Partner or Family Member Assault (PFMA) is a serious charge alleging that the defendant has assaulted a family member or a current or past romantic partner.
A PFMA charge is what’s known as a tiered offense, meaning that the potential consequences for a conviction become more severe with each one. Potential consequences can include fines, probation, and jail time. Penalties may increase if there are allegations that a weapon was involved or if you have prior convictions of other crimes, such as aggravated assault, strangulation, or assault with a weapon.
What is considered PFMA?
In Montana, it is considered that a person commits the offense of Partner or Family Member Assault if he or she:
- Intentionally causes bodily harm to a partner or family member
- Negligently injures a partner or family member with a weapon
- Purposefully or deliberately causes a reasonable apprehension of fear of bodily harm to a partner or family member
A PFMA charge can sometimes result from an argument, a misunderstanding, or even a mental health issue affecting either the defendant or the victim. The charge can also result from a perceived threat of violence, even when no violence has occurred at all.
Partner and family definitions
The definition of “partner” encompasses both men and women. It includes:
- Husbands and wives
- Former spouses
- Individuals who have a child in common
- Boyfriends/girlfriends, people who are dating, or have an ongoing romantic relationship
- Ex-boyfriends and ex-girlfriends
The “family member” description includes:
- Mothers and fathers
- Brothers and sisters
- Any former or current member of a household
- Any relationship formed through adoption or marriage
These relationships are considered to be continuing regardless of the parties’ ages or whether they live under the same roof.
What you need to know
If you’ve been charged with PFMA, you may feel that there is nowhere to turn for help or support. Many services exist for victims of PFMA, but those who are charged with the offense may find that the only services aimed at themselves are those seeking to punish them.
If you’ve been charged with PFMA, you need a strong defense. You may also need assistance addressing underlying issues that lead to the incident. An experienced attorney can help you navigate the criminal justice system, stand up for your rights, and see you for the individual that you are.
We are here for you
At Judnich Law, our legal team will listen to your side of the story and fiercely advocate for your rights. Martin Judnich, our experienced PFMA attorney, will represent you in court and work with you at every stage of the process to ensure the best possible result. If necessary, we will thoroughly investigate your case to find evidence to support a claim of self-defense.
If you have been charged with a Partner or Family Member Assault offense in Montana, you are not alone. Our team at Judnich Law is here to help you defend your rights. If you have any questions, call us at (406)721-3354 or contact our office here to get the legal representation that you need.
Marty is a former criminal prosecutor in the Cascade County Attorney’s Office and now uses that experience to defend those accused of crimes. A University of Montana School of Law graduate, Marty focuses his practice on personal injury and criminal defense and is a premier DUI defense attorney. He is also well versed in the insurance claims industry and has negotiated significant settlements with nearly every major insurance company.