No one should live in fear. No one deserves to be abused. No one asks for domestic violence. Victims need to be helped and protected. These are platitudes that are now generally accepted by the public. This is good because they are true. However, there is an unspoken societal caveat to these statements. Society quite often assumes that the victims are always women and the abusers are always men. This is simply not true. The truth is not made any easier for the public to accept since the cases of domestic violence with a male victim are vastly under-reported. There are many reasons for this and this article is a continuation of an examination of this issue. Continue reading
This is a continuing examination of an issue that has only recently been being given any consideration. Everyone knows there are victims of domestic violence – the media has made certain that everyone is aware of the problem. This is a good thing. It is a problem and that everybody needs to be aware of and do what they can to eradicate. The bad thing is that most people seem to believe that all victims are women and all perpetrators are men. The fact is that there are men victims and women victims. One of the reasons this assumption is made is due to the one sided-ness that this issue is generally discussed from. But one of the other reasons is that male victims, even more so than female victims, fail to report their abusers or seek help and choose instead to silently live with the violence.
There are several reasons for this discrepancy and many of them are peculiar to men victims only. Continue reading
There was an interesting case in the Washington courts about seven years ago. The participants will be kept anonymous but permission has been received to simply share the story. The case involved child custody and domestic violence. Both the man and the woman, or father and mother, were claiming to be the victims of domestic violence. The innocent party had spent years actually hiding the violence and not calling the police except for once. So there was very little evidence. The court was left in the unenviable position of dealing with a basically “he said, she said” case and making their decision. It does sound like the court had a hard road in deciding.
It would also seem, however, that there was circumstantial evidence that could be used. The man was small – he stood at 5’1” and was about 160 pounds. He was also cripplingly arthritic and had no police record at all. The woman was substantially larger – she stood at 5’11” and was about 300 pounds. She also had a history of diagnosed mental illnesses including bipolar disorder and had needed to be institutionalized twice, once for a suicide attempt and once for violent acts. The court chose to believe the woman. The man could not believe it. He himself asked later, “Even if I was capable of violence, which I don’t think I am, what chance would I possibly have against her? She could easily overpower me without using violence at all!” It does seem odd. But she had this going for her – she was the woman. It is getting better but the courts still have a hard time seeing the possibility that the man can be the victim in a domestic violence case. Continue reading
You have been accused of stalking. You are probably quite understandably upset, worried and maybe even angry. In most of these cases the two parties know each other. You may have been completely unaware that the other person was upset by your presence or communication. You are worried what this will mean to your future. Commonly, this is a former intimate partner or relationship making this a domestic violence allegation.
Stalking is charged when you are suspected of repeatedly following another person who is afraid or intimidated by this and you know (or should have known) that they felt fearful. Please notice that you do not need to intend to frighten the other person for this crime to be charged; it simply matters that they felt threatened. This is generally a gross misdemeanor charge with penalties of up to a year in jail and a $5000 fine. But, there are situations which can increase this to a felony charge with penalties of up to 5 years in jail a $10,000 fine. This increase happens when you have a past conviction of stalking or there is a restraining order in place or you are suspected of trying to intimidate a witness in another case. So this is very serious. Also, if this is a domestic violence situation then the probation, even on the misdemeanor, can be five years long. That is what you need to know and that is why you need a defense attorney. Continue reading
It is a known fact that domestic violence happens, is a problem for Washington (not to mention the whole country), and has caused permanent injuries and even fatalities. Yet it is also known that for every victim that is found, helped and able to get out, there are many unreported domestic violence situations. In fact, it is usually the case that when the police or courts are involved the abuse has been going on for some time before it was reported. In many cases the only reason that some domestic violence situations are reported is that a third party witness called it in or a major injury or fatality was sustained and there was no choice but to involve others for medical aid
For many people this raises a lot of comments and questions. “Surely they couldn’t like being abused – no one does. I would never let that happen to me. Why didn’t they just call the police or at least leave? Why did they stay?” These comments and questions are usually derived from sympathy for the victims and are well intentioned. However, they also show a lack of understanding of what it is like to be in an abusive relationship involving domestic violence. There are many reasons why people choose to stay in a domestic violence situation. The reasons do not condone the violence by any means. Nor are the reasons usually well thought out. But it does help us empathize with people if we can at least partially understand. Continue reading
One of the worst tragedies in our society today is that of domestic violence. One of the most surprising statistics that you can find if you look is that every 37.8 seconds there is a man being physically abused. This is surprising because the research seems mostly to concern itself with women victims and it is generally known that there is a woman being abused just as frequently if not more so. There is no formula for why it happens. Yes there are common risk factors and those will be examined but even if all the risk factors exist in a household there is no guarantee that physical violence will happen. Conversely, even if none of the risk factors are present there is no guarantee that violence will not happen. Anyone can be a perpetrator. Anyone can be a victim. Anyone can be accused too – if you find yourself in this situation you will want to consult a defense attorney as quickly as possible.
One of the more common risk factors Continue reading
A recent decision by the Washington Court of Appeals, which upheld a man’s conviction for assault, offers some useful insight on two separate aspects of criminal trials. In deciding to uphold the trial court’s decision, the appeals court ruled against the accused man because it determined that the way the state made challenges to certain potential jurors was not improper, and that the accused man did not follow the right procedure for contesting the legal financial obligations imposed by the trial court.
In the case, the state accused Jeremy Brinson of committing second-degree assault (domestic violence) on his girlfriend. In any criminal trial, both the state and the accused can reject certain potential jurors without having to offer a reason. In Brinson’s case, each side conducted these peremptory challenges at sidebar, meaning they orally communicated each challenge off the record. The court was open to the public while this took place. The court eventually found Brinson guilty, sentenced him to eight months in custody followed by a year of community custody, and also imposed $400 in legal financial obligations. Those obligations included a $250 fee for Brinson’s jury demand and a $150 incarceration fee.
Domestic violence affects the victim. Domestic violence affects the children in the home. Domestic violence even affects the perpetrator. You were probably aware of this. After all, some of these affects are of course the legal issues you or someone you care about are now facing charges of assault with a domestic violence designation. What you may not be aware of is that domestic violence has negative effects over all of society.
One way that domestic violence affects society you can probably already guess. Many incidents are going to end up involving the police, the courts with all its personnel, hospitals and doctors, treatment facilities and perhaps even other services. Of course any time that these people need to give their services to deal with a domestic violence situation is less time they can be working on something else that would be just as needed. As all these services are among the most desperately needed by society you can see how in just this small way that domestic violence is harmful to society.
There is also, as mentioned above, the effects on the participants. It has been shown that domestic violence victims have much higher than normal tendencies to have physical problems like ulcers and heart problems, mental problems like depression and PTSD and social problems with relationships. Although not as much has been written on the topic it has also been shown that the effects on abusers mirror those which victims suffer from. In every incident of domestic violence there is a likelihood that it is creating two people who will struggle to fit in with society and some will no longer be able to be productive. Two people may not sound like enough to worry about, certainly not enough to affect society but realize that this is occurring in thousands of households.
Being charged with a crime like assault is bad enough. Being charged with domestic violence assault or any crime designated as domestic violence in Washington is horrible. You’ve got the usual penalties that are attached to any crime looming over you like jail time and fines. Plus there are other penalties that come with a domestic violence charge that may be concerning you like the extra fine, no contact order, and loss of firearm. Plus it will be on your permanent record and is very difficult to seal or expunge which may cause you problems with employment or housing. Also, there is the stigma that society places on this charge so it may feel like the whole world, including family and friends, is looking down on you.
There is another possible, if not probable, penalty of which you should be aware. If convicted, you may and probably will be court ordered to attend a domestic violence perpetrator program. Continue reading
As you are discovering, if you are accused of domestic violence assault in Washington it is taken very seriously and there are many potential consequences. You’re already worried about the potential jail time and fines as well as other potential penalties such as mandatory treatment. You’re also probably concerned about the no contact order (NCO) that may have even already been placed on you.
You’ve probably got several questions. You’re wondering, “What if the alleged victim doesn’t want the NCO? What if the alleged victim contacts me? What are the consequences if I break the NCO? How will I get my belongings?” This will strive to answer those questions but what you really need is the counsel and defense of a defense attorney. Continue reading