Articles Posted in Domestic Violence

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Damien (not his real name) sat sullenly in the office of the licensed counselor. Recently arrested for the third time on domestic violence charges against his girlfriend, he was disgusted at his own behavior—and surprisingly puzzled and baffled at his uncontrolled impulses and where they had landed him. Frustrated, he asked the counselor one of the most common questions asked by DV defendants: “How did I get here?”bully-and-DV-los-angeles-300x150

The counselor asked a question that threw Damien off guard: “Were you ever bullied as a child?”

Damien began to weep.

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If you’ve been recently charged with domestic violence, your life could become quite complicated very quickly, especially if convicted. However, this time can also be a teaching moment—an opportunity to step back from this dark chapter and learn a more productive way of thinking and communicating.NVC-domestic-violence-300x214

The reasons why we humans sometimes turn to violence and aggression are too numerous and complex to explain here—nor are we qualified to delve into the psychology behind it. However, as the University of Michigan points out, domestic violence typically occurs as a repeating cycle, one that begins with a breakdown of communication. It naturally follows that if couples can create meaningful channels of communication, the cycle of domestic violence may be interrupted. The problem in many cases is that one or the other partner doesn’t understand the best ways to communicate—and the resulting frustration may erupt into aggression.

In the 1960s, an American psychologist named Marshall Rosenberg—himself a domestic violence victim from childhood—developed a process called Nonviolent Communication. The underlying theory behind this approach is that humans are innately compassionate, and violence is a learned behavior that develops from the inability to communicate needs effectively. Rosenberg utilized these principles quite effectively as a mediator to diffuse tensions between rioting college students and college administrators in the turbulent ’60s, as well as in peacemaking efforts during the desegregation process of the civil rights era. Since those days, many have utilized these principles to learn to communicate more compassionately and effectively.

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For many people who find themselves facing domestic violence charges, the problem doesn’t usually begin with the act of violence itself. For most, that catalyst is anger. The violence occurs as an end result of the person’s inability to control the angry emotions welling up inside.anger-300x215

If you’re convicted of a domestic violence charge in California, and sentenced to probation instead of jail, chances are you’ll also be required to attend a “batterer’s class” or some sort of anger management counseling as part of your sentence. But are anger management programs truly effective, and can they help reduce the chances of a repeat offense?

As with most issues, the answer to this question isn’t a clear “yes, it works” or “no, it doesn’t.” The effectiveness of any anger management course depends as much on the cooperation of the participant as it does the nature of the course itself. Modern psychology has recommended a variety of approaches to anger management; some have proven more fruitful than others, and experts now feel some traditional approaches have actually backfired.

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California law is decidedly severe when it comes to crimes of domestic violence—to the point that even being charged with a DV offDV-los-angelesense should evoke a sense of fear. Whether you are guilty or wrongfully accused, if a bad situation at home results in being charged with a crime, you should be as informed as possible about each charge, and its possible penalties, so you know what to expect and how to be prepared.

To that end, we’ve compiled the following catalogue of some of the more common domestic violence crimes, as defined by the California Penal Code.

Corporal Injury on a Spouse or Cohabitant

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metoo-los-angeles-300x187By most accounts, 2017 has been a particularly turbulent year. From political upheaval at home to nuclear threats abroad; from devastating hurricanes to fires; from mass shootings to Harvey Weinstein (and dozens more exposed and felled by #metoo); it seems like one headline continues to outdo the next.

Amid all the upheaval, this year has also seen some important news stories about domestic violence, some of which even tie in to recent high-profile stories (for example, the church shooting in Sutherland Springs). Let’s look at a few of the most notable domestic violence news stories for 2017 and see what we can learn from them.

Red Sox Pitcher Steven Wright Arrested for Domestic Violence

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Domestic violence is a serious matter here in California. The laws are strict, tolerance is low to nonexistent, and the overwhelming response is such that being accused of it can dramatically alter your life, even if you’re not guilty. If you got into a mild altercation with your spouse that somehow got construed to be domestic violence, your private disagreement could be instantly ranked alongside major felonies like assault or murder.DV-defense-los-angeles-options

Suffice it to say that when you’re accused of this crime, choosing the right defense strategy may be critical to your future, which is why you need a seasoned criminal defense attorney to help you map out a plan of action while representing your interests in court. Let’s take a look at some of the most common and effective defenses against charges of domestic violence, and under what circumstances it’s appropriate to use them.

False Accusation

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contrite-after-domestic-violence-arrest-300x233You hit your significant other. Now you’re facing possible jail time and a restraining order. But while those are serious consequences, the worst, for you, is that you’ve lost the love and respect of someone you really cared about. Is there any way to get that back? To restore normalcy to your life and relationship?

Protect Your Freedom AND Engage in Sober Reflection

It’s one thing to vigorously defend yourself against legal charges related to the domestic violence event. You deserve fairness, and the consequences of a criminal conviction can profoundly affect your financial future, your job prospects and even your freedom. And even though you did (by your own admission) commit a violent act, you need to protect yourself against overly aggressive prosecutors. You’re looking for fairness and a chance to reboot and start again.

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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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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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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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