Articles Posted in DV Defense Attorney

Domestic-Violence-Rates-Are-Still-Spiking-300x200Shortly after cities across the nation and world began their quarantines and shutdowns in early 2020 in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, the reports began coming in about concerns about increased domestic violence during the lockdowns particularly because the abused were being “locked in” with their abusers with fewer resources for escape. Not long after, the concerns were confirmed: law enforcement agencies and domestic violence shelters across the board reported significant spikes in the rates of domestic battery. Even so, the general expectation was that as lockdowns eased and the economy reopened, the rates of domestic violence would also drop accordingly.

But recent disturbing data shows this may not be the case. Numerous studies have indicated that domestic violence has continued to increase well into 2021, long after the quarantines were lifted. The Emergency Journal of Medicine estimates that worldwide, domestic violence incidents increased a whopping 25-33 percent throughout 2020–and not necessarily in direct relation to lockdowns. And with the recent surge of the Omicron variant sparking concerns about further shutdowns and quarantines, experts fear we aren’t at the end of this spike just yet.

This information tells us that there’s more fueling this recent increase than just pandemic lockdowns. A deeper dive into the situation shows that there actually may be several ongoing factors contributing to the problem. Let’s examine some of these issues more closely.

Biggest-Domestic-Violence-Stories-of-the-2020s-Part-2-300x200The 2020s have been a time of both positive and negative change for domestic violence victims in the United States. On the one hand, we’ve witnessed many cases that raised awareness of DV and other forms of abuse–and on the other, the increased rates of domestic violence during the pandemic revealed how much work is left to be done. We’ve gained a greater understanding of the different forms domestic violence can take–how it’s not just physical contact, but can also include things like criminal threats, harassing phone calls, and more.

We started this discussion by looking at specific reported instances of domestic violence. Now, let’s take a broader view, looking at news items that address changing attitudes and what may be done to curb domestic violence in America.

New Poll Confirms Increased DV During Pandemic–But Increasing Awareness, as Well

Domestic-Violence-Charges-210x300It’s a scenario that can be both surprising and shocking. You have a verbal disagreement with your spouse or domestic partner (as most couples do). Emotions get heated, and you say some things you shouldn’t have said—and maybe didn’t mean. Someone observes the argument and calls the cops—or maybe your partner makes the call herself. A short time later, you get a visit from the police and find yourself arrested on charges of domestic violence or accused of making criminal threats—even though you never physically touched your spouse!

How could this happen? Could you actually be convicted of domestic violence under these circumstances? Theoretically, you could—especially if your heated exchange included verbal threats. Let’s talk about how California law views emotional abuse as part of domestic violence and when heated words might cross the line into a criminal act.

Emotional Abuse and Domestic Violence

Panic-Attack-DV-300x200If an altercation between you and your partner has ended up with you being arrested on suspicion of domestic violence, chances are your emotions are already at a fever pitch. Being charged with domestic violence can take the fear to a whole new level. Within hours, you’re suddenly faced with the possibility of losing your freedom, your family, access to your kids, etc. Your whole world could be hanging in the balance. Add to that the humiliation caused by being cuffed and put into a patrol car in plain sight of your neighbors, and it’s enough to make anyone anxious. 

All this to say, if you begin experiencing signs of panic attacks or severe anxiety in the wake of your domestic violence arrest, you’re not alone. These reactions are quite common, in fact. And yet, resolving a domestic violence charge may still take time, during which you may still have to deal with some of those triggers. So what can you do in the meantime to deal with any symptoms and bring your emotions into check? Let’s discuss some practical solutions. 

What is a Panic Attack, and What Are the Symptoms? 

pexels-energepiccom-313690-300x225Our justice system is built on the principle that a person is “innocent until proven guilty.” Unfortunately, that’s not how it works in the public debate, especially when it comes to social media. While social media’s purpose is to help us stay connected (at least in theory), the downside is that anyone can say anything on social media without fear of retribution. All it takes is one person publicly accusing another, and everyone who trusts the accuser is likely to take up the offense and make their own negative posts. If the person is facing criminal charges, the problem can be even worse. The accused person may find themselves crucified on social media even before the court process begins. It’s unfair, but it’s just how social media works. 

No one understands this new reality better than someone whose partner or spouse has taken to social media to publicly accuse them of domestic violence—especially when there has been an arrest, and criminal charges have been filed. Once the accusation is “out there,” regardless of your guilt or innocence, it can quickly and permanently skewer your reputation. It can affect your other friendships, family relationships, even your job. Even if you’re eventually exonerated, and the charges are dropped, the stigma of the accusation can linger for years to come. What can you do to fix this situation? What steps can you take to repair your reputation? Social media can definitely be a “wild card” when you’re facing domestic violence charges, so let’s discuss some tips for handling social media with grace and dignity during this difficult time. 

Don’t Respond to Accusations Online 

DrugWhen domestic violence happens in the home, it’s seldom caused by just one thing. While we are all accountable for our choices and our actions, there may be many contributing factors that increase the likelihood of DV occurring. Let’s continue our exploration into habits and behaviors (some unexpected) that may help create a scenario where domestic violence is more likely to occur.  

Alcohol Consumption   

Although the use of alcohol is never a sole trigger of abuse, the connection between alcohol abuse and domestic violence is widely documented. In fact, a report by the World Health Organization states that approximately 55 percent of domestic violence perpetrators do so after consuming alcohol. While many people drink alcohol for its calming or relaxing effects, large amounts of alcohol can lead to irritability and aggression. The actual science behind why this happens isn’t always so clear, but there seem to be several ways in which alcohol consumption can make domestic violence more likely: 

Elder-abuse-domestic-violence-225x300As our society has expanded its understanding of what makes up a family, we see statistically that no family unit is immune to the threat of domestic violence. Whether you’re part of what is historically considered a “traditional” family (i.e., heterosexual married couple/biological parents) or one of many types of “nontraditional” families, it’s still possible for disagreements to get out of hand, emotional triggers to surface…and before you know it, someone is facing domestic violence charges with a restraining order blocking them from the people they love. 

We’ve already begun exploring how domestic violence may affect certain nontraditional families, but let’s continue looking at this topic below.  

Cohabitating Families 

immigration-and-domestic-violence-200x300A domestic violence arrest can disrupt your life and your family on many levels on its own. But when you are an immigrant to the United States, and you’re facing domestic violence charges, things can get even more complicated very quickly. Depending on the circumstances and how severe the charge is, a domestic violence conviction can jeopardize your immigration status even if you’ve already obtained your Green Card. You could be disqualified from eventual citizenship and possibly even deported. Let’s take a closer look at this issue and talk about how domestic violence charges could affect you from an immigration standpoint and what (if anything) can be done to minimize the impact.

Immigration Laws and Criminal Convictions

Under United States law, an immigrant can lose their legal status if they are convicted for certain types of crimes, particularly for aggravated felonies and/or crimes involving moral turpitude. Domestic violence charges frequently fall into one or both of these categories, and that’s why a domestic violence conviction could threaten your legal status as an immigrant. From an immigration standpoint, any domestic violence charge that results in a prison sentence of one year or more classifies as an aggravated felony. Examples of DV crimes involving moral turpitude may include, but are not limited to:

Domestic-violence-defense-LA1-200x300Consider the following scenario. You recently had a disagreement with your significant other. Heated words were exchanged. You said some things in the heat of the moment that you later regretted. Perhaps you left and spent the next few days elsewhere, but you called to continue the argument, and again you exchanged heated words. Not long after, there’s a knock at your door. The cops arrest you on a complaint of domestic violence. You’re in utter disbelief. “I don’t understand. I never laid a hand on her!” you tell the police—and later, your lawyer.

Perhaps you are telling the absolute truth; you didn’t lay a hand on her. Did she make up a story to get you in trouble? Possibly. But it’s also possible that in that exchange, you actually broke the law without realizing it.

California’s domestic violence laws are designed to provide extensive legal protections for victims, and therefore, they categorize a wide range of actions as domestic violence—even things that don’t involve any physical contact with your spouse, partner, or family member.

2020-Los-Angeles-domestic-violence-2-286x300The end of the year naturally provides an opportunity to look back on key moments to see what we can learn. The year 2020 has been filled with cautionary tales, especially concerning incidents of domestic violence, which have been on the rise in the midst of the pandemic. Let’s continue reviewing some of the most notable news stories of domestic violence to discover what lessons we can learn.

More Deaths from Domestic Violence than from COVID-19

As a key example of how “safer-at-home” orders can backfire for high-risk households…ProRepublica reports that in parts of rural Alaska, more people have died from acts of domestic violence in recent months than from COVID-19.

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