Articles Posted in Domestic Violence

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Both California and U.S. laws offer victims of domestic violence some basic legal protections, including the ability to obtain restraining orders. These laws are not perfect, nor are they always effective, but in general they work and they have the approval of society behind them. Police will arrest domestic violence offenders and the state will prosecute them under criminal statutes. If convicted, the abusers face imprisonment and/or fines. domestic-violence-los-angeles-around-the-world-300x187

According to the World Bank, three-quarters of the world’s countries have laws against domestic violence, but enforcement of them can be spotty since abuse is at often culturally (if not legally) sanctioned. At least 45 countries, most in the Middle East and sub-Sahara Africa, have no laws forbidding domestic violence, according to the World Atlas. The countries include Algeria, Cameroon, Egypt, the Ivory Coast, Haiti, Latvia, Kenya, Pakistan and Yemen.

•    In Kuwait, 35 percent of women have reported spousal abuse. In a Kuwait Times online article, an attorney from that country says that when it comes to domestic violence, the criminal intent is what matters in the eyes of the law. “If the violator (father, husband or other) hits his wife or child by hand lightly, this is not considered a crime as it’s his right do to so according to Islamic sharia. But if he burns the child or attacks his wife with a knife, it would be clear that the criminal intent was to cause harm. But if he hits his wife while they are fighting, he may claim that he only tried to threaten her and didn’t intend to cause serious harm. The verdict in these cases usually is ‘exchanging blows’ and each of the parties pays a KD 50 fine, as each of them claims self-defense,” the lawyer said.

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domestic-violence-los-angeles-300x300Last night, after a long and heated argument with your spouse, you hit him/ her. You had heard about people who use violence against a spouse, but you deplored it. You never thought you would do it yourself. Now you feel guilty about what you’ve done, frightened that you might do it again and fearful about what the future might bring for you and for your family.

What can you do to prevent this violence from recurring? How can you turn the situation around? There are community resources throughout the Los Angeles area that can teach you how to deal with anger and frustration in more constructive ways. You can also seek out services that will help you get at the root of the problems that are causing the stress in your life and your relationship.

Managing anger to stop the violence

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What would you do if someone you cared for insisted on getting behind the wheel after a few too many drinks? Would you call the police and risk their arrest for a DUI in Los Angeles? Would you ignore the situation and simply hope that no one would get hurt?
A 28-year-old woman in Senoi, Georgia, faced that situation in September. In a move that the local police chief called “an act of courage,” the woman got in touch with police and asked for help.dodgen-dui-arrest

According to the story on the Fox5 Atlanta website, Donna Dodgen was driving her daughter and 10-year-old granddaughter when the trio stopped at a local convenience store. The daughter went in to the store and asked the clerk to call police because her mother had been drinking and wasn’t in any condition to drive. (The daughter couldn’t drive herself, because she had previously been in a car accident in which she suffered a head injury.) She told the clerk she was worried about her daughter’s safety and her own. (It’s not clear why she and her daughter didn’t simply get out of the car and refuse to go any further.)

A police officer watched Dodgen leave the parking lot and sit at a green light for 30 seconds without moving. Before too long, he caught up with Dodgen and asked for her driver’s license. Dodgen allegedly kept trying to give him her credit card instead.
Then the officer gave Dodgen a sobriety test, which she reportedly failed. She also smelled of alcohol, according to police. They charged her with DUI, endangering a child under age 14, weaving on the roadway and driving under the minimum speed.

The daughter (who remained unidentified in the news story) told police that her mother had been driving erratically before the convenience store stop, unable to remain in the her lane and attracting the ire of drivers, who honked to signal their displeasure.

As a frequent contributor to respected media, like The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times and Good Morning America, Los Angeles DUI attorney Michael Kraut of the Kraut Law Group understands what it takes to build successful defenses in complex DUI cases. Contact him and his team today to schedule a consultation.

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LeVeon-Bell-DUIIf you’re facing DUI charges in Los Angeles, you may begin experiencing negative consequences before the court even hears your case. Consider, for instance, the challenges that confront Pittsburgh Steeler, Le’Veon Bell, who may face a two-game suspension and other sanctions from the league and from his club, as the result of a recent DUI arrest.

Authorities arrested Bell for DUI in August. After police pulled him over, he allegedly admitted to having smoked marijuana earlier in the day and to possessing a bag of the substance. He also allegedly claimed that he was unaware of the law prohibiting driving under the influence of marijuana, claiming he wasn’t “high” enough for the drug to have impaired his driving.

The NFL’s new substance abuse policy imposes a mandatory suspension on players arrested for DUI. The suspension occurs only after a player has failed to resolve the matter within the league’s stated “grace period.” Under this policy, Bell must resolve his DUI charge before November 1 to prevent a suspension from going into effect. However, he may receive a one-game suspension for marijuana possession, regardless of the outcome of the DUI case.

Bell’s Legal Woes — Just the Most Recent among NFL Players

Bell is certainly not the only NFL player who has experienced a run-in with the law in recent months. High-profile cases in which the NFL has suspended or banned players include:

•    Ray Rice. After video footage emerged of running back Rice punching his wife in an elevator, corporate sponsors and fans alike expressed outrage and disbelief. Prior to the release of the footage, the NFL had only punished Rice with a 2 game suspension. After the revelation, however, the NFL suspended Rice indefinitely, and the Ravens terminated him.

•    Adrian Peterson. The Minnesota Viking running back faces allegations that he abused his 4 year old son by hitting him with a tree branch. The Vikings responded to the horrifying news by deactivating the player until he resolves his legal issues.

An arrest for DUI can be a serious legal matter that can have profound personal and professional consequences. A Los Angeles DUI attorney can help you defend against such charges and return to work as soon as possible. Contact the Kraut Law Group today to schedule a free consultation regarding your case.

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We see (and report on) so many disturbing Los Angeles DUI cases. Unfortunately, these events often seem to blend together.soukvilay-barton-dui-manslaughter

Whether you’ve been following this blog for several weeks or many years, you’ve probably noticed a recurring theme: people often make dumb/dangerous decisions to drive DUI and then compound their woes by doing other dumb/dangerous “stuff” after the fact, such as leaving the scene of an accident, spitting in the face of a police officer, etc.

A really distressing case out of Riverside presents a dramatic, deeply disturbing portrait of what can “go wrong” during a DUI. According to witnesses, 37-year-old Soukvilay Barton had been fighting with family members at her Riverside home on the 14000 block of Bush Avenue last Friday evening. In a fog of anger, Ms. Barton hopped into her BMW convertible and attempted to leave the home. Her father, 69-year-old Bounmy Rajsombath, did not want her to get in the car, because she had been drinking. He ran to the driveway to stop her from backing out of the garage, but she did so anyway and struck her father. Barton immediately stopped the car as soon as she realized she injured her dad and collapsed sobbing. Emergency workers rushed Rajsombath to Riverside Community Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.

Police arrested Barton, meanwhile, for DUI and escorted her to the Riverside Police’s Magnolia Station. Reports suggest that she could face enhanced charges, such as DUI manslaughter, in connection with the death of her father.

According to sergeant Dan Reeves, who investigated the tragedy, Rajsombath spent his final moments pleading with his daughter not to drive DUI, before she hit and killed him. The situation speaks to the often forgotten fact that DUIs can tear families asunder, sometimes literally. Obviously, this young woman did not want to hurt or kill her father, but a single bad decision or momentary lapse of reason can lead to lifetimes of agony and remorse, both for the offender (and for the offender’s family) and for the victim (and the victim’s family).

Depending on the nature of a DUI manslaughter, prosecutors can ask for enhanced charges, such as “gross negligence” – a special kind of negligence beyond standard carelessness – that can lead to extra jail time and more penalties.

For help understanding how to deal with your case, call an experienced Los Angeles DUI defense attorney with the Kraut Law Group today for sympathetic and sound assistance.
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Getting arrested for lewd conduct in Los Angeles can be a harrowing experience.los-angeles-lewd-conduct-arrest.jpg

Yes, getting arrested for any crime in Southern California is scary. You face the specter of jail time, massive fees and fines, insurance related problems, professional reputation issues, logistical headaches, and on and on.

But lewd conduct charges are particularly vexing! Defendants are often “prejudged” by friends, family members, peers, and the community at large. For some reason, getting a lewd conduct charge often feels like being tarred and feathered. First of all, if you are convicted, you may be saddled with the “sex offender” label for decades, if not for a lifetime. You do not need to be reminded about what this negative label can do in terms of restricting where you can live, wreaking havoc on your personal and professional life, and potentially destroying your self-esteem – not to mention teeing you up for massive trouble if you ever break the law again.

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It’s been called one of the most disturbing and high profile cases of Los Angeles lewd conduct in history: 61-year-old Mark Berndt allegedly blindfolded children and then “spoon-fed his semen to them” at his elementary school classroom in Miramonte.mark-berndt-jail-mug.jpg

Last month, Berndt pled not guilty to 23 counts of Los Angeles lewd conduct, but the justice system does not seem to be in the mood to give him much leniency. His initial bail – $23 million – remained intact last Wednesday, when a judge denied his request for a reduction. The former teacher was arrested at the end of January following a long investigation (over a year). Investigators discovered 40 photos of children blindfolded with their mouths taped. Some pictures showed cockroaches on these children’s faces. Others showed other remarkably disturbing images.

One of Berndt’s co-workers, 49-year-old Martin Springer, has also been accused of a sexual crime – molesting a female student. In the wake of the revelations about Berndt and Springer, the district fired the entire workforce at the elementary school. Many of teachers’ victims have said that the abuse gave them nightmares.

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On Tuesday, a shocking “not guilty” verdict was handed down in the “Trial of the Century” murder trial of Casey Anthony, stunning the Los Angeles violent criminal defense community along with the rest of the world.Casey-Anthony-verdict.jpg

In case you have been living in a cable news vacuum (in which case, good for you), here’s a quick recap. In 2008, the defendant, Casey Anthony, allegedly killed her two-year-old daughter, Caylee, and then went out partying right afterwards.

Motivated by the particularly grisly inhuman-ness of the alleged crime, prosecutors sought to convict Ms. Anthony on a capital murder charge. This could have resulted in her execution, had she been convicted. But the jury found her not guilty of first-degree murder, aggravated child abuse, and aggravated manslaughter (although she was convicted for several lesser offenses).

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Driving under the influence in Southern California is — in and of itself — an extremely dangerous and perhaps even deadly thing to do. But a Mill Valley man by the name of Scott Lindner has been arrested not only for Southern California DUI but also for allegedly assaulting a female passenger while smashing his 2010 Honda Accord into a variety of objects during what can only be described as a DUI rampage. new-dui.jpg

The couple had been arguing at Marin County’s Olema Campground, when they got into Lindner’s 2010 Accord. The 22-year-old Lindner crashed his car into a parked truck and then slammed into a metal pole (part of a propane tank enclosure), causing his 20-year-old female passenger to get thrown from the car and suffer injuries. For whatever reason, the woman got back into the car with Lindner, and they peeled off down Highway 1. Throughout an 8-mile drive, Lindner continued to hit his passenger, hurting her more. His rampage finished at Sir Francis Drake Boulevard, when the Accord plowed into a curb and came to a stop blocking the eastbound lane of traffic. CHP officers quickly arrived and arrested Lindner for felony traffic charges. Lindner’s passenger was taken to a nearby hospital. Investigating officers found that Lindner had been on parole with the State’s Department of Corrections, and the CHP released a statement that said the Lindner was back on parole hold.

This disturbing case gives us an opportunity to discuss the difference between a “standard” non-injury Los Angeles DUI and an injury DUI. A non-injury charge might be prosecuted pursuant to California Vehicle Code Sections 23152(a) and 23152(b); but an injury Pasadena DUI will be charged according to two different sections, California Vehicle Code Sections 23153(a) and 23153(b).

Essentially, the injury subsections of the CVC stipulate that an ordinary misdemeanor DUI charge can be elevated to a felony if the driver hurts another person in the course of operating a vehicle while DUI. A felony is a much more serious charge than a misdemeanor. It carries stricter penalties. Convicted felons lose the right to vote and face a much more difficult road back to normalcy. Felons have a harder time securing loans, leasing cars and apartments, getting jobs and generally readapting to life after the conviction.

So if you have been charged with an injury DUI in Glendale or elsewhere throughout the Southland, it’s in your interest to explore your options for best legal defense.

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Charlie Sheen has been arrested again for domestic violence towards the women in his life. Recent reports out of Aspen, Colorado concerning Brooke Mueller tell a story of continued violence. According to reports, Sheen was arrested for two felonies an one misdemeanor on Christmas Day. The 911 call made public this week by Mrs. Sheen clearly illuminates the panic and confusion in the house. The last time he was arrested for a Los Angeles domestic violence case.
On the tape Brooke can be heard telling police that Sheen had held a knife to her throat and then choked her. According to Brooke, while he was being physical, he was yelling that he was going to kill her. Brooke’s drunken voice can be heard on the tape.

After the arrest, a judge issued a protective order that separates the Sheens from each other. While the court order is still in effect, both parties have asked the court to modify the ruling to allow them to see each other. At this time, Charlie Sheen’s 10 month-old twins are remaining in Aspen with mom, while the actor is back in Los Angeles working on the set of Two and Half Men. Sheen’s top-rated Los Angeles criminal defense attorney is working behind the scenes in what is known as pre-filing investigation to stop any charges from being filed
This is not the first time that Sheen has been arrested for violence on the women he claims to love. Several years ago Sheen was charged with a Los Angeles domestic violence case for severely beating his girl friend at the time, Brittany Ashland. In 1996, Sheen was arrested and charged with pulling his girl friends hair while slamming her down on a marble floor. He then knocked her unconscious and then caused an injury to her face that required stitches to close the wounds. According to Ashland he then stripped her of the bloody clothes she was wearing and then told her that if she told anyone he would kill her.

Court records indicate that Sheen pled guilty to criminal charges in the 1996 case. Ashland’s attorney is urging the District Attorney in Colorado to not modify the order.

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