Domestic violence is a serious situation that can quickly spiral out of control if the cycle of abuse continues uninterrupted. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), “intimate partner violence accounts for 15% of all violent crime” with “nearly 20 people” abused in some way every minute. That means more than 10 million men and women are facing abuse every year in the United States. It is easy to feel alone in these situations, even when there are so many others facing similar situations, but know that there are resources and people that can help.
One of the experienced San Jose domestic violence attorneys at Gomez Edwards Law Group, LLP can take a closer look at the issues you have concerning your domestic violence claim. Any one of our lawyers can help build a strong domestic violence case that will protect you and your family through court proceedings and beyond.
Most people have a specific idea that comes to mind when they hear the phrase “domestic violence”; however, the definition of domestic violence under California law is far more comprehensive than most individuals realize. California law recognizes that abuse can encompass mental, emotional and financial acts designed to control, intimidate or harass another. Abuse can occur without there ever being any physical contact. For example, it is considered domestic abuse when an individual places GPS tracking devices on a vehicle to track a partner’s movement, or if an ex-partner makes continuous calls or sends repeated unwanted messages. California law is expansive and flexible enough to protect individuals from many forms of harmful contact.
Additionally, the abuse does not have to be perpetrated by a spouse. Domestic violence restraining orders are available to anyone with a dating or familial relationship, or who has a child together. This means that an individual who stalks and attempts to coerce an ex-lover is considered a domestic abuser and an appropriate individual to file a domestic violence restraining order against.
A domestic violence restraining order is one way that the law can help a victim of domestic abuse stay safe. This type of restraining order can last anywhere from a year up to five years. Even when the order has a limited duration, the victim can renew the order for either another term, or permanently if the individual still feels threatened by the abuser.
It is common knowledge that a restraining order can limit — or even prohibit — contact between the concerned parties, but a judge can approve more stipulations depending on the situation. For example, no restrained party may own firearms. Further, as a condition of every domestic violence restraining order, the restrained party must surrender any firearms they own. Additionally, the judge can order the restrained party to attend anger management counseling or drug testing. When the individuals have children, the court can also include orders to protect the children, including modifying custody arrangements and setting a visitation schedule. When it applies, the court’s order can also protect other individuals who live in the same residence and who also feel threatened by the individual.
Some people doubt that a restraining order will do any good because it is just a piece of paper. However, violating that order — even by a centimeter — can result in significant jail time (especially for repeat violations). When there is a no contact order, each phone call in violation of the order is a separate offense. Once violations of the order occur, it becomes a criminal matter that may subject the restrained party to criminal charges. For this reason, it is important to report all violations, no matter how trivial or brief the violation.
In cases involving domestic abuse, a lawyer is an advocate that can act on your behalf and prevent the other party from using legal proceedings to his or her advantage. Your attorney will ensure that your rights are protected and will advise you on the best course of action for your circumstances. A skilled attorney will know how to collect evidence for trial and can speak to relevant witnesses who can help strengthen and prove your case. Even before a case goes to trial, an experienced attorney can help you get a restraining order (or another type of protection order).
There may be some things your lawyer is unable to do, however, depending on your situation. Communication is key. Do not be afraid to discuss your case with your attorney in great detail, ask any questions and raise any concerns that you may have. Upon hiring your lawyer, it is encouraged that you ask questions about his or her background, including how much experience (and success) he or she has with domestic abuse cases.
Are you one of the 10 million men and women who suffer abuse at the hands of his or her partner? Know that you have legal rights and options. More than that, you deserve to live a happy life, free from the violence and abuse that you have already tolerated for too long. One of the experienced San Jose domestic violence attorneys at Gomez Edwards Law Group, LLP can help secure the safety of you and your family’s future.
If you are in Santa Clara, California, then contact our office today to schedule a free initial consultation. We can evaluate your situation and determine the best course of action for your domestic abuse case. Call today to see how we can help you.