Articles Posted in Domestic violence defense

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child-domestic-violence-300x203As parents, we love our children and never want to see them hurt. If a child is injured due to an accident, we naturally feel a sense of guilt and worry. But if an innocent accident somehow leads to false accusations of domestic violence or child abuse, it can be nothing less than devastating.

Unfortunately, it’s a reality that many parents fear and face. California law holds parents and guardians responsible for the safe care of children, and whether due to a misunderstanding, circumstantial evidence, or even a vindictive partner—sometimes, an unfortunate accident can become complicated with criminal charges. 

If this has happened to you, it’s easy to feel completely helpless and without recourse—especially considering how the law tends to lean toward proactive protection of domestic violence victims. You may find yourself slapped with a protective order, forcing you to leave your home. You might have your custody and/or visitation rights temporarily suspended.

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Celebrity-DV-300x199Domestic violence continues to be a major issue in our culture, plaguing millions of households every year. At the same time, for most families, incidents of domestic battery and other forms of violence don’t become major news stories. When celebrity relationships devolve into domestic violence, not only must they deal with the pain and disruption of the violence itself–they must also deal with it under the unforgiving spotlight of public view—and they’re often tried in the court of public opinion, as well. 

But there is a silver lining. While these stories may be embarrassing to the victims and the accused at the moment, they also allow us to see that domestic violence isn’t relegated to certain classes of people—it can touch anyone. These stories also provide “teaching moments,” offering a platform to discuss the ways we as a society can work toward preventing and responding to domestic violence. With that said, let’s look at some of the most noted domestic violence stories of 2022 to see what we can learn from them.

Johnny Depp and Amber Heard

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KrautBeing accused of domestic violence can have a serious and lasting effect on almost every aspect of your life. Even if you are never charged with or convicted of a crime, for example, the existence of a protective order alone can force you from your home, increase your expenses, affect your job, and a host of other consequences. One thing that you might not have considered, however, is the effect that the stigma of domestic violence could have on your future dating relationships. If your former partner has no intention of reconciling, what complications could you face with future relationships with a domestic violence conviction or a restraining order on your record? Let’s look at this question a bit more deeply.

Challenges You May Face in Dating as a Domestic Violence Defendant

While it may not be immediately apparent, there are numerous ways that being accused of domestic violence can impact your dating life, especially when it comes to making potential partners hesitant to date you. Let’s look at some of the complications you may have to deal with.

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eric-ward-7KQe_8Meex8-unsplash-300x200In June 2021, Connecticut became the third state in the U.S. to expand its legal definition of domestic violence to include emotional abuse (the specific legal term is “coercive control”). Similar legislation is in the works in five more states. Under these expanded definitions, domestic violence protections are no longer just provided for specific instances of physical abuse, but also for a “pattern of behavior” that controls, intimidates, or isolates a victim. In other words, victims in states with “coercive control” laws can seek restraining orders against their abusers for alleged emotional abuse, not just physical violence or threats of violence.

So where does California stand in all this? Can you be accused of domestic violence against your spouse or partner on the grounds of emotional abuse in California? Let’s explore this issue further to see what we can discover.

What Is Emotional Abuse?

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mhrezaa-GRYHwCxL9wQ-unsplash-300x188In June 2022, partly in response to a long string of mass shootings, Congress passed the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which President Biden promptly signed into law. Touted as the most significant federal gun control legislation in three decades, the Safer Communities Act provides incentives for states to adopt “red flag laws,” implements enhanced background checks for younger gun buyers, and more. 

As it turns out, the new law could also have a significant effect on people accused of domestic violence in California, as well as in other states–namely, by closing the so-called “boyfriend loophole” as far as who may legally own firearms after a domestic violence conviction. Let’s talk about how the new federal law could impact California domestic violence cases going forward.

A Bit of Background

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pexels-soumil-kumar-735911-300x200While most people think of domestic violence as the act of physically striking one’s partner or spouse (and indeed, domestic battery accounts for the lion’s share of domestic violence incidents), the State of California counts plenty of other actions as “domestic violence.” In fact, nowadays, you don’t even have to be in the same room as your partner to be charged with a crime! Some people have been surprised to find police at their doorsteps with a warrant for their arrest on domestic violence charges–even though they weren’t anywhere near their alleged victims! 

How is this possible? Because perhaps without realizing it, by law, these people were committing domestic violence online.

The use of the Internet has expanded domestic violence into cyberspace, and California’s laws have expanded in kind to list numerous types of online activities as crimes. And because many of these online activities are traceable, they essentially leave an evidence trail that can make it easier for the cops to arrest you–and easier for prosecutors to prove you committed a crime. Let’s discuss a few possible online activities that could ultimately result in domestic violence charges.

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pexels-anna-shvets-4167544-200x300In the months and years since COVID-19 became a global health crisis, word has spread rapidly about the “shadow pandemic,”–referring to the worldwide spike in domestic violence (and violence against women in general) in the wake of the COVID pandemic. Many concerns were raised during the initial lockdowns and quarantines (and rightly so) that potentially millions of victims of domestic violence were “locked in” with their abusers and had even less access to relief services or the ability to obtain protective orders.

Now that there is enough data to be processed, the UN has released a comprehensive report entitled Measuring the Shadow Pandemic: Violence Against Women During COVID-19. Not only does it confirm that violence against women has increased substantially during COVID, but the numbers themselves are quite alarming in some cases. According to another report by the American Journal of Emergency Medicine, cases of domestic violence have increased by 25-33 percent worldwide. Let’s take a closer look at this “shadow pandemic” to see what we can learn.

An Overview of the Numbers

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Adult-Children-DV-300x200While the vast majority of domestic violence cases occur between spouses, domestic partners, or dating partners, there’s an often-overlooked version of domestic abuse that can be particularly harmful: when adult children become physically violent toward their parents. This type of domestic violence often falls into the category of “elder abuse” under California law, but it can also be classified as regular domestic violence, in part because the legal definition of “domestic violence” in California includes not just abuse between spouses and intimate partners, but also abuse between certain family members who live together. Let’s take a closer look at this troubling form of domestic violence to see what we can learn.

A Spike in Cases

According to research, approximately one million older adults are victims of domestic violence each year—and in about forty percent of those cases, the abuser is an adult child of the victim. During the recent quarantines of the COVID-19 pandemic, however, these numbers likely rose significantly as many grown children came home to shelter in place. One study estimates that incidents of abuse toward older people increased by as much as 84 percent during the pandemic–meaning that approximately 1 in 5 older people suffered some type of abuse during this time. Not all of these incidents were perpetrated by adult children, but if the normal percentage (40 percent) holds steady, it still amounts to a staggering number of adult children committing domestic violence against the parents who were attempting to shelter them.

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After-Two-Years-of-COVID-Are-Domestic-Violence-Rates-Still-Rising-200x300The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound and lasting impact on almost every aspect of our lives. While the initial lockdowns and response to the pandemic may have saved many lives, it’s been well-documented that domestic violence rates spiked significantly during the weeks and months of quarantines and lockdowns. The number of domestic violence 911 calls went up in many cities, but experts believe there were many more victims who never made a call. The reasons behind these increases ranged from increased financial pressure to depression to being forced to stay in close quarters with abusers.

But what about now? Two years into the pandemic, quarantines and even mask mandates have been lifted. Business as we know it is returning to normal, even as we continue to encounter spikes in infection rates. Now that we’re no longer stuck in close quarters and many/most of us are back to work…are domestic violence rates now dropping? Or are they still on the rise?

There is unfortunately no definitive answer. Most of the reports and studies available have been focused on the early days of the pandemic when the risk factors were highest, so current data is inconclusive at best. However, while the immediate quarantines are over, the long-term effects of the pandemic are still very much with us–as are the “ripple effects” it has had on so many other parts of our lives. Thus, it’s reasonable to assume that many households are still at elevated risk for domestic violence, and will likely continue to be so for some time to come. Let’s look at some of the likely contributing factors to this risk.

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DV-on-video-300x200In a day when video cameras are everywhere–including on our smartphones—it’s becoming more and more common for crimes to be “caught on tape.” But what if it happens to you? Perhaps you get into an argument with your significant other, and perhaps things get out of hand. Next thing you know, you’re under arrest, charged with domestic violence, and you’re told the entire event was captured on video. How should you respond? Does the video evidence ensure that you will be convicted of a crime? What can you do to make sure your rights are protected as you move through the legal process?

The inclusion of video evidence in a domestic violence case can dramatically change the dynamics of the case, as well as your defense strategy. Here’s what you need to know.

Is Video Evidence Admissible in Court?

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