Articles Posted in DV

Arrested-After-Retaliating_against-DV-Abuser-300x225It seems like the epitome of cruel irony. You’ve been a victim of domestic violence by your partner for a while—perhaps even for years. Perhaps you’ve even reported it from time to time, but the problem persists. Finally…you’ve had enough. In a moment of stress, you “snap” and fight back against your abuser—only to find that now, thanks to California’s strict domestic violence laws, you’re the one who is placed under arrest!

How did this happen? How did the victim suddenly become the accused? More importantly, what happens now? Will you now go to jail while your abuser goes free? This is no doubt a complex situation, so let’s unpack it and see what we can learn.

Domestic Violence or Self-Defense?

Military-DV-300x200While domestic violence continues to be an epidemic globally, the problem is apparently worse within military families. Numerous studies have indicated that the rates of domestic violence within military households are substantially greater than those in the civilian population. Given the numerous military bases in and around Southern California, many domestic violence arrests in our area involve military personnel.

Suffice it to say if you are an active or veteran military member and you’ve recently been charged with domestic violence, you’re not alone. Let’s discuss this issue in greater detail.

A Look at the Data

Male-Victim-DV--300x250When we hear stories about domestic violence arrests, we commonly assume that a woman is the victim—and indeed, with more than 1 in 3 women experiencing intimate partner violence at some point in their lives, it’s a reasonable assumption. The truth, however, is that domestic violence is not gender-specific. In fact, a rather shocking percentage of men (1 in 4) will also experience domestic violence at some point in their lives. These men are sometimes assaulted by spouses, partners, exes, or even other family members. And yet, one report indicates that only 26 percent of all DV incidents reported to police involve male victims, even though the actual number is likely much higher. Let’s talk about the ramifications of men as the victims of domestic violence, how it happens, and why these incidents might be underreported.

A Recent High-Profile Case

This issue of male-victim domestic violence was recently thrust into the public dialogue with a news story concerning a high-profile NFL player. Vikings running back Dalvin Cook has filed a civil suit alleging that an ex-girlfriend (a military sergeant named Gracelyn Trimble) entered Cook’s residence, assaulted him, sprayed mace on him and two houseguests, and held them at gunpoint. When she allegedly attempted another assault on a guest, Cook’s attorney says he intervened physically. Trimble has filed her own suit against Cook, also alleging assault, battery, and false imprisonment.

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.

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? 

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.

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