minor injury can count. Basically you should view it as any injury from a traumatic domestic violence event.
What Kinds of Injuries are Considered Traumatic?
So what does this mean for your domestic violence case exactly? The answer is the same as almost every legal answer, “it depends.” In the case of Domestic Violence charges dealing with Traumatic Injury, the “it depends” is mainly dealing with which county you are charged in and how aggressive they are with arresting and prosecuting charges of Domestic Violence. In counties where law enforcement and prosecutors offices are more aggressive, Traumatic Injury can mean simple red marks, pain, or even soreness. In counties that are less aggressive, this might mean bruises, cuts, or some kind of broken skin causing bleeding. It can also mean pulled out hair, and of course other more serious, yet still minor injuries.
Traumatic Injury is not Aggravated Battery:
However aggressive a county treats Domestic Violence charges, one thing is certain, Traumatic Injury is not the same as aggravated injury. Often times people confuse Traumatic Injury with Aggravated Battery. These are not the same. Aggravated Battery is a serious injury. It is considered “Great Bodily Harm,” which is much different from the minor injury standard required for a “Traumatic Injury.” In reality, it doesn’t take much to be charged with a Felony for Domestic Violence if any type of harm was done.
Can I get my Felony Domestic Violence Charge Reduced to a Misdemeanor?
Often times when the injuries in a Domestic Violence case are minor, even when you were arrested on a Felony, a prosecutor may reduce the charge to a misdemeanor as part of a plea agreement. The factors they will consider include, among other things, are what caused the confrontation, the strength of the evidence in the case, whether there is a history of domestic violence or other criminal history, and whether the alleged victim is supportive of the case. These are all major factors that will be considered in reducing a felony to a misdemeanor when the injuries are minor.
Aaron Hooper, Attorney at Law has significant experience defending Felony Domestic Violence Cases
At Aaron Hooper, Attorney at Law, we have significant experience defending cases of Domestic Violence in the state of Idaho that involve Traumatic Injury and do not involve Traumatic Injury. Aaron Hooper was a prosecutor for 5 years prior to switching to Criminal Defense. Mr. Hooper was the lead prosecutor in Canyon County's Domestic Violence Court, as well as a specialty prosecutor on Felony Domestic Violence caseload. This experience allowed him to get a feel for how these cases are pursued and has placed him in an exceptional position to defend his clients charged with Domestic Violence. Crimes of Domestic Violence are treated very seriously in Idaho. They can lead to prison time and impact your rights, especially your firearm rights. If you have any questions or need representation on your case, please reach out to our office.