Murrieta Domestic Violence Attorney
Domestic violence is one of the most pervasive and disturbing issues that has affected families for generations across the United States. It is no different in Murrieta. These cases are some of the most complicated to dissect and can affect anyone at any age or from any socioeconomic class.
By taking the time to understand domestic violence, and all the legal mechanisms in place to protect the most vulnerable, residents of Murrieta can feel more equipped to defend themselves from any accusations they believe are unfair with the support of a domestic violence attorney.
What Is Considered Domestic Violence?
Defining domestic violence is the first step to fully understanding the extent of its damage. It is a pattern of abuse that is used by one person in a relationship to keep control over the other. Sometimes, this is an individual’s spouse. Other times, it could be a different intimate partner, someone within the family, or even a friend that someone sees from time to time.
Physical abuse is one of the easiest forms of domestic violence to identify. This is because it involves someone inflicting physical harm on an individual, which often results in tangible markings on one’s body. When someone has clear marks and bruises on their skin, it could be from their abuser hitting them. However, physical abuse can also extend to someone removing their victim from basic human needs, such as restricting their access to food or medical care.
Sexual abuse, under the umbrella of domestic violence, is any scenario where someone is forced to engage in any sexual behavior without consent. Rape is the most severe form of sexual abuse, where someone is forced to have sex. If someone denies their partner safe sex practices, such as wearing a condom to prevent pregnancy, it could also be considered a form of sexual abuse.
When someone manipulates the mental well-being of someone to inflict harm, this is a less visible form of domestic violence called emotional abuse. This is the intentional degradation of someone’s self-worth to keep them vulnerable to their abuser’s control. Constant criticism and humiliation are two tactics used in these abuse scenarios. It could also include situations where an abuser tries to keep their victims depressed and isolated from their family and friends.
The final form of abuse commonly observed in Murrieta is economic abuse. This is when an abuser takes control of someone else’s financial resources. They want to remove any economic independence the individual has to keep them from trying to leave. For example, the individual could spend all their money, or even prevent them from working, to ensure they are not able to live on their own.
These four categories of domestic violence are where most cases will lie. However, it takes a great deal of evidence and testimony to prove that any of these examples of abuse occurred. Being charged with domestic violence is not an automatic sentence. You will have the opportunity to work with a Murrieta domestic violence lawyer to assess the case in great detail and anticipate what strategies can be used to defend against the prosecution.
What Defense Strategies Exist for Domestic Violence Allegations?
Just like the prosecutors will work in a domestic violence case to prove guilt, a defense team can work twice as hard to defend an invalid allegation. These are the most common defenses used when someone believes they have been unfairly accused of committing domestic violence:
- Lack of Evidence: Proving a case in court is not possible without evidence. This is advantageous to a Murrieta domestic violence attorney, as any false accusations of domestic violence will have holes in their evidence. An attorney can direct everyone’s attention to these gaps to reinforce the case’s weakness.
- Self-Defense: If someone is accusing you of violence, but you hold the position that it was a necessary use of force to protect yourself from abuse, this could direct your attorney to advance a self-defense claim. They will need their own set of evidence to prove who originally attacked whom and the extent of that act of violence. This can demonstrate to the court that you needed to intervene with some type of action to defend yourself from a potentially worse situation.
- Consent: In cases of sexual abuse, the conversation usually involves the concept of consent. One party claims that they never gave consent, while the other party says that they felt they had it. It is up to a defense attorney to demonstrate how someone being accused of sexual abuse received consent in the first place.
- Alibi: If there was someone else who observed the abuse, this can completely change the outcome of a case. All of the jury, judge, and lawyers were not present during the alleged abuse, so relying on a non-biased third-party testimonial can dramatically alter the case’s outcome. However, an alibi does not have to be present. You could also bring in an alibi that can speak to the fact that you were somewhere else during the documented time of abuse.
- Mistaken Identity: Sometimes, the accuser incorrectly blames someone for what happened. This can happen when they mistake their identity for someone else’s. If the defense believes this happened, it is up to them to comb through the evidence to prove that someone else committed the crime. If they don’t know who the actual abuser is, they can at least find a way to prove that their client was not around during the abuse.
- Mental Insanity: If there is no doubt that the defendant did commit the crime, but was not in the right state of mind, they may be able to claim a defense of mental insanity. This is the idea that someone was unable to understand the nature of their actions due to severe mental illness. This is not a defense that is accepted lightly and will require working closely with different professionals in healthcare and psychology to prove the position.
Understanding Restraining Orders
One tool that is commonly tapped into during domestic violence cases is a restraining order. This can also be referred to as a protection order, and it is created and administered by the court. It is designed to protect someone from being harassed or abused by someone they believe is responsible. Depending on the details of the specific restraining order, it will require one individual to stay a certain amount of distance away from the person who requested the order at all times. It also prevents them from being able to contact the individual through any communication platform, like text messaging or social media.
When someone is served a restraining order, panic may begin to set in. They feel as if this indicates they will be proven guilty in court on domestic violence charges. However, this is not the case. Everyone has a right to pursue legal action against someone they believe has committed a crime, but the individual being accused also has a right to a fair trial and to be represented by their Murrieta criminal defense attorney.
You will have to obey the terms of a restraining order, whether you are guilty or not. This is important to comply with because, even if you are found not guilty of the crime later in court, you can still face legal repercussions for disobeying a restraining order.
What Details Are Found in a Restraining Order?
You can expect to find the following in a restraining order:
- Names of the Parties: It will be clear who the individual is that is seeking to be protected and who the individual is that they want to be protected from.
- Prohibited Conduct: Certain behaviors that are restricted by the court order will be laid out. Some simple requests could just restrict any physical interactions but leave room for some form of electronic communication. Others will be very restrictive in an attempt to completely remove this individual from the other’s life until a court has decided if the alleged abuse is true or false.
- Removal From Current Residence: Some orders may require an individual to move out of their current home. For example, a spouse who shares a home with their alleged abuser may request an order to remove them from the residence.
- Restrictions on Firearms: If the alleged abuse is violent, it is not uncommon that an order will demand that the individual temporarily lose any access they have to guns. It could also prevent them from purchasing any new ones in the future. These will be returned if the prosecution is not able to prove guilt in a court of law.
- Duration of the Order: Restraining orders are not permanent. They are often set to protect an individual from any contact until court. However, sometimes an individual decides they do not wish to pursue any legal action but still want the protection of a restraining order. In these cases, you may find that you have to avoid contact with the individual for several years.
Any violations of these details in a restraining order can result in criminal charges. If you have any questions, or need clarification on the details of an order against you, contact an attorney immediately to avoid making anything worse.
Contact My SoCal Lawyers Today
If you have been charged in Murrieta with domestic violence, or have been ordered to follow a restraining order, contact My SoCal Lawyers today. With our background in criminal law, and experience helping people navigate difficult issues like divorce and domestic violence cases, we are skilled professionals who can get the job done.