When most people think of domestic violence, they picture bruises, cuts, and broken bones from physical violence. Though this is certainly one kind of domestic abuse, in reality, there are many more ways that domestic violence can occur. Therefore, it is essential to understand these manifestations so that you can be aware of what behavior might land you with an accusation.
No matter what the occurrence, domestic violence occurs between individuals with an intimate household relationship. This can mean spouses, partners, children, parents, roommates, etc. This category of abuse occurs domestically, meaning inside the home or family unit.
Though the abuser/abused relationship is relatively specific in domestic violence cases, the type of abuse is not. There are many ways that domestic violence can occur, and all of them are grounds for a court case.
A few examples of domestic abuse include:
- Emotional abuse, including intimidation, manipulation, gaslighting, etc.
- Financial abuse, including withholding money
- Entrapment or keeping someone within the confines of the home or a particular room
- Sexual abuse, including rape, sexual assault, etc.
- Verbal abuse, including threats, insults, mockery, belittlement, etc.
- Physical abuse such as hitting, beating, punching, kicking, pushing, and more
As you may have noticed, these are vastly different offenses. Some of them are more straightforward, while others may be subjective. For example, if two people interpret a situation differently and argue about what occurred, one may accuse the other of gaslighting when, in fact, it was simply a misunderstanding. Punching, on the other hand, is relatively straightforward.
Proving these offenses varies in difficulty as well. For example, physical abuse and sexual abuse are easily proven through tests, photos of bruises, and witnesses. Verbal or financial abuse, however, can be more challenging to prove. However, even if your own case seems subjective, it is important to acknowledge that you can still be charged.
Why Do I Need a Domestic Violence Lawyer in San Bernardino?
Whether you are in San Bernardino or elsewhere, it is of the utmost importance that you hire a domestic violence attorney for your domestic violence charges. These charges are serious and can have profound personal, familial, and social implications that last a lifetime. An attorney is your only hope to fight your charges.
Judges and court systems do not look kindly upon those who do not hire legal representation. In many situations, it simply appears as if you do not care about the topic at hand. This is usually interpreted as smugness or a jaded attitude, which judges and courts do not care for.
Finally, these cases are complicated. Even if you think that your accuser does not have any grounds for their case, you will likely be surprised by how much the prosecution can rally against you. With the right attorney, the prosecution can easily win on very little evidence. This is especially true if you do not have an attorney to defend you from their accusations.
What Are the Steps in a Domestic Violence Case?
In many legal scenarios, there is no set order of operations for a case. This usually inspires anxiety and stress in clients who want to know what is going to happen. Fortunately, domestic violence cases often have a straightforward set of steps. This can help individuals mentally prepare for the process ahead.
Typically, domestic violence cases go like this:
- Claim and InvestigationThe claim is often created in the form of a 911 call or police involvement. At this stage, the victim alerts the authorities to the fact that they have allegedly been abused. Law enforcement will do a preliminary search and investigation, often involving official statements and documentation of any initial proof, such as bruises or broken items. They may help the alleged victim obtain a temporary restraining order, and the alleged abuser may be taken into custody.
- ArraignmentThis phase occurs in many different types of court cases, not just domestic violence. Here, the court officially informs the defense of the crimes of which they are being accused. They will also spell out the options for how they can plead. This boils down to pleading guilty or not guilty. The former is not advised, as it cannot be taken back. Pleading not guilty during arraignment allows the defense to potentially plead guilty if their attorney receives an appealing plea deal.
- Plea BargainingThe attorneys of both the accused and the accuser will meet to discuss the evidence, the arguments, and the details of the case. They will negotiate a plea deal, which often means a lighter sentence if the defendant pleads guilty. In situations where the odds are not in the defendant’s favor, their attorney may advise that they take the plea bargain to avoid more serious charges in court. If the defendant has a good chance of being found innocent, their attorney may advise them to reject the plea bargain.
- TrialIf the defendant decides to reject the plea deal, the case will go to trial, where a judge and jury will decide what should happen.
How Do Domestic Violence Cases Get Dismissed?
If the prosecution decides that they do not wish to have the defendant charged, they can drop the charges at any time. In many scenarios, this is the end of the situation. However, in rare instances where the court believes that the defendant is dangerous, the state may take up the case and prosecute the defendant.
If charged, an individual may be able to get the charges stricken from their permanent record after successfully completing counseling and classes. This depends on the circumstances of the abuse and the individual’s permanent record.
In many cases, domestic violence claims end without charges or with a restraining order and court-ordered counseling. This is especially true for first-time offenders when the situation appears to be an isolated incident. If the defendant has a significant record, they may be charged more severely. Jail time is possible.
How Much Do Domestic Abuse Lawyers Make?
Each domestic abuse attorney and firm is different. There is no singular salary for a domestic abuse attorney. Some firms and individuals work for very little money, while others have more experience and success and therefore charge more.
No matter what your financial situation is, it is important to speak with your attorney about their rates before you begin working with them. Working with an attorney that you cannot afford will only land you in more legal trouble later. What’s more, it may cause you to lose your representation midway through a case, which does not usually end well. Attorneys are accustomed to discussing finances, so be sure to ask their rates upfront.
Contact My SoCal Lawyers For Your Domestic Abuse Claim
If you face criminal domestic violence charges, it is vital to seek an attorney as soon as possible. This gives you the best chance of building a solid case in your favor and avoiding the life-ruining consequences of being found guilty. At My SoCal Lawyers, we work diligently to ensure that our clients’ voices are heard and unjust accusations are put to rest.
For the best San Bernardino domestic violence attorney services, please reach out to us online today.