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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Domestic Violence

domestic violence, spousal battery, San Jose domestic violence lawyerWhen you have been accused of or charged with domestic violence, it is critical that you understand the charges so you can combat them effectively. There are several different types of domestic abuse, ranging from relatively low severity to extremely violent. In some cases, a person may be charged with domestic abuse without ever physically hurting someone—sometimes cases of harassment, alienation, or forbidding a domestic partner, spouse, or family member to live an independent life can be cause for charges of domestic abuse as well. The most common type of domestic violence charge—at least in common understanding of the crime—is criminal spousal abuse. In fact, however, there are two main types of criminal spousal abuse. One is corporal injury to a spouse, and the other is spousal battery.

Spousal Battery

Spousal battery is the lesser charge of the two, and usually results in a misdemeanor case. Note that this may also be considered domestic battery; the simple difference is the marital status of the couple involved. While this is frequently a misdemeanor charge, it can result in jail time, the length of which depends on the severity of the injuries sustained by the battered spouse or domestic partner. A misdemeanor battery charge usually results in a 30-day jail sentence, though this is merely standard by practice, not in law. If you have never faced such a charge before, your sentence will likely be less. In some instances, you may even only be sentenced to serve probation.

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domestic violence, Santa Clara County criminal defense attorneyWhile the term “domestic violence” conjures images of battered women and abused children, the legal definition of domestic violence is not limited to this type of physical injury. The common definition does, perhaps, have validity; by far the most common type of domestic violence, physical violence affects approximately 40 percent of California women in their lifetime. Younger women are far more susceptible to this type of violence; roughly 11 percent of all California women ages 18–24 had been the victims of intimate partner violence in the past year. Women who had been pregnant in the past five years were more likely to be these victims, and three-quarters of all victims had children under the age of 18 living in the home at the time that the abuse occurred.

Other Concerns

There are, however, four other main types of abuse that are categorized by law as domestic violence. Sexual abuse is one of these. While a couple may be married, it is against the law for either partner to force the other to have intimate relations—marriage does not legally preclude the right to refuse sexual advances. Sexual abuse is not limited to relations between the two married partners, either. It also includes the forcing of one partner to have relations with someone else, forced prostitution, and, commonly, forced sex after physical beating. Sexual abuse can also include some forms of emotional abuse, such as withholding sex and accusations of infidelity that are accompanied with threatening behavior.

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domestic violence, San Jose criminal defense attorneyIf you have been accused of domestic violence, it can be a long road to clear your name and to move on. Because of the nature of the crime, it can be difficult to absolve yourself of the accusation, even if you are found not guilty in a court of law. This can manifest in attitudes of those around you, including your children and family members, but can also have negative consequences outside of your personal relationships.

Dangers at Work

In addition to workplace discrimination often perpetrated against the victims of domestic violence (ie: being penalized for needing to see a doctor or go to a specialist, without prior notice), if you are accused of domestic violence and have to go to court, you may not be excused from work for court dates. There have also been instances when a person who is accused of domestic abuse is fired, ostensibly for other reasons, but on the heels of the charge that is difficult to overcome. . Of course, sharing the details of your accusation with your supervisor may not be advisable either, as he or she may be inclined to believe you are guilty by default, often making your problem even worse.

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false allegations, San Jose Domestic Violence AttorneyThere is no question that domestic abuse is a real problem in today's world. Therefore, if you have been slapped with a domestic violence charge, it can seem impossible to prove your innocence. With high-profile cases making headlines every day—and popular opinion often decidedly on the side of the accuser—it may feel like an uphill battle without an end to get a fair trial. It is important, however, to stand your ground and to be sure that false charges against you do not completely destroy your life and limit your opportunities. 

Be Open

When you have been wrongly accused of domestic violence, there are several things that you can do to help your lawyer prepare for trial. The first is to be open and honest about anything you may have said or done over the years that could be misconstrued and used against you. Knowing what will be brought out against you is half the battle. Spend some time going through old letters, social media, and replaying conversations in your head. If you had said something, even jokingly or in passing, that could be construed as threatening, make sure that your lawyer is aware of it.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_domestic-violence-allegations-problems.jpgThe idea that the rate of domestic violence increases during the holidays is nothing new, and if often brought to the attention of a national audience by sensational local news and media. Yet the sensationalism around such cases may in fact be warranted—domestic violence rates do tend to tick up during the holidays, as evidenced by the number of people seeking respite in domestic violence shelters goes up right around New Year’s Day.

According to one report, calls to law enforcement agencies reporting intimate partner violence in an unnamed U.S. city were significantly higher on New Year’s Day than on any other day of the year, going up from 34 to 56 calls. The trend tends to extend into the first couple weeks of the new year as well—calls to national hotlines tend to increase 5 percent over the first two weeks of the year.

Reasons for Increased Violence

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domestic violence, violence against family, San Jose criminal defense attorneyOctober was domestic violence awareness month. With that in mind, it is important to understand what domestic violence actually represents, along with some ways a victims of such actions can seek help. Domestic violence, most often perpetuated by a spouse or domestic partner, can have several definitions—one does not have to be physically assaulted for the abuse to be considered domestic violence. An abusive relationship can take several forms. There are many signs that a particular relationship may be abusive, some which may include (but are not limited to):

  • When a partner embarrasses the other with constant put-downs, either in public or private;
  • When a partner controls where the other can go or who he or she can see;
  • When one partner refuses to let the other make any of the joint decisions;
  • When one partner tells the other that he or she is a bad parent;
  • When one partner denies the other access to or time with the children;
  • When one partner controls all the financial decisions and money in the relationship; or
  • When one partner destroys the other’s property.

Domestic violence is surprisingly common—an average of 24 people every minute are victims of rape, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner. This results in more than 12 million Americans being victims of domestic violence annually. These numbers represent nearly 30 percent of all American women and 10 percent of all American men. The numbers of severe physical violence are even more shocking: Roughly 25 percent of all women aged 18 and older have been the victim of such violence in their lifetimes, along with roughly 14 percent of all men.

Punishment for domestic violence in California is regulated by the California Family Code. A perpetrator is defined as anyone with whom the victim has an “affinity,” (related by marriage); with whom the victim lives (or has formerly lived with); or someone the victim is dating. If a person feels that he or she is being abused, he or she can then file for a protective order. If the situation is immediately dangerous, he or she may choose to instead file for an emergency protective order.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_emotional-abuse.jpgEvery married couple argues. Every married couple can have dramatic fights that elevate to a level neither wanted it to go. But when that anger is especially one-sided, or probes deeper levels of psychological distress, it is considered domestic abuse.

Normal arguing does not leave one spouse frightened of the other, or fearing that he or she may be in danger. It is easy to forget that domestic abuse can be psychological as well as physical. This type of abuse is much more difficult to identify — whether you are the person perpetuating the abuse or on the receiving end.

Many emotional abusers do not intend to do so. It is a behavior than can stem from deeply seated places of emotional insecurity and lack of self-worth. Emotional abuse is characterized by name-calling, yelling, shaming, and blaming. An attempt to control one’s spouse and/or intimidate him or her from seeking other relationships or experiences outside of the marriage is also emotional abuse.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_domestic-abuse.jpgDomestic violence continues to be one of the most serious issues in American society, despite recent and continued efforts to bring awareness to the issue and, as such, end it. The issue is one even more grave than war: between 2001 and 2012 approximately 6,500 American troops died in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. During the same time period, more than 11,765 American women were murdered by current or ex male partners. That is an average of three women every day being murdered by current or former male partners. This statistic is even worse if the woman is disabled: women with disabilities are 40 percent more likely to be a victim of domestic violence than women without disabilities.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the vast majority of victims of domestic violence are women—85 percent of all reported cases of abuse victims are women. There is more than one type of domestic violence. Physical and emotional abuse are the most common. According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, physical abuse can have many forms. In addition to physical violence, physical abuse can include:

  •      Driving recklessly;
  •      Preventing you from seeking help from authorities;
  •      Abandoning you when you have no recourse;
  •      Trapping you in your home; or
  •      Punching walls, kicking doors, etc.

While physical abuse is obviously the most black and white when it comes to identification, emotional and financial abuse can be devastating as well. Emotional abuse can include isolating a person from her friends or family, refusing to trust a person or acting unjustifiably jealous, serially cheating and blaming a partner for the behavior, or just calling a person rude or insensitive names. Every year, there are 18.5 million mental health care visits resulting from intimate partner violence annually.

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Domestic Violence – A General Overview

A criminal arrest for domestic violence is an extremely serious matter and can have long term impacts on your career, finances, and living situation. It is important that you understand the charges against you and their consequences. It is just as important that you find an attorney that can effectively defend you and your interests.

Domestic Violence Arrest

The first thing that generally happens in a domestic violence situation is that someone calls 911. It might be the alleged victim, it might be a neighbor, it might even be the accused individual. The important point here is that the decision to call the police is generally the last meaningful decision the involved parties are going to be making for a while.

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