Domestic Abuse Lawyer Los Angeles | The Law Offices of Nigel Burns

Los Angeles Domestic Violence & Abuse Attorney

How to File a Domestic Violence Claim With a Los Angeles Domestic Violence Attorney

Restraining Orders in Los Angeles
Domestic Violence Cases in Los Angeles

Relationships can be difficult. They are filled with a great deal of emotion which can lead to tensions. You and your partner may have the most intense arguments and disagreements. If you are both passionate people, these can sometimes lead to words and gestures that are unkind and probably uncalled for. However, there is never any excuse for any dispute to turn violent.

You should not tolerate violence from a partner. And it is important to know the features of it. Domestic violence consists of acts or threats of violence that occur between two people who are in a relationship. You may or may not be living together, you may or may not be married, you can be in a hetero or homo sexual relationship—domestic violence can occur in any of these situations.

In the vast majority of cases, domestic violence consists of a man attacking a woman. However, it also occurs in same-sex couples of both genders.

Domestic Violence is a Crime

The next important thing to know about domestic violence is that it is a crime. If you have been slapped, punched, shoved, or forcefully grabbed by your partner, then they have broken the law.

Here is a list of some of the acts that are considered domestic violence:

  • Intentionally inflicting pain or physical injury
  • Inflicting permanent injury
  • Rape or sexual assault
  • Any act that puts the intended victim in fear of their life or safety

Stalking is also a form of domestic violence. If you have ended your relationship with an ex-partner, they do not have the right to constantly intrude in your personal space and hinder you from moving on with your life.

Typical Challenges to Prosecuting Domestic Violence

Although domestic violence is a crime, it can be hard to prosecute and convict people for it. Arresting someone for such violence is one thing; charging and convicting them is another. Here are some of the most common challenges faced by prosecutors:

1. Failure to report

No one knows for sure how they will respond to being physical assaulted by a partner until it actually happens. Your theoretical objection to such abuse may become bound up with bonds of love and affection, which may make it hard for you to report it. You may think it was an isolated incident, that it won’t happen again, and that the abuse was out of character. These are all lines of reasoning that, whether right or wrong, many victims engage in.

Other victims may fear that reporting the violence may lead to even more violence. This is often the instinctive response of victims who were abused as children. If you are financially dependent on your abuser’s income, you may fear that reporting them will lead to catastrophic consequences for you and your children.

2. Reluctance to testify

Even if you report your abuser, you may be reluctant to make a statement or testify against them. The problem is that prosecutors can do little without your account of what happened. And if you make a vague or inconsistent statement, your abuser’s lawyer will challenge it and point out its flaws. This can also lead to a dismissal of the charges.

Protect Yourself First

The fact that domestic violence is a crime makes the state responsible for bringing to justice the perpetrator of it. You should not assume that the state’s interests coincide with your interests. You should protect yourself by hiring a legal professional.

Domestic abuse cases are complex. If the person who has abused you is the father of your children, you will need to act immediately to protect yourself and seek justice. That might mean dividing property in a house that you used to share. A lawyer can help you do all those things.

You may need a restraining order, and a Los Angeles domestic violence and abuse attorney will help you get one. Most judges will issue a temporary restraining order with only a little evidence that you have been harmed. However, they will set a date for a restraining order hearing in which the accused will have the opportunity to defend themselves.

A protective restraining order prohibits the abuser from coming within 500 feet of you. Anyone who violates a restraining order is subject to arrest. If your abuser violates the restraining order while you are home, at work, or out with friends, then you should call 911. All such calls are recorded, and the statements made on them are admissible in court. Your attorney will know how to build a case for a permanent restraining order.

What do I need to get a restraining order? This is another question that is commonly asked by victims of domestic violence. You need to establish a pattern of violence against you by your partner. You need not answer the question what do I need to get a restraining order on your own?'' 

Your attorney will give you a detailed list of what you require and will seek the evidence on your behalf. Additionally, as a plaintiff, you may want to refer to legal articles to help guide you through the process.

Defending Against A Restraining Order

If you are a victim of domestic violence and were able to establish a pattern of constant harm, you can file a restraining order. When there is a restraining order against you it should be handled sensibly. In some cases, during spousal disagreements restrictive measures are taken to keep one away from family or a place of residence. When this happens, you should try to find legal representation immediately if you think your partner has maliciously filed against you. Due to the sensitivity and nature of protective orders it is best to avoid defending yourself.

Restraining orders are only warranted when the courts have substantial evidence that the petitioner’s safety is at risk whether it is: stalking, harassment, physical abuse, emotional abuse, domestic violence, or sexual assault. These are serious allegations that will have a debilitating impact on defendants if it is untrue. It will be issued as a public record, meaning the accusations raised against you will be accessible.

Legally a notification of the request should be provided to you, as well as a court hearing date. With a legal professional, prepare and organize your evidence to clearly provide the judge with your side of the story. Keep in mind, your time will be limited. Look carefully at what you have been accused of before gathering exhibits you intend to use in court.

Regardless of the protective order that will be issued, the court must be convinced by the evidence you present to drop charges. Otherwise, the restraining order will be issued. You can refer to this article for more information.

How Are Restraining Orders Issued and Enforced?

Restraining orders are issued by a judge once they take the sworn testimony of the victim into deliberation. Normally, a temporary restraining order (TRO) is issued. They normally last between 20 to 25 days before the next court hearing date. During the second hearing, the judge can change the temporary order to a permanent restraining order that lasts up to five years. The length of the permanent protection order will be set by the state's predetermined statute, or the judge will decide. The length of the order can be modified during the third hearing after the five-year mark. It can be based on a request by either party.

It can be challenging to stay away from family or adjust to set restrictions due to a mutual dispute. Though, when it comes to more sensitive cases, like domestic violence, the defendant should not disobey the protection order. If it happens the police are permitted to act and arrest the violator. Petitioners must file a request with the court so the violator will be charged with crime. If the violator disobeys the protection order and harms the victim, he or she will be indicted with contempt of court and assault.

Criminal Protective Order vs. Restraining Order: What’s the Difference?

Restraining orders have a specific criterion that must be met by petitioners for eligibility. They must have a close relationship with the person they are filing against. That includes:

  • Current spouse or registered domestic partner
  • Divorce or separated spouse
  • Parent against a child (often an adult child)
  • Child against a parent
  • Siblings
  • Parents of a child, even if the parents are not married
  • Person whom you dated

You may feel uncertain if upon finding out that you do not qualify for this form of protection. Criminal protective orders are like restraining orders, except you do not need to have a close relationship with the defendant for the court to issue an order. There should be an existing criminal prosecution. It legally requires allegations and evidence to act as proof that the person whom you seek protection from committed a crime. Certain behaviors support both charging the defendant with a crime (and, thus, getting a criminal protective order) and a restraining order. You can refer to this article for more information on protective and restraining orders.

Resources for Domestic Violence and Child Abuse Victims During COVID-19 Shelter-in-Place Orders

During the pandemic, there has been a sharp increase in domestic violence and child abuse cases. Before the pandemic resulted in a stay-at-home order, victims may have found solace at work, with family or friends. So many of those same victims are without jobs or working from home. Local lockdowns and isolation orders restrict family and friend visits, leaving them at the mercy of an abuser. In response to the drastic change, domestic violence organizations, hotlines and shelters remain open – even if it is at a limited capacity to provide resources and vital services. Whether you can find temporary residence elsewhere, you should consult with an attorney to begin the restraining order process. In response to the COVID-19, judges have set up virtual courtrooms specifically for time sensitive cases like this. 

Domestic Violence Leave: Taking Time Off Work

It is common practice for employees to leave personal matters outside the office. Unhealthy living conditions at home can be straining and take a toll on your performance at work. On a federal and state level, the law mandates you can take time off work if you are a victim of domestic abuse. It is permitted under The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and The California Family Rights Act. You can negotiate a reasonable number of days off with your employer to deal with the aftermath of domestic violence. It will be considered job-protected leave, ensuring you will be employed upon your return.

8 Essential Things to Know About Restraining Orders

The firm has compiled the following guide to provide a deeper understanding of what a restraining order entails and answer frequently asked questions. There are eight essential things to know, and this resource will also help individuals make a final determination as to whether they need to hire a lawyer. 

If You Still Feel Unsafe

You have answered the question: do I need an attorney for a restraining order hearing in the affirmative. You have received the help, expertise, and guidance on the legal side of the case. If you have a partner who is especially violent and is determined to harm you, it may be unsafe for you to stay in your home.

You may need to leave your home for a little while until the matter is settled. But before you do that you should ensure that your abuser cannot follow or track you down. You may share a phone plan that allows them to see the calls you make and receive. They may have access to the security cameras in your home and the GPS on your phone and in your car so that they can see when you leave and return. Your abuser may have even figured out your Internet passwords and can read your emails. It is important to sever yourself completely from them so that they cannot monitor and track your movements.

If the abuse has led to serious physical injury, you should pursue legal representation. Our family law attorney in Los Angeles can help you seek compensation from your abuser.

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