Los Angeles Domestic Violence Attorneys
What is Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence refers to the abuse or violence that occurs within an intimate or familial relationship. California law defines domestic violence under the Domestic Violence Prevention Act (DVPA) and includes physical abuse, threats, stalking, and other behaviors that are used to exert control or power over another person with whom the abuser has a close relationship.
Common forms of domestic violence recognized under California law include:
- Physical Abuse: Any form of bodily harm, including hitting, kicking, slapping, punching, or other physical assaults.
- Verbal or Emotional Abuse: This involves using words, threats, or intimidation to control or manipulate the victim. It can include constant criticism, humiliation, or the use of derogatory language.
- Sexual Abuse: Forcing or coercing someone into unwanted sexual activities, or engaging in sexual acts without the other person's consent.
- Financial Abuse: Controlling the victim's financial resources or preventing them from accessing money, employment, or other financial assets.
- Psychological Abuse: This includes tactics such as mind games, manipulation, and creating an atmosphere of fear or anxiety to control the victim.
- Stalking: Repeated and unwanted attention, contact, or harassment that causes the victim to feel threatened or fearful.
- Cyber Abuse: The use of technology, such as social media, emails, or messaging apps, to harass, intimidate, or control the victim.
- Isolation: Attempting to cut off the victim from friends, family, or support systems, thereby isolating them and making it more difficult for the victim to seek help.
Common Signs of Domestic Violence
Recognizing signs of domestic violence is crucial for identifying and addressing abusive situations. It's important to note that domestic violence can take various forms, and signs may differ from one situation to another.
Here are some common signs of domestic violence:
- Physical Injuries: Unexplained or frequent injuries, such as bruises, cuts, or broken bones, may be signs of physical abuse. The victim may offer inconsistent explanations or may avoid discussing the injuries altogether.
- Emotional or Behavioral Changes: Victims of domestic violence often experience changes in behavior or mood. They may become withdrawn, anxious, or depressed. Additionally, they may exhibit signs of fear, such as hypervigilance or startled reactions.
- Isolation: Abusers often try to isolate their victims from friends, family, and support systems. If someone is suddenly cutting off contact with loved ones or seems increasingly isolated, it may be a red flag.
- Control Tactics: The abuser may exhibit controlling behavior, dictating what the victim can wear, whom they can associate with, or where they can go. This can extend to monitoring phone calls, texts, or social media activity.
- Verbal Abuse: Constant criticism, insults, or demeaning language can be forms of verbal abuse. This type of abuse is intended to undermine the victim's self-esteem and reinforce the abuser's control.
- Fear of the Partner: Victims may express fear or anxiety about their partner's reactions, even in seemingly benign situations. They may go to great lengths to avoid upsetting their partner.
- Financial Control: Abusers may control the victim's finances, limiting access to money or resources. This can make it difficult for the victim to leave the abusive relationship.
- Destruction of Property: An abuser may destroy the victim's belongings or engage in property damage as a form of control or intimidation.
- Children's Behavior: Children in households affected by domestic violence may exhibit behavioral problems, aggression, withdrawal, or academic difficulties.
Domestic Violence Laws in California
It is important to note that these potentially life altering allegations often boil down to a “he said/she said” situation. Police rightly take all accusations seriously, but the facts behind the matter can be unclear or even exaggerated to obtain the upper hand in a family law dispute. If you have been falsely accused, it is very important that you seek the help of an attorney as soon as possible.
- Felony Domestic Violence - up to 4 years in state prison, the sentence depends on the seriousness of injuries, additionally you will have to undergo a mandatory domestic violence class. If there is a record of domestic violence, sexual assault, assault with a weapon or attempted assault within 7 years the prison sentence can be up to 5 years & up to $10k in fines.
- Misdemeanor Domestic Violence - up to $2k in fines & up to 1 year in a county jail.
Additionally, restraining order and protective orders serve an important function in keeping you and your family safe from harm and abuse. If you or your children are facing violence or threats of violence from a spouse, partner, ex, or person living in your household, our domestic violence lawyers in Los Angeles will assist you in getting the legal protection you need, fast.
Contrary to popular belief, domestic violence is not a private matter but is a criminal offense. When a person is accused of domestic violence they can be arrested and charged with this serious crime. If you are the victim of domestic violence and are interested in seeking a restraining order or an emergency protective order to protect you and your family from further instances of violence, you should speak with an attorney at Claery & Hammond, LLP immediately.
Domestic Violence & Child Custody
If children were in any way involved in a situation of domestic violence, it is especially important that you consult with a lawyer at our firm. There are laws in California to protect children from domestic violence and abuse. When a child is thought to be in such an environment, arrangements like child custody and visitation may be affected, and in some cases the child may be completely removed by child protective services. To protect your child and to retain custody or visitation rights, you need to speak with a lawyer at our firm about your situation as soon as possible.
How We Can Help
At Claery & Hammond, LLP, our family attorneys provide legal representation to clients for cases involving domestic violence and assist with all types of matters pertaining to stalking, harassment and threats. Our Los Angeles divorce and family lawyers can help with obtain a restraining order against another person, or fight against a restraining that has been unnecessarily placed against you. No matter what your specific circumstances may be, your attorney will know how best to handle your situation and will take whatever actions are necessary to resolve it.
Here are other ways we can help you:
- Legal Advocacy: Our attorneys serve as dedicated advocates for victims, representing their interests in court proceedings. We work to ensure that the legal system acknowledges and addresses the harm suffered by victims of domestic violence.
- Safety Planning: We collaborate with our clients to develop personalized safety plans. This may involve identifying safe living arrangements, coordinating with law enforcement, and taking steps to protect against potential threats.
- Understanding Legal Options: We provide victims with a clear understanding of their legal options. This includes explaining the process of obtaining a restraining order, pursuing criminal charges against the perpetrator, or seeking damages through a civil lawsuit.
- Support in Criminal Proceedings: If criminal charges are brought against the perpetrator, we guide victims through the legal process. We work closely with law enforcement and the prosecution to ensure that the victim's voice is heard, and their rights are protected.
- Collaboration with Support Services: Our firm collaborates with local support services and organizations that specialize in assisting victims of domestic violence. We can connect clients with resources such as counseling, shelters, and community support to address their immediate and long-term needs.
- Civil Remedies: In addition to criminal proceedings, we explore civil remedies on behalf of victims. This may include pursuing damages in a civil lawsuit against the perpetrator for the harm caused.
- Empowerment Through Information: We empower victims by providing them with the information and resources they need to make informed decisions about their legal options. Our goal is to support and empower victims throughout the legal process.