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domestic-violence-mental-illness-300x200The presumed link between mental illness and violence is a hot-button topic these days—and to the chagrin of many mental health professionals, this connection seems to add to the stigma of those who suffer from various types of mental illness. There are likely two reasons why this connection has been made, at least in the arena of public belief. First, we’ve seen numerous high-profile violent crimes in recent years (most notably related to gun violence and/or mass shootings) that have been attributed with people who have been diagnosed with severe mental illness. And second, many acts of violence are so senseless that we naturally begin looking for a reason why they might have occurred. (In other words, when a violent act appears to be insane, we generally blame it on insanity.)

This idea also raises an important question among couples and families: Can mental illness be a contributing factor or trigger mechanism for domestic violence? Put another way, can we blame an act of domestic violence on mental illness? For that matter, if so, could mental illness be used as a successful defense against domestic violence charges? Let’s explore this question in a bit more detail, looking at the latest science and research while unpacking some of the myths surrounding this question.

The Short Answer Is Yes—But It’s Far More Seldom than You Think

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

Los-Angeles-DUI-attorney-2-300x200In June, we celebrate Father’s Day—a day set aside for appreciating what fathers have done for us, the example they set, etc. But like everyone else, fathers have feet of clay, and sometimes they don’t always set the best example. Sometimes our fathers fail us, and sometimes we as fathers fail our children. So let’s explore a rather loaded question: If a father has a proclivity toward repeated DUI offenses, does that mean the children will, as well?

The answers here can be complex because many dynamics are at work in the relationship between parents and children—including genetics, parents’ example and the overall way we are raised. Let’s begin by stating that when we view DUI as a crime, we’d be hard pressed to say that any criminal activity is an inherited trait. Our mistakes are our own, and we can’t blame them on our parents. However, many underlying factors can make people more prone to making bad choices, including the unfortunate decision to get behind the wheel while under the influence. If we understand some of these underlying factors, we may be able to compensate and make better choices. Let’s look at some of these dynamics.

Addiction and Genetics

Los-Angeles-DUI-attorney-4-300x200Driving under the influence can lead to some strange occurrences—none of them working in the driver’s favor. At the time of this writing, we’re only three-and-a-half months into 2019, and already we’re hearing reports of DUI cases ranging from the ironic to the unbelievable. Let’s explore a few of the most bizarre DUI stories of the year to date, and see what we can take away from them.

Sunk Until Spring

In early March, witnesses say a 37-year-old man from Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, drove his vehicle twice off a boat launch onto a frozen lake. On the second time, the vehicle broke through the ice and sank. Law enforcement arrived on the scene to see the man walking off the frozen lake in wet clothes while his vehicle disappeared under the surface. The man, John W. Hamilton, was arrested on suspicion of DUI. He claimed he was alone in the car when the ice broke, officials tested the site via sonar to verify that no one else was stuck in the car. Deputies estimated the vehicle was on the lake floor 17 feet below. Not only does Hamilton face DUI charges, but his vehicle will likely not be retrieved until later in the spring when the ice has melted.

Los-Angeles-DUI-attorney-6-200x300From gorgeous harbors and miles of coastline to hundreds of lakes, reservoirs and waterways, there are plenty of places in California to enjoy time out on a boat. But if you think operating a boat exempts you from California DUI laws, think again. Last spring, Dean Allen Payne came face to face with the full force of California law after running his boat over two ladies in innertubes, seriously injuring both of them. After being convicted operating the boat while intoxicated, Payne was sentenced to 12 years in state prison.

While DUI boating laws differ only slightly from those covering automobiles on the road, the consequences of breaking them can be no less severe. If you operate a boat and choose to indulge, here’s what you need to know about boating and DUI.

Boating Under the Influence: An Overview

Los-Angeles-DUI-attorney-7-300x200It’s not how you envisioned kicking off the New Year. Perhaps you’ve made resolutions; perhaps you’ve set goals. You were looking forward to the prospects of a new year with new possibilities. Certainly, kicking off 2019 with a Los Angeles DUI arrest was not on the agenda. Now you are facing potential charges that could spoil your momentum and derail all your plans for the year. What do you do now, and what steps can you take to get your year back on track?

First, regardless of the specific circumstances of your case, realize that you’re not the only person in this situation. The holiday season of 2018 in general, and New Year’s Eve in particular, has been record-setting for DUI arrests in California. Consider the following:

• Over the Christmas weekend 2018, California law enforcement officers made more than 1100 DUI arrests. That’s nearly 200 more than the 917 arrests made during the same time in 2017.

Los-Angeles-DUI-attorney-8-300x200Continuing our examination of DUI as reflected in popular culture and media, let’s shift our focus from music and television to the film industry.

DUI in Film

While the depiction of DUI on TV drastically changed in the 1980s, and while DUI in popular music has been both consistent and prolific, the film industry perhaps falls somewhere in the middle of these extremes. While the movies certainly don’t shy away from this topic, neither does the industry as a whole appear to carry any particular agenda—which makes an examination of this medium a bit more complex. Perhaps the best approach is to look at a few specific examples of DUI in films—both classic and modern—to see what we can learn.

Los-Angeles-DUI-attorney-9-300x200Great journalism has the ability not just to report the facts, but also to raise important questions and provoke discussion. The issues surrounding DUI enforcement and prevention are indeed complex, and many news stories over the past ten years have helped to propel these much-needed conversations forward. Let’s continue our exploration.

1. Reflecting on the Deadliest DUI Accident in History

On May 14, 1988, a DUI driver in a pickup truck slammed head-on into a school bus in Carrollton, KY, killing 27 people and injuring 34 others. Today, that collision still holds the record as the deadliest DUI accident in history. It was a triggering event that resulted in sweeping changes to the laws, including stricter safety measures for buses and a lowering of the legal BAC limit nationwide. But as ABC News reports, thirty years later, some are still questioning whether enough has been done to turn the tide of DUI.

Los-Angeles-DUI-attorney-10-300x200Suppose you’re at a bar with some friends and you have a few drinks. You don’t feel exceptionally impaired, but you realize you’re probably not safe to drive home. You notice a scooter rental nearby and decide that might be a cheaper choice than springing for a cab or Uber. In fact, you grab one more drink with the money you saved. You’ve made a good choice, right? You’re being responsible.

Not so fast.

In late September, as USA Today reports, Los Angeles prosecutors secured their first DUI conviction of a man riding an electric scooter while under the influence—no doubt the first of many.

Los-Angeles-DUI-attorney-13-300x199Getting arrested for DUI can be highly disruptive and embarrassing in itself—but imagine if your shortcomings made national headlines. By definition, famous people rely on publicity to keep them…famous. However, occasionally they get media attention for less than flattering reasons. Even so, we can always learn something from their stories, so let’s take a look at a few high-profile DUI cases from the past few months.

Vince Vaughn

Around 12:30 a.m. on Sunday, June 10, Dodgeball actor Vince Vaughn, 48, was stopped at a sobriety checkpoint in Manhattan Beach outside Los Angeles, WTOP reports. He allegedly failed an on-site sobriety test but opted to take a blood test rather than submit to a breathalyzer. Vaughn was arrested on the scene on suspicion of DUI, as captured by police body cameras. An unnamed passenger in the vehicle was also arrested for public intoxication, and both were cited for delaying an investigation—which under California law is listed in the same section as resisting or obstructing arrest.

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