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Domestic violence affects people of every age, race and income level. But cases of domestic violence (DV) usually make the news only when prominent individuals such as actors, sports stars and reality TV celebrities become involved. These cases often open up important discussions… that are subsequently treated with only cartoonish analysis along the lines of “he’s bad; she’s good” or “she’s wrong; he’s right.” This is tragic, not only because domestic violence isn’t a simple crime but also because trivializing these cases prevents us collectively from reflecting and learning important lessons about ourselves, our habits and strategies that could prevent future violence. To that end, we’re going to summarize some major recent DV cases in the news and dive deeper—using them as a jumping off point to provide meaningful insight for defendants (and others).johnny-depp-DV

Ezekiel Elliot (Accusations Against an NFL Star)

When a former girlfriend accused the Dallas Cowboy’s running back Ezekiel Elliot of domestic violence, the NFL investigated the charges and ordered his suspension for six games. But Elliot refused to take the suspension without a fight; he contended that the league had not given him a fair hearing.

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When you have the right app, your cell phone can be a handy tool in helping you avoid a DUI charge.9-4-17-DUI-los-angeles-apps-300x169

• Planning a night out with friends? There are apps that will help you estimate your blood alcohol content and provide a rough estimate of your BAC based on how many drinks you’ve had.

• Are you sure that you’ve consumed too much to get behind the wheel? Download a few apps that can help you snag a ride home so you don’t have to drive.

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Los Angeles County saw an alarming increase in the number of hit-and-run crashes in 2015, the last year for which statistics are available. According to a report from the NBC4 I-Team, the California Highway Patrol reported that the county experienced more than 28,000 such crashes in 2015. The report also revealed that 50 percent of all crashes in Los Angeles County are hit-and-run. (Compare that to the national figures; the American Automobile Association says that 11 percent of all crashes nationwide are hit-and-run.)hit-and-run-los-angeles-DUI

But California is not alone in the increasing number of hit-and-runs. New York, Florida and North Carolina are among the states also reporting big jumps in the number of crashes where drivers flee the scene.

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reports that hit-and-run drivers kill nearly 1,500 people annually:

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Have you heard the one about the driver who was arrested for DUI because he had a caffeine high? Or about the state legislator who successfully argued that cough syrup and a breath spray caused a false positive DUI breathalyzer reading?auto-brewery-dui-300x169

While law enforcement officers and courts generally accept breathalyzer tests as proof that someone was driving under the influence, those tests can sometimes give false positive readings. As absurd as these stories sound, to the people wrongfully arrested for DUIs, these incidents are no laughing matter.

Betrayed by their bodies

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As someone recently accused of domestic violence charges, you’re no doubt acutely aware of the challenges faced by victims. Whether you stand falsely accused of hitting a spouse or partner, or whether you took an action against someone you love that you profoundly regret, it’s important to empathize. After all, finding a resolution to your family crisis—and your criminal case—requires understanding the situation first.falsely-accused-DV-300x221

Unfortunately, those accused of domestic violence—as well as those victimized by violent acts—often look only to the courts to sort things out. Sometimes, sadly, punitive intervention is necessary. But wouldn’t it be better if everyone involved could have their needs met and society provided more (and better) resources to families in trouble?

After all, the end goals we’re all seeking are the same:

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Breaking the cycle of domestic violence has been difficult. Studies have shown that even the most widely-used program for domestic abuse intervention, the Duluth Model, has not been successful in reducing the rate of recidivism for violent offenders.Mindfulness-to-combat-domestic-violence-300x129

But there is one approach that might be more successful. Although they are not designed specifically to reduce incidences of domestic violence, programs that teach people mindfulness and meditation have shown some promise in reducing incidences of violence in several settings.

Stop and think

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The police recently picked you up for DUI—maybe even for the second or third time—and you’re finally ready to admit that you have an alcohol problem. You know you need assistance, but where do you go to find it? And how do you know which program is most likely to help you?treatment-for-alcoholism

These seemingly simple questions can lead to a raft of conflicting, challenging decisions. It is almost shockingly difficult to find objective reviews of the various treatment options available as well as clear data about which approaches work best for different types of people.

This post aims to shine a light on this murky subject. Let’s explore. Where can you go for help? What programs are even out there?

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Most drivers today are conscious of the harm they can do by getting behind the wheel after drinking and driving. But what about after texting and driving?text-driving-dui

Text messaging makes a crash 23 times more likely to happen. (Dialing a cell phone increases crash risk by 2.8 times; talking or listening 1.3 times; and reaching for a device 1.4 times.)

While they may not realize how serious the problem is, most people understand that it’s better to avoid texting when they’re behind the wheel. A 2014 survey conducted by AT& revealed that 98 percent of motorists who own cellphones and text regularly are aware of the driving/texting danger, but about 75 percent of them do it anyway.

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How do officers working for Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) determine whether they should stop someone for a DUI? LAPD-DRE-training-overview

All LAPD officers receive substantial training that helps them understand what to look for when patrolling L.A.’s freeways and surface streets for dangerous drivers—and drivers who might be under the influence. Police officers are human, however, so they can forget what they learned (or just ignore proper procedure) and make errors during the arrest process itself.

LAPD officers’ DUI training has changed considerably over the decades, according to the department’s website. Back in the 1970s, police departments in most jurisdictions, including Los Angeles, had no standards-based roadside sobriety tests to help them determine and document whether or not a person was driving while under the influence of alcohol. So different states (and different officers) developed their own versions of the sobriety tests.

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Social media has become an integral part of our lives and our culture. While it has its benefits—it’s fun to stay connected to family and friends—there’s also a downside. Facts get distorted, ugly rumors spread quickly and some unfortunate person’s life can get turned inside out in a matter of hours.losangeles-domestic-violence-charges

So what happens when you get charged with domestic violence? How do you respond if your accuser takes the story public? Your answer may depend on the truth of the charges against you and what impact the social media statements will have on your personal and professional life.

NOTE: Before you respond in any way, speak with a qualified Los Angeles domestic violence defense attorney as soon as possible. Even seemingly minor mistakes with respect to how you handle the situation online can have profound implications for your ability to fight the charges.

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