Nebraska Domestic Violence Charges – What You Need To Know (Infographic)

As a criminal law attorney who defends clients against Nebraska domestic violence charges and represents clients on both sides of domestic violence protection orders, I’ve helped both survivors and those accused of domestic violence for years.

Whether you’re a domestic violence survivor needing a domestic abuse protection order or someone facing Nebraska domestic violence charges, it can be a frightening time. At Hightower Reff, we believe making the legal part of the case more clear helps make it less scary.

Hightower Reff Law is a team of confident, clear, committed attorneys representing clients in the Omaha metro and surrounding areas in family law and criminal defense/dui.

No matter which side of the case you’re on, there are some basics about the law and Nebraska domestic violence charges that you should know:


When you’re facing Nebraska domestic violence charges, a protection order will be filed against you separately. You can use the same lawyer for both.

Get a lawyer on board as soon as you know about the intimate partner abuse allegations. You’ll want to be sure that lawyer knows Nebraska domestic violence law and has experience.

If you’re a survivor, have a lawyer on your side who can support you in getting, and enforcing, a protection order.

Choosing the right lawyer for your domestic violence charges – “Confident. Clear. Committed” can be your guide

At Hightower Reff, “Confident. Clear. Committed” isn’t just a tagline. It’s a guidepost for everything we do. It can also be a guidepost to help you evaluate a lawyer you’re thinking of hiring.

After you meet with the lawyer, and before you make the hiring decision, ask yourself:

  1. Did the lawyer give me information to help make the legal process in my case more CLEAR?
  2. Do I believe the lawyer is COMMITTED to helping me with my case?
  3. Am I CONFIDENT that the lawyer has the experience and skill it takes to make the process in my case as smooth as possible?

A final word of warning – Miranda style 

Of course, it’s almost always a bad idea to talk to police without a lawyer. Remember, anything you say can be used against you… and it’s a good bet that it will be.


This article should not be construed as legal advice. Situations are different and it’s impossible to provide legal advice for every situation without knowing the individual facts. 

For details about the author, Hightower Reff  Partner Attorney Susan Reff, visit her profile page.

More information about Hightower Reff’s practice for domestic violence criminal charges is available here.

If you need information about our practice for domestic abuse protection orders, you can find it here.

If you need help with a domestic violence related case – whether it’s in criminal court or a family law related case, contact us today and schedule a time to meet with Susan by phone, or at our Omaha office.


Domestic Violence and the Military: What to Know if It Happens to You

shutterstock_363338615-thumb-500x334-68160Sara Palin’s son Track’s recent arrest for domestic violence related charges has put the issue of veterans and domestic violence in the headlines. The Palin camp says that the army vet’s service in Iraq resulted in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which contributed to the issues that led to the incident.

Whether PTSD or something else is truly the major contributing factor to Track Palin’s problems, one thing is clear. Domestic violence among our active military and veterans is a problem…and an underreported one at that.

Getting help in a domestic violence situation can be frightening and humiliating for anyone. For members of our military and their significant others, the stakes are high and the issues can be even more complicated.

Reasons Military Domestic Violence May Go Unreported

In military domestic violence cases, it could be the abuser’s career at stake, which makes some victims reluctant to report. In many military families, the service member is the sole source of support for the family, so the fear of losing that income can be daunting.

Also, military life is unique. Many families move from base to base, sometimes in foreign countries. This can lead to a feeling of isolation that adds to the fear of reporting for survivors.

Get Help and Know Your Options 

The military offers its own set of resources to address domestic violence, including the Family Advocacy Program (FAP). Family advocates are specifically trained to help survivors deal with domestic violence.

There are two options for reporting domestic violence to the military during service: restricted and unrestricted. In restricted reporting, military command and law enforcement are not notified. A restricted report starts with contacting an FAP supervisor, clinician, victim advocate or a health care provider and requesting a “restricted report.” However, those that may be considered at “imminent risk of serious harm” cannot use the restricted report option and it can’t be used in child abuse cases.

After the restricted report is started, the survivor can access victim advocacy services including help in developing a safety plan to prevent further abuse, information about military and civilian protective orders, an escort to meetings, medical and court appointments and information about military and civilian medical, legal and community resources.

The other option is unrestricted reporting, which includes investigation of the abuse and military command involvement. This option can mean added support and protection to the reporting survivor. It can also mean military administrative action against the offender.

If a victim decides to make an unrestricted report, a FAP advocate will help them make a report to civilian law enforcement.

Military spouses who are victims of domestic violence also have all of the traditional means of help available to them – they can report to civilian law enforcement or they can get help at any of the civilian options available to non-military families.

Don’t Go It Alone

If you have questions about your legal options in any domestic violence situation, having an initial consultation with a lawyer trained in this area of the law can be a very helpful support.

When looking for an attorney, be sure they know family law and are aware of the special legal issues involved in military cases of domestic violence and family law.

This article should not be construed as legal advice. Situations are different and it’s impossible to provide legal advice for every situation without knowing the individual facts. 

Nebraska Domestic Violence Law – What You Should Know if You’re Accused

dv arrestHightower Reff Law has years of experience helping clients on both sides of Omaha Nebraska domestic violence cases – survivors and offenders. Whether you’re a victim needing a protection order or someone accused of domestic violence, the domestic assault lawyers at Hightower Reff in Omaha, Nebraska, believe it’s helpful if clients understand the basics of Nebraska domestic violence law and penalties.

An understanding of the law and processes is important if you’re accused of domestic assault, as you could face serious penalties that affect your family, job and your future.

When you face domestic assault charges, having an attorney experienced in domestic assault cases who knows the law and the court in your county and will zealously represent you and help you make the best decisions during your case is also crucial.

Intimate Partner Assault 

It’s important to start by understanding who Nebraska law considers an intimate partner. Intimate partners can include:

  • a spouse
  • a former spouse
  • someone with whom you have children
  • someone you are dating or have dated in the past

Criminal Penalties and Protection Orders 

The penalties for domestic violence offenses in Nebraska can be steep. Along with criminal charges, you will likely have a protection order filed against you immediately.

The protection order will be addressed separately from your criminal case. You can usually use the same attorney for both, however.

If you’re convicted of a felony domestic assault you could spend up to 50 years in prison. Nebraska law also allows for enhanced penalties if the victim is pregnant.

Nebraska law provides for restitution as well. You could be ordered to pay money to the victim to reimburse them for the cost of medical treatment or to fix or repair property you damaged.

One of the Most Important Things to Remember 

One the most important things you can do if you are charged with a domestic violence criminal offense is to exercise your right to remain silent.

Nebraska law provides for stiff penalties in intimate partner assault crimes and there is a lot of risk in talking to police without the advice of a lawyer experienced in domestic violence law.

Get a Good Lawyer on Board Right Away

The faster you get a lawyer on board, the faster they can start investigating your case and interviewing witnesses — and perhaps find reasons why the case may be able to be dismissed.

Or, the attorney may be able to negotiate a plea bargain before the case gets to the trial phase.

Domestic violence convictions can stick with you for a long time. There are no guarantees, but sometimes, especially on a first offense, it may be possible for an experienced attorney to help you prevent damage or lessen the impact of these serious charges on your future.

This article should not be construed as legal advice. Situations are different and it’s impossible to provide legal advice for every situation without knowing the individual facts. 

Male domestic violence survivors

Domestic violence brings can bring to mind an image of a woman with bruises and black eyes. While this is one face of domestic violence, there are others. Some of them – more than you may think – are male domestic violence survivors.

According to a Centers for Disease Control survey, more than 1 in 4 men will be victims of intimate partner abuse during their lifetimes.

Getting help in a domestic violence/intimate partner abuse situation can be frightening and humiliating. As an attorney who’s worked in this specialized field of law for nearly a decade, I’ve found that embarrassment can be especially intense for male survivors.

If you’re a man experiencing intimate partner abuse, know that there are attorneys who are sensitive to your circumstances and will listen to you. Also, the law is here to protect ALL survivors of domestic violence – male and female.

Nebraska Criminal Domestic Assault Statutes are Gender Neutral

Nebraska law recognizes domestic assault as a separate crime from other forms of assault. Additionally, the language of the statute does not require that there be an actual physical injury for a domestic assault to have happened. In certain situations, threats can be enough.

This law is drafted the way it is in recognition of the fact that domestic abuse takes many different forms – from threats and intimidation to physical assault with weapons or other things that cause injury.

Nebraska Family Law Statues Offer Protection for Male Domestic Violence Survivors 

Nebraska Family Law Statues include the Protection from Domestic Abuse Act. The Act protects all victims of domestic violence and is intended to provide services to help deal with its trauma.

As its name indicates, the Protection from Domestic Abuse Act also provides protection from domestic abuse in the form of protection orders and penalties for violating them.

Domestic abuse protection orders can prohibit an abuser from “threatening, restraining, assaulting, molesting, attacking or otherwise disturbing the peace” of his or her victim. The orders can also forbid phone calls and all forms of contact, remove an abuser from the place where the victim lives and provide for temporary custody of children, among other things.

Emergency Protection Orders 

A traditional protection order requires that the alleged perpetrator be given notice and the opportunity to appear at a hearing to defend themselves against the proposed order. However, the Protection from Domestic Abuse Act allows for emergency protection orders where the victim can show they are in immediate danger of abuse.

These emergency hearings, during which only the survivor is present, are called “ex-parte” hearings. If the court refuses to issue a temporary, ex-parte emergency protection order, it will schedule a hearing where both sides have the chance to present evidence. If the alleged abuser doesn’t show up for that hearing or shows up and fails to convince the court, the court will issue the protection order.

If the court agrees to enter a temporary protection order, the order will remain in effect while the court allows time for the accused to be served with the order and to appear and defend themselves against the protection order continuing.

Once the alleged abuser is served with the ex-parte protection order, it can go several ways:

  • If the alleged abuser is served with the protection order, but doesn’t contact the court to request a hearing within 5 days of being served, the temporary order becomes a final order for one year.
  • If the alleged abuser does request a hearing within 5 days of being served, but  doesn’t show up for the hearing, the order also becomes final for one year.
  • If the alleged abuser requests the hearing within the required time period, and then shows up for the hearing, the court will hear evidence from both sides and decide if the protection order should stand.

When Children are Exposed to Domestic Violence

Along with recognizing that men are sometimes the victims of domestic violence, Nebraska law also recognizes that children exposed to that domestic violence are affected – regardless of who is the victim and who is the abuser.

The law says that both parents are responsible for protecting children from the physical and psychological trauma of domestic violence. This means getting the children out of environments where they’re exposed to domestic violence.

Parents who fail to keep their children out of harm’s way when it comes to domestic violence may lose custody. This could mean the children are placed in foster care – with strangers or with a relative. Whether you’re mom or dad, if you’re a victim of domestic violence and your kids are exposed to it, you’re putting your children and your parental rights at risk.

Protecting Children When you Leave

Regardless of your gender, it’s crucial to take steps to protect your children when you leave a domestic violence situation. That means getting protective orders and custody orders in place. An attorney who knows the ins and outs of the legal and safety issues involved is an important support.

The Nebraska Parenting Act has special provisions for developing Parenting Plans in custody cases involving domestic violence. In all custody cases, specially trained mediators are required to screen for domestic violence. If they determine that domestic violence is an issue, they may find that mediation isn’t appropriate, or that another form of specialized dispute resolution is advisable during which a parenting plan with appropriate protections can be developed and agreed upon by both parties.

If mediation is not an option, or not successful, and the court has to develop a parenting plan in a domestic abuse case, the plan will include provisions to protect the child and/or the child’s parent from further harm.

Don’t Go It Alone

Hightower Reff has a team of attorneys experienced in the specialized issues and procedures that come with domestic abuse cases.

From the criminal end to protection orders and family law and custody issues, we can help. One of our lawyers would be glad to meet with you to talk about how we can help with your case.

Call the office at 402-932-9550, or contact us and make an appointment to come visit with us about your case at our downtown Omaha, Nebraska office.  Don’t go it alone.

This article should not be construed as legal advice. Situations are different and it’s impossible to provide legal advice for every situation without knowing the individual facts. 

For details about the author, Hightower Reff Attorney Scott Hahn, visit his profile page.

More information about protection orders is available here.