What You Should Know About Domestic Violence Laws
Upholding the law in some cases can be very convoluted. This is definitely the case when it comes to domestic violence. Domestic violence can be in the form of physical, emotional, sexual, or even financial acts. If the violence is physical or sexual, law officials, concerned friends, family, or unfortunately hospital staff may be able to prove easier than brutality is indeed transpiring.
To add, there may be young children affected by the violence, not necessarily directly affected but watching or hearing the acts happen.
Table of Contents
State to State
All states have different views and penalties for domestic violence and whether the alleged crime is a misdemeanor or a felony. There are also differences on what the officer is encouraged to do when they encounter such situations.
Moreover, medical professionals have different laws according to their state of practice concerning them reporting what they suspect is domestic abuse. As sometimes the victim does not want to get their mate and abuser arrested and/or put in jail, they may not seek medical treatment. In some states, the medical professional could face criminal charges themselves if they failed to report abuse and it was discovered.
In most cases where there is domestic violence happening, the victim and abuser share the home they are in, the finances, and possibly offspring. In some states, a victim can get their lease terminated early to move out and away from an alleged abuser without any penalty, assuming the victim can produce a police report stating such.
There have been cases where the alleged victim is using the Police as a way to get the alleged abuser to do something they do not want to do. Maybe there is a family case in trial or a custody case involving them. You can read more here as to how to navigate such gray areas when it comes to the law and the state you reside in. Such is the reason that domestic violence cases are difficult to manage and successfully prove. There could be an underlying cause of extreme manipulation involved from either party.
Although women are not always the victim in domestic violence cases, statistically this is the case. In 1994, the federal government created the VAWA, which is the Violence Against Women Act. This bill provided funding for coverage of legal and court fees for victims as well as rape kits for attacked women.
Also implemented were special domestic violence crime units in local communities and funding for said units. More in-depth training in domestic and sexual violence detection for law enforcement was funded, as well.
There is also an order of protection and restraining orders outlined in the VAWA followed and enforced by all states and territories in the United States. Originally, VAWA allowed the victim to sue in civil court for damages incurred, but that was overturned by the Supreme Court in 2000. The Supreme Court stated that Congress did not have the authority to carry out this law.
All federal domestic violence crimes are considered felonies. It is a federal crime for guns to be owned by a domestic violence abuser. It is also a federal crime to cross state lines to stalk, harass and/or physically injure an ‘intimate partner’.
What Happens Next In A Domestic Violence Case
Once the abuse has been detected, there is usually a protective order put in place to protect the victim and anyone else living in the same household from any harassment. This would most likely be at the request of the alleged victim, but sometimes by the law enforcement officers themselves.
This case is now considered criminal which means that the accused go to arraignment to plead guilty or not guilty and a criminal defense lawyer is secured by the defendant. There may still be a civil case for the victim to receive compensation after the criminal case if the defendant is proven guilty.
The lawyers go to work on proving or disproving their case. If a trial jury is requested, lawyers go to work getting witnesses, evidence in line with the case, and the case goes to trial. Depending on the details of the case, there could be many different outcomes to occur. If the accused is convicted, jail time, restraining orders, and loss of second amendment rights will most likely be put in place.
Domestic violence is a serious problem in this country and sometimes it is not easy to see who the real victim is. That’s why it is important to gather as much information as possible about the victim and abuser.