Battery: Good for Christmas Toys, Bad for Christmas


That is:  Getting a Domestic Battery charge is one of the worst ways to spend an Arkansas holiday.

The Holidays (Christmas, Thanksgiving, and New Years, that is) can be particularly tough on families. Money is tight because of Christmas. You’re spending a lot of time around people that you may not like but can’t avoid. You have to eat a lot of mushy food. You know exactly what I’m talking about. We all know that the Pilgrims, baby Jesus, and Auld Lang Syne should be times for joy, but for many families, it just ain’t so.


We’ve talked about this before as it related to child custody, but these Holiday blues can also easily translate into a criminal law issue: Domestic Battery. What is Domestic Battery in Arkansas, you ask? Basically, it’s a family fight. According to the law, there are two main things to remember:

  1. The “Domestic” part of Domestic Battery: The conflict needs to be a “domestic relationship.” This is where it gets crazy: A domestic relationship includes anyone that you’ve ever lived with, pretty much anyone that you’re related to, and anyone with whom you’re romantically involved. Yes, that is a lot people.
  1. The “Battery” part of Domestic Battery. A Battery can be either purposefully or recklessly causing physical injury to a person.

It doesn’t take much imagination to see how you could get here quickly. Imagine this scenario: Cousin Sue and Cousin Lilith get into a spirited debate over how much sage to put into the dressing. Sue loves her sage; Lilith does not. Sue and Lillith have (incidentally) been enjoying the holiday punch (aptly named, as it turns out), much of which is Southern Comfort whiskey. Bad idea.

Lilith calls Sue unrefined because of her overindulgence in sage. Sue calls Lillith a slut, which brings back a lot of bad high school memories for Lillith.

Lilith tries to leaves in a huff, but her sister Judy won’t let her get into her car. They yell at each other in the driveway, which causes one of the snoopy neighbors to call the police.

Lllith pushes Judy out of the way as the police are pulling into the driveway. At that point Lilith is charged with 3rd Degree Domestic Battery and taken to jail, where she could face up to a year in jail and a $2,500 fine.

Judy begs the police not to take her sister, but, contrary to what you see in the movies, Judy has no control over what the police do. Judy can’t simply “drop the charges”—they are not her charges to drop.

That’s when Lillith needs to call an Arkansas Criminal Defense Lawyer. Like us, for instance.