Articles Posted in Domestic violence defense

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elder-abuse-domestic-violence-200x300California’s laws regarding domestic violence are wide-reaching and very strict, with potentially severe consequences for those who are accused. But when the alleged victim/survivor is a senior citizen, an incident of violence may fold into other parts of the law, resulting in possible further charges and penalties. Let’s take a closer look at the issue of domestic violence involving seniors and what you might face if you are arrested on suspicion of violence against an elderly person.

A Look at the Numbers

Although violence against women certainly isn’t the only form of domestic violence, most cases do target women as the victim. That being said, statistically speaking, violence against the aged is almost as common as violence against women—so much so that most states (including California) recognize elder abuse as a separate category of crime. Here in the U.S., approximately one in five seniors will experience some form of abuse (compared to one in four women), the vast majority of which will never be reported. Among those cases of elder abuse, at least two-thirds of them are committed by a family member (e.g., a child or spouse). By these numbers, two-thirds of the incidents of elder abuse also technically classify as acts of domestic violence.

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school-closures-domestic-violence-240x300As we come upon the one-year mark of the beginning of the COVID pandemic, we can see some disturbing trends among families trying to cope. While quarantines, school closures, and social distancing have been necessary to protect the public at large, social workers and domestic violence advocates have long been warning of another danger lurking within at-risk families living in forced isolation: a significant increase in domestic violence. In other words, our attempts to mitigate the COVID health crisis may be creating a health crisis of a completely different kind—one that is just as harmful and even deadly. As a result, an increased number of people, some of whom have no history of domestic violence, have found themselves arrested and facing charges.

This issue has become such a point of concern that some are referring to it as a “pandemic within the pandemic.” Even with vaccinations underway and hope on the horizon, the pandemic, along with its on-again, off-again lockdowns, have changed our living patterns and created “pressure-cooker” situations for many households with fewer options for releasing the pressure or getting help. Let’s take a closer look at this issue—not just the pandemic itself, but how the safety measures put in place are creating new risks for many households.

Increased Risks from School Closures

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reconcile-after-a-domestic-battery-charge-200x300You never thought it would happen to you—but it did. A disagreement with your spouse or partner got out of hand, you were arrested and charged with domestic violence. Perhaps this has happened before; maybe it’s the first time. For now, though, you’re feeling the pain of separation and alienation from someone you love. Perhaps she’s even got a restraining order against you. Regardless of what happens in court, you’re already looking beyond this moment. Once the criminal charges have been sorted out, is there any hope for repairing the relationship?

Or should you even try?

The answers here aren’t simple. Relationships are complicated enough even before they become fractured by violence. That being said, let’s talk about where to go from here. What, if anything, can be done to rebuild a relationship torn by domestic violence—and in the process, what can you do to prevent it from recurring? Let’s tackle the big questions in order—starting with the question of whether the relationship should even be repaired.

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Los-Angeles-domestic-violence2-300x200No matter the circumstances, being arrested on suspicion of domestic violence is a scary matter. It can be highly disruptive to your family, your job, your routine—and if you’re convicted of a crime, possibly your future, as well. Just being arrested, especially if it’s unexpected, can fill you with uncertainty. What kind of charges are you facing? Will you be charged with a misdemeanor, a felony, or a combination of the two?

In the State of California, every charge of domestic violence is serious, but some instances are treated as misdemeanors and some as felonies—each with vastly different ramifications if you’re convicted. Understanding what you may be charged with can help you go into the judicial process more informed and better prepared. Let’s unpack this topic and explore which types of domestic violence charges are usually tried as misdemeanors and which as felonies.

Differences between Misdemeanor and Felony Charges

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2020-Los-Angeles-domestic-violence-1-300x200If there’s one standout news story regarding domestic violence in 2020, it’s the one that has been the most often repeated: the coronavirus pandemic has caused a significant spike in domestic violence cases across the globe. City after city and nation after nation began reporting increases in domestic violence calls starting shortly after quarantines began—along with increased cases of sexual abuse and child abuse. The massive effort to keep people safe from the virus with stay-at-home orders has had the unwanted effect of isolating victims in close quarters with their abusers.

Keeping this new uncomfortable reality in context, every tragic story of domestic violence typically contains a lesson—one that may ultimately help keep other couples from experiencing the same thing. Let’s take a look at some of the most noteworthy news stories about domestic violence over the past year to see what we can learn from them.

An Awakening at Death’s Door

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teenage-DV-defense-200x300We typically think of domestic violence as occurring between married couples, live-in partners, adults who are dating, etc. But what happens when a teenager is arrested and charged with domestic violence? Perhaps the teen got into a physical altercation with a girlfriend or boyfriend, or maybe the teen allegedly attacked a parent, sibling, or another relative. What does the process look like then?

If you are a teenager facing domestic violence charges—or a parent with a teenager who’s been charged—you may naturally feel some apprehension about what to expect. Whether this was a simple misunderstanding or someone actually crossed a legal line, how will these criminal charges affect your life and future, or that of your child?

Juvenile or Adult?

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DV-red-flags-300x172Domestic violence is more common in America than anyone is comfortable admitting. The latest estimates from the CDC say 1 in 4 women and 1 in 10 men suffer from some form of intimate partner violence. And over the past few months, reports across the board have consistently told us that domestic violence rates are increasing dramatically due to the pandemic. That’s enough to categorize domestic violence as a public health crisis.

And yet, it’s a public health crisis that is one-hundred percent preventable.

Domestic violence doesn’t happen arbitrarily or in a vacuum. No one simply wakes up in the morning, randomly decides to become violent with their partner, and finds themselves under arrest by evening. There are almost always warning signs or “red flags” that usually occur in advance of an altercation that ends with domestic violence charges. If you can see these red flags and take preventative action early, you can save yourself and your family a lot of pain, heartache, and stress. Let’s talk about some of these “red flags” and what you can do to reduce the risks.

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Argument-leading-to-domestic-violence-arrest-201x300It happens more often than you might think. You get into a heated discussion with your spouse, partner, or significant other. Tempers flare, voices are raised, tensions escalate. You’re now in a shouting match—perhaps loud enough to get the attention of the neighbors. Concerned, someone calls the police. Before you realize it, one of you is arrested and carried off on suspicion of domestic violence.

This type of scenario can be baffling, confusing, and frightening—for one or both of the people involved. Perhaps in your mind—and even in the mind of your partner—the two of you were just having a fight, a lover’s spat. Maybe no punches were even thrown. Was it, in fact, domestic violence? Is there enough evidence for the charges to stick? At what point does a basic family argument cross the line into domestic violence? Let’s unpack this question a little, looking at it first through the eyes of California law, and then from the standpoint of real life.

What the Law Says

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c-12559-1598658708762-040dd57758769a27d6695cd814003e81-300x200Domestic violence rarely takes place in a vacuum. Long before law enforcement gets involved and makes an arrest, there are usually underlying factors at work in the household that create conditions that are just primed for an argument or escalating tensions to get out of hand. These risk factors can include things like stress, emotional turmoil, mental illness, substance abuse, financial worries, and a slew of other possible issues.

During this ongoing pandemic, families are continuing to spend lots of time at home or in quarantine. That fact alone can put the family at higher risk for those underlying factors to eventually erupt into violence. The specific issues may be different in every household. Still, if you can identify these factors and find constructive ways to deal with them, you can often break the cycle of escalation and make your family safer at home.

To help with this process, we’ve compiled a list of programs and resources available to Los Angeles-area residents. Some of these resources are government-funded and operated, while others may be private organizations—and this is by no means an exhaustive list. But if you believe your family could be at heightened risk, this list will hopefully provide a starting point to get the help you need.

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DV-attorney-defense-Los-Angeles-1-300x200When we talk about cases of domestic violence under California law, in most situations we’re referring to violence or abuse between “intimate partners,”—that is, spouses, ex-spouses, domestic partners, and current and former dating relationships. But of course, these aren’t the only family relationships in which domestic violence can occur. Siblings may become violent toward one another. Violence may also be directed toward (or emanate from) aunts, nephews, grandparents, step-parents…the list goes on.

Domestic violence within these relationships may not always be easy to resolve. Unlike spousal or dating relationships which may be severed by separation and divorce, inter-family DV situations may touch many other mutual relationships, either through blood or marriage. It might not be as simple to “cut off” a particular relationship or create a long-term physical separation between two parties, especially when the larger family is concerned. The effects of a violent or abusive relationship within these ranks may reverberate within the family for years to come. Let’s talk about how the law addresses domestic violence of these types, then discuss the long-term implications for families and ways to bring healing.

The Legal Piece

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