Domestic violence is also known as domestic abuse, spousal abuse, family violence, dating abuse, assault/battery, and intimate partner violence (IPV). Domestic violence is defined as a pattern of behavior where one person in an intimate relationship abuses the other individual physically, emotionally, verbally, economically, and/or sexually. Domestic violence usually occurs as part of a cycle of abuse, vacillating between high tension times that involve violence and calm times of reconciliation. In some cases both individuals in the intimate relationship can be engaged in abusive or violent behaviors, which can be due to one person acting in self-defense.[/vc_column_text]

Domestic violence laws are the criminal rules for the punishment of those who cause emotional and/or physical harm to others with whom they share an intimate relationship. The majority of domestic violence offenses are prosecuted under state law, although federal legislation has made domestic violence a crime. The United States Government provides helpful information on domestic violence. If you are in immediate danger and need help, please call 911 or the National Domestic Violence Hotline.

Once allegations of domestic violence have been made, the court almost always will issue an initial no-contact order. If the defendant violates the no-contact order, it makes defending their case more difficult and usually results in jail time. Whether you’re a victim of domestic violence or have been accused of domestic violence, it is best to contact an attorney who is experienced with domestic violence legal services as there are serious risks and consequences. According to Safe Horizon, 1 in 4 women will experienced domestic violence during her lifetime and 1 in 3 homicide victims are murdered by a current or former partner annually.

Domestic violence criminal cases can be resolved in one of two ways; fighting the allegations by going to trial, or entering a guilty / no contest plea in exchange for more lenient punishment. The strength of the evidence against the defendant usually plays the strongest role in the judge’s decision of the punishment for the crime of domestic violence, and things like medical examination records, recorded testimony (often from 911 calls), and photographs can be important. Some states, such as California, have special rules for domestic violence cases, allowing prosecutors to present evidence of a defendants’ criminal history.

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