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Domestic Violence Information

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Frequently Asked Questions about Domestic Violence

Q: What is domestic violence?

A: Domestic violence includes many forms of coercive behavior, including physical, sexual, economic, emotional or psychological abuse of one family member or romantic partner by another. In most states, domestic violence includes behaviors that constitute assault, battery, criminal threats, sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment, annoying phone calls, or any criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death of one family or household member by another family or household member.

Q: Can I be arrested for domestic abuse if the injury is minor?

A: Yes. Minor physical injuries, and even the threat of violence, may result in an arrest in a domestic violence case. However, the severity of the injury may influence the specific charge brought.

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In 2002, federal prosecution for violent crimes against women increased by 35 percent. If you are accused of domestic violence, the accusation will be taken seriously and will likely be prosecuted. The sooner you contact an attorney upon being threatened with domestic abuse charges, the better your chances of mounting a successful defense.

The top-ranked domestic violence lawyers at the Van Nuys, Southern California law office of Eisner Gorin LLP, are former criminal trial prosecutors and State Bar Certified Criminal Trial Specialists with years of courtroom experience defending people facing felony or misdemeanor charges of domestic violence. Domestic violence charges are often brought for all the wrong reasons: because a girlfriend or boyfriend is angry, or because one member of a couple wants to one-up the other in a divorce. Things aren't always as they appear. And police end up arresting a suspect just because they see what appears to be an injury, based on an incomplete investigation. We have a licensed investigator on-site in our office suite to help us prove your case and show there was a rush to judgment by law enforcement. When it's time for an aggressive defense, count on Eisner Gorin LLP. Contact our office by e-mail, or call toll-free at 877-781-1570 for a prompt response.

If you're facing misdemeanor or felony charges for domestic violence including spousal abuse, spousal assault and battery, or spousal rape, don't talk to the police first. Talk to us. We speak English, Russian, Armenian, Spanish, Farsi, and Hebrew.

Domestic Violence - An Overview

Domestic violence is generally a coercive behavior that includes physical, sexual, economic, emotional or psychological abuse of one family member or romantic partner by another. In most states, domestic violence includes domestic battery, sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking, kidnapping, witness intimidation, false imprisonment, or murder of one household member by another household member. If you or someone you know has been charged with domestic violence, it is very important to contact us to obtain the legal representation of an experienced criminal defense attorney. The penalties for a domestic violence conviction can be serious and life-changing, but many defenses are available. Even if a person has been arrested for domestic violence, he or she may not have actually broken any law. Contacting an attorney as soon as possible provides the best opportunity for a successful defense. As criminal defense attorneys, we have the experience and skill to begin preparing your defense as soon as you retain us.

Felony Domestic Violence

Felony domestic violence charges may include crimes as serious as first degree murder, attempted murder, rape and aggravated stalking. Most domestic violence charges can be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor. A defendant charged with a felony, such as corporal injury to spouse, or elder abuse could serve a significant term in prison, whereas a defendant charged with a misdemeanor may serve only a short jail term or be required to pay a fine, attend counseling, or be put on probation. If you are charged, you need an attorney to coordinate a strong defense, regardless of the charge level.

Domestic Violence Sentencing

The penalties for domestic violence vary depending on the specific charge and the severity of the crime, and can generally range from fines and community service to incarceration and possibly death. Misdemeanor domestic violence penalties depend on the facts of the individual case. Penalties for felony convictions are more extreme, and depend on the crime's severity and surrounding circumstances. Judges will also look at prior convictions. If you have been arrested for a domestic violence act, protect your rights by contacting a criminal defense firm regarding your defense. You will also have to complete a batterers' intervention program.

A Domestic Violence Arrest and Your Divorce

Domestic violence charges often have far-reaching and significant effects on divorce proceedings. The violence may mean that mediation is not an option, and charges of violence may affect child custody, and the distribution of property. Mediation is used as a settlement tool in many divorce cases, but the results may not be completely satisfactory if you are charged with domestic violence. If a judge decides your divorce case, he or she may consider the allegations of domestic violence in making the final ruling in your case. It is thus especially important that you contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer if domestic violence charges are brought against you during a divorce proceeding. Contact a defense attorney without delay.

How Restraining Orders Work

A domestic violence restraining order is a court order that helps protect a person from abuse, usually by prohibiting an abuser from contacting or coming near the protected person. An attorney may be involved to help the person seeking the order, or later to defend the subject of the order. Typically, a domestic violence victim can ask a family law court for a restraining order if a person with whom he or she has a close relationship abuses him or her. In general, a person may qualify for a domestic violence restraining order if the abuser caused or attempted to cause injury or to assault the victim sexually, or if the abuser threatened to harm the victim and there is reason to believe that he or she will carry out the threats. Most states can issue emergency orders, temporary orders, and permanent orders. Generally, a judge will decide whether or not to issue the order within one business day, and sometimes sooner. In many jurisdictions, a victim may be able to obtain an emergency restraining order through the local police department if the court is closed. If the restrained person violates the restraining order, he or she can be arrested and charged with a crime. Only the judge can change or cancel a restraining order.

Domestic Violence Resource Links

National Domestic Violence Hotline Contains detailed information on domestic violence, including resources for abusers.

We have provided a list of domestic violence resources for victims.

National Coalition Against Domestic Violence Online resources related to domestic violence prevention and recovery

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