Articles Posted in Los Angeles domestic violence lawyer

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

Los-Angeles-domestic-violence-attorney-300x200Given both the increase and the heightened awareness of domestic violence cases since the 2020s began, it’s important once in a while to look at the news stories talking about domestic violence to see both what we can learn and how we can improve the situation for families at risk. We’re reviewing news stories both about general trends and specific instances of domestic violence to see what takeaways we find. Let’s continue that process now.

Brooklyn Woman Executes Her Former Girlfriend After Long, Volatile Relationship

In April of this year, the New York Post reports that a Brooklyn woman turned herself in to police, confessing that she had shot and killed her former girlfriend execution-style after a volatile 20-year relationship. According to prosecutors, police had responded to a total of 14 domestic violence calls over the past two decades, 10 of which had indicated the shooter as the “aggressor.” The shooter’s sister claimed that her sister was mentally disabled and had tried to distance herself from the victim but that the victim “kept coming back.” She said her sister had pulled the trigger because “enough was enough.”

domestic-violence-accuser-and-accused-300x200Being arrested on suspicion of domestic violence can be highly disruptive to your life—and of course, being the victim of domestic violence is nothing short of traumatic. But what happens when you are both a victim of domestic violence and the person accused of it—at the same time? What if the alleged victim and the defendant are one and the same person—and that person is you?

It doesn’t happen that often—but it does happen. When domestic violence occurs, we typically assume there is one perpetrator and one victim. One person gets hurt, the other one gets arrested and charged. In the majority of DV cases, this assumption holds true—but on occasion, someone who has been attacked in a domestic violence dispute may actually be arrested and possibly charged as a perpetrator. Let’s talk about the complexities of these types of cases, the circumstances in which they may occur, and what you can do about it if you find yourself in this undesirable situation.

How Can Domestic Violence Victims Also Be Charged?

domestic-violence-and-marijuana-200x300Since the recreational use of cannabis was legalized in California a few years ago, public attitudes in the state toward marijuana use have continued to soften. For many years, marijuana has been associated with pain relief, relaxation, and an overall mellow disposition. Proponents of legalizing the drug claim it is less dangerous than alcohol or tobacco and that regulating its use actually boosts the economy while reducing crime. Indeed, considering its effects on most people, it seems unlikely to think that marijuana use could lead to increased domestic violence.

And yet, that’s exactly what numerous studies now indicate. A growing body of research now suggests a distinct connection between regular marijuana use and domestic violence. Can the use of weed actually make you more prone to violence, particularly against those you love? Let’s explore this topic a bit further.

A Look at the Research

holday-domestic-violence-300x200While most of us like to think of the holiday season as the happiest and most joyous time of the year, for many of us, it can also be one of the most stressful. According to studies, nearly 40 percent of us report an increase in stress during the holidays. Unfortunately, stress can also be a trigger for domestic violence among vulnerable families. Between a hotly contested election, economic woes, and the ongoing pandemic, this year’s holiday season promises to be more stressful than most.

All of these factors may strike a note of concern for you, especially if you’ve previously been arrested on domestic violence charges or have general trouble with anger management. What can you do now to keep your stress manageable? What steps can you take proactively to keep any holiday tensions from escalating into a very bad situation?

Looking at the Numbers…

covid-domestic-abuse-300x200Quite often, domestic violence is framed either in the sterile context of criminology and statistics or in the raw context of our own emotions. The reality lies somewhere between these extremes. If we look past the crime itself, past the numbers, and past our own offense, we can see that domestic violence occurs in real families with actual people and complex emotions—people who often don’t even understand what triggers their behavior. For many households, the quarantines and lockdowns prompted by COVID-19 are making these triggers even more sensitive, prompting an increase in the rate of domestic violence across the globe.

We’ve already talked about some of the numbers and factors behind this increase in DV during the pandemic. Now, let’s talk about the human factor—the increased pressures caused by this situation which may serve as triggers, and how families can respond to reduce the risk and perhaps prevent outbreaks of domestic violence in the home.

Common Triggers of Domestic Violence During Lockdown

In 2006, a sexual abuse survivor named Tarana Burke launched a grassroots movement to help give other survivors a voice and a sense of community, as well as to raise awareness to prevent future incidents of sexual violence. To create a sense of solidarity, she aptly named her initiative the “Me Too” movement.

Eleven years later, the #MeToo movement was suddenly thrust into the international conversation when the New York Times published an article alleging a longtime pattern of sexual abuse by movie mogul Harvey Weinstein. As the #MeToo hashtag went viral across social media, millions of victimized women found a fresh sense of empowerment, and millions of the rest of us were dismayed to discover just how many of our sisters, wives, and friends had quietly endured various forms of sexual harassment and abuse over the years.

As more allegations came to light and more high-profile public figures went down in disgrace (over 200 by the last count), it became clear that this movement would spearhead a cultural shift—not just regarding incidents of overt sexual abuse and harassment in the workplace and otherwise, but also redefining what was considered appropriate behavior and conversation, particularly in the workplace. While many celebrated the shift as ushering in a long-overdue era of female empowerment, others were left in a state of confusion as seemingly innocent flirtations and the occasional off-color joke, once assumed to be harmless, were now looked upon as offensive. Many began second-guessing their every interaction with the opposite sex and grappling to figure out what was acceptable in the “new normal.” Still others feared the movement might swing the pendulum too far in the opposite direction, endangering the careers of innocent individuals on the power of unsubstantiated testimonies and creating the assumption of guilt until innocence was proven.

Los-Angeles-Domestic-Violence-Defense-3-300x200Some of life’s most important lessons can be gained within the stories of others—including how to view issues like domestic violence. Now that we’ve closed the door on the 2010s, we’re spotlighting some of the decade’s most notable stories of domestic violence to see what truths we can glean from them. If you are currently facing possible DV charges, let’s take a closer look at the following real-life stories from the past ten years.

Knocked Unconscious, then Scalded

As one of the more gruesome examples of DV this decade, in 2016, Suzanne Thomas of Nottingham, England suffered severe burns to 27 percent of her body after her ex-boyfriend, Jason McLean, poured boiling water over her. Their relationship began innocently enough, and six months later, Thomas invited McLean to live with her. Over time, however, the couple began to argue more frequently, their exchanges becoming more heated. Things came to a head when McLean shoved Thomas’ head against a wall, after which he apologized and promised never to do that again. However, the emotional damage had been done, and Thomas found herself living in fear of his hair-trigger temper.

Los-Angeles-Domestic-Violence-Defense-5-300x215As human beings, we are connected in ways we don’t always realize—especially within our family units. We like to tell ourselves that we alone pay the price for our mistakes, but those mistakes can potentially make a deep impact on the people we love. To give an uncomfortable example, a growing body of research strongly suggests domestic violence can be passed down generationally. In other words, children who are exposed to domestic violence have an increased likelihood of repeating the pattern in adulthood.

The Urban Child Institute summarizes the issue plainly. “Children who witness domestic violence grow up to have a greater risk of living in violent relationships themselves, whether as victims or as perpetrators,” they say. “Without more awareness of this problem and help for these families, the burden of domestic violence will continue to be passed from one generation to the next.”

This phenomenon, commonly called “intergenerational transmission of domestic violence,” extends beyond just a few isolated cases. In just one of many studies on this issue, the results were nothing short of disturbing. In compiling data from 1600 American families, researchers found that four out of five children living with domestically violent partners eventually committed violence against their own partners as adults. Likewise, three-quarters of adult children also became victims.

Los-Angeles-Domestic-Violence-Defense-6-300x200If we were to classify domestic violence as an illness, by all standards it would be an epidemic. Statistics show that 1 in 4 women, and 1 in 9 men, becomes a victim of DV at some point in life—affecting as many as 10 million Americans each year.

What isn’t always clear is: Why?

Any act of domestic violence, no matter how “minor” it seems in the moment, can wreak great havoc in your life. Just one occurrence can fracture your relationships and potentially take your freedom. Understanding why it occurs can be a key to preventing it. If you can identify the driving factors or triggers behind your behavior, you have a better chance of addressing it so domestic violence doesn’t occur—or doesn’t occur again. So let’s explore some of the most common factors experts have identified as driving forces behind DV.

Contact Information