Houston Lawyer Blog
Archive for Domestic Violence
Have you been falsely accused or wrongly prosecuted for domestic violence? False allegations and wrongful prosecutions harm the innocent, squander resources, and shortchange true victims.
If you or someone you care about has been arrested or is facing criminal charges related to Domestic Violence (or “Assault Family Violence”), there may be a lot at stake. You may only have a short period of time to learn your rights and what steps could help you protect them. The Charles Johnson Law Firm can help you understand the charges that you are facing, and help you protect your rights with the police and in court.
Criminal charges don’t always mean a guaranteed conviction. A conviction can bring penalties including court fines, probation or jail time – plus a permanent mark on your record – but you may be able to avoid these by fighting for your freedom. Domestic assault is taken seriously by law enforcement personnel and prosecutors. It is vital to have a competent, experienced defense attorney on your side.
Houston Lawyer Charles Johnson can be reached 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by calling 713-222-7577 or toll free 877-308-0100. As the justice system has come to recognize the social and legal effects of domestic violence, the penalties for conviction of domestic assault have become steeper. This is why it is so important to consult a lawyer who is familiar with your local court system. Seek the help of an attorney from the Charles Johnson Law Firm in Houston, Texas to learn more about what you can do to assert your rights.
Why Should Persons be Concerned about False Allegations of Domestic Violence?
Approximately two million Americans experience intimate partner violence each year. These persons need counseling services, legal assistance, shelter resources, and protection by the criminal justice system.
Unfortunately, each year 2-3 million restraining orders are issued in the United States, of which as many as 80% are unnecessary or false. As Elaine Epstein, former president of the Massachusetts Bar Association, revealed, “Everyone knows that restraining orders and orders to vacate are granted to virtually all who apply…In many cases, allegations of abuse are now used for tactical advantage. “
False accusers not only divert resources away from the true victims of domestic violence, they render harm to the targets of their legal abuse. False allegations stain a person’s reputation, deplete that person’s assets, and can ruin a person’s career. They may deprive a child of parental love and attention which every child needs.
What are the Warning Signs of an Impending False Allegation?
A false allegation can be a life-altering experience. But falsely accused persons often don’t see it coming.
These are some of the warning signs to look for:
- Your partner has gotten a restraining before and knows how to work the system.
- You and your partner are thinking about separating, and you are worried about an impending child custody dispute.
- Your partner is moody, unpredictable, attention-seeking, demanding, manipulative, or fails to assume responsibility for family problems.
- Your partner has been diagnosed with depression, borderline personality disorder, or other a psychological problem.
- Your partner has made a joke about getting a restraining order.
- You just discovered your partner is having an affair (do not confront your partner about it!).
- Your partner has been arrested for domestic violence, and is now considering ways to retaliate.
- Your partner has told you they are going to request a restraining order.
- Your partner has friends or family members who have done so.
- Be on the look-out for warning signs that your partner may file a false allegation of domestic violence against you, so you can take steps now to protect yourself.
What Should I Do if I Think my Partner is Going to Make a False Accusation?
A restraining order is the most commonly used legal tactic to make a false allegation of domestic violence. If you have reason to believe your partner is about to make a false accusation, it is critical that you act quickly to protect your children, your reputation, your assets, and even your career:
- Contact Attorney Charles Johnson immediately at 713-222-7577 or toll free 877-308-0100 to protect your rights.
- Assemble your valuable papers (birth certificate, car title, legal documents, etc.) so they can’t be stolen by your partner. Place them in a newly-opened safe deposit box or other safe location.
- Open a checking account just in your name so your partner can’t take your money.
- Tell a family member or trusted friend, in case you need to find a place to stay on short notice.
- Change the passwords on your computer, cell phone, and personal bank accounts. Remove external hard drives and other electronic storage devices. Do not leave your cell phone lying around.
- If you have any firearms or other weapons, move them to a secure location away from your home. Do not engage in firearms training or target practice until the situation is resolved.
- Do not send or receive personal emails from your home computer. Use a computer at your office or at the library.
- Avoid any actions that could later be misconstrued in a court of law:
- Do not engage in put-downs or insults, especially in writing or by voice mail or an answering machine.
- Do not talk or joke about violence or suicide.
- Do not engage in kinky sex or joke about rape.
- Do not slap you partner, even if he or she asks you to.
- Do not play rough-house with your children.
- Do not smash your fist into the wall.
- Do not throw the TV remote control.
- Do not admit to doing something wrong or apologize for prior actions, either verbally or in writing.
- If your partner has engaged in abusive behavior, promptly obtain a restraining order in advance of your partner taking such action. Once you get the restraining order, change all locks to keep your partner out.
- If you need to see your ex-partner (for example, to exchange your children), do so in a public location, preferably a place with video monitoring.
- If you need to drop off something at your ex-partner’s residence, go with a witness.
- Be sure to document any conversation or incident that could later become a focus of attention in a courtroom.
Contact Houston Domestic Violence Lawyer Charles Johnson
It’s important to speak with an attorney as soon as you’ve been arrested. The sooner you contact an attorney, the sooner work can be done to prevent your charges from escalating into a conviction.
Harris County Domestic Violence Defense Attorney Charles Johnson knows how frustrating and hopeless things may seem right now, but urges you not to give up hope. There are many viable defense strategies for fighting domestic violence charges, and many things that can be done to ensure your charges don’t spiral out of control. You can depend on Attorney Johnson to thoroughly investigate your charges, and trust that he’ll make it known to the judge if he finds anything that may indicate the accusations were fabricated. The Charles Johnson Law Firm is here for you, and will do whatever can be done to make sure this ordeal results in the best possible outcome!
If you have been accused of domestic violence, don’t try to fight your charges alone.
Contact Houston Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer Charles Johnson for experienced and dependable representation. He can be reached directly around the clock, 7 days/week at (713) 222-7577.
Related News Stories – Domestic Violence Arrests in Houston, Texas
NFL notes: 49ers' McDonald arrested for domestic violence
San Francisco 49ers defensive tackle Ray McDonald was arrested early Sunday on felony domestic violence charges after officers responded ... five touchdowns and an interception. In Houston, Mallett will move into the backup role created when the Texans ...
Minneapolis Star Tribune - Sep 01 2014
National Football League roundup
(The Sports Xchange) - San Francisco 49ers defensive tackle Ray McDonald was arrested and charged with felony domestic violence early Sunday morning ... since coming out before the draft in May. The Houston Texans acquired quarterback Ryan Mallett from ...
Reuters - Aug 31 2014
49ers’ McDonald Is Arrested on Felony Domestic Violence Charges
Ray McDonald, a defensive end for the San Francisco 49ers, was arrested early Sunday on domestic violence charges ... The New England Patriots traded quarterback Ryan Mallet to the Houston Texans, elevating the second-round draft choice Jimmy Garoppolo ...
New York Times - Sep 01 2014
Charles Johnson |
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Each year thousands of domestic violence cases are filed. While most of the cases have merit, there are many instances where defendants are falsely accused. Domestic Violence is an issue that affects every town, city, country and nation. Domestic Violence covers a broad spectrum of abuse between couples, spouses, family members or other people who live together. Family Violence allegations are quite severe. In the event you are found guilty, you could face prison time and various other criminal penalties. A conviction will not only destroy your reputation, but your future as well. You could be refused future employment, housing, academic loans and worse, access to your home and children. At the Charles Johnson Law Firm, we see our clients falsely charged with Domestic Violence all the time. Whether you are innocent or guilty, Houston Domestic Violence Lawyer Charles Johnson will battle aggressively on your behalf in order to help protect your rights and your future. Get in touch with us Around The Clock, 7 Days /week for a no cost consultation.
All too frequently the news bombards us with news about a high-profile Domestic Violence case, where a man or woman is suspected of murdering their husband or wife, with or without a prior history of domestic abuse.
Violence. How can a individual turn from loving and living with a person to beating them up or murdering them? What kind of an individual resorts to Domestic Violence against their spouse or domestic intimate partner? What kind of individual thinks it is okay to continually humiliate or talk down to their life intimate partner? What kind of an individual has sex with their partner without the need of the person’s consent and desire to participate?
A common pattern of domestic abuse is that the perpetrator alternates between violent, abusive behavior and apologetic behavior with apparently heartfelt promises to change. The abuser could possibly be very pleasant the majority of of the time. Therein lies the perpetual appeal of the abusing partner and why many individuals can’t seem to leave the abusive relationship.
Domestic abuse is most often among the following:
- child abuse
- abuse of a spouse or domestic intimate partner
- elder abuse
In this article, we explore domestic abuse between spouses and intimate partners: the types of domestic abuse, signs and symptoms, causes, and consequences. Domestic Violence and abuse are popular. The initial step in ending the misery is recognition that the situation is abusive.
How is domestic abuse between intimate partners defined?
Domestic abuse between spouses or intimate partners is when one individual in a marital or intimate relationship tries to control the other person. The perpetrator uses fear and intimidation and may very well threaten to use or could possibly actually use physical violence. Domestic abuse that includes physical violence is called Domestic Violence.
The victim of domestic abuse or Domestic Violence may be a male or a female. Domestic abuse occurs in traditional heterosexual marriages, as well as in same-sex partnerships. The abuse may occur during a relationship, while the couple is breaking up, or after the relationship has ended.
Domestic abuse often escalates from threats and verbal abuse to physical violence. Family Violence may even end up in murder.
The key elements of domestic abuse are:
- humiliating the other individual
- physical injury
Domestic abuse is not really a result of losing control; domestic abuse is intentionally trying to control another individual. The abuser is purposefully using verbal, nonverbal, or physical means to gain control over the other individual.
In many cultures, control of women by men is accepted as the norm. This article speaks from the orientation that control of intimate partners is domestic abuse within a culture where such control isn’t the norm. Today we see many cultures moving from the subordination of women to increased equality of women within relationships.
What are the kinds of domestic abuse?
The types of domestic abuse are:
- physical abuse (domestic violence)
- verbal or nonverbal abuse (psychological abuse, mental abuse, emotional abuse)
- sexual abuse
- stalking or cyberstalking
- economic abuse or financial abuse
- spiritual abuse
The divisions between these types of domestic abuse are somewhat fluid, yet there is a strong differentiation between the various forms of physical abuse and the various types of verbal or nonverbal abuse.
What is physical abuse of a spouse or intimate partner?
Physical abuse is the use of physical force against another person in a way that ends up injuring the individual, or puts the person at risk of being injured. Physical abuse ranges from physical restraint to murder. When a person talks of Domestic Violence, they are quite often referring to physical abuse of a spouse or intimate partner.
Physical assault or physical battering is a crime, whether it occurs inside a family or outside of the family. The authorities are empowered to protect you from physical attack.
Physical abuse involves:
- pushing, throwing, kicking
- slapping, grabbing, hitting, punching, beating, tripping, battering, bruising, choking, shaking
- pinching, biting
- holding, restraining, confinement
- breaking bones
- assault with a firearm including a knife or gun
What is emotional abuse or verbal abuse of a spouse or intimate partner?
Mental, psychological, or emotional abuse may be verbal or nonverbal. Verbal or nonverbal abuse of a spouse or intimate partner consists of more subtle actions or behaviors than physical abuse. While physical abuse might seem worse, the scars of verbal and emotional abuse are deep. Studies show that verbal or nonverbal abuse might be much more emotionally detrimental than physical abuse.
Verbal or nonverbal abuse of a spouse or intimate partner may include:
- threatening or intimidating to obtain compliance
- destruction of the victim’s personal property and assets and possessions, or threats to accomplish this
- violence to an object (such as a wall or piece of furniture) or pet, in the presence of the intended victim, as a way of instilling fear of additional violence
- yelling or screaming
- constant harassment
- embarrassing, making fun of, or mocking the victim, either on your own within the household, in public, or in front of family or friends
- criticizing or diminishing the victim’s accomplishments or goals
- not trusting the victim’s decision-making
- telling the victim that they are worthless on their own, without the abuser
- excessive possessiveness, isolation from friends and family
- excessive checking-up on the victim to make certain they are at home or where they said they would be
- saying hurtful things while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and using the substance as an excuse to say the hurtful things
- blaming the victim for how the abuser acts or feels
- making the victim remain on the premises subsequent to a fight, or leaving them somewhere else subsequent to a fight, just to “teach them a lesson”
- making the victim feel that there isn’t any way out of the relationship
What is sexual abuse or sexual exploitation of a spouse or intimate partner?
Sexual abuse involves:
- sexual assault: forcing someone to participate in unwanted, unsafe, or degrading sexual activity
- sexual harassment: ridiculing another individual to try to limit their sexuality or reproductive choices
- sexual exploitation (most notably forcing someone to look at pornography, or forcing someone to participate in pornographic film-making)
Sexual abuse quite often is linked to physical abuse; they may occur together, or the sexual abuse could very well occur following a bout of physical abuse.
What is stalking?
Stalking is harassment of or threatening another person, especially in a way that haunts the person physically or emotionally in a repetitive and devious manner. Stalking of an intimate partner can take place during the relationship, with intense monitoring of the partner’s activities. Or stalking can take place after a partner or spouse has left the relationship. The stalker may possibly be trying to get their partner back, or some may wish to harm their partner as punishment for their departure. Irrespective of the fine details, the victim fears for their safety.
Stalking can take place at or near the victim’s home, near or in their workplace, on the way to the store or another destination, or on the Internet (cyberstalking). Stalking can be on the phone, in person, or on the web. Stalkers may possibly never show their face, or they can be everywhere, in person.
Stalkers employ a number of threatening techniques:
- repeated phone calls, sometimes with hang-ups
- following, tracking (possibly even with a global positioning device)
- finding the person through public records, online searching, or paid investigators
- watching with hidden cameras
- suddenly showing up where the victim is, at home, school, or work
- sending emails; communicating in chat rooms or with instant messaging (cyberstalking: see below)
- sending unwanted packages, cards, gifts, or letters
- monitoring the victim’s phone calls or computer-use
- contacting the victim’s pals, family, co-workers, or neighbors to find out about the victim
- going through the victim’s garbage
- threatening to injure the victim or their family, buddies, or pets
- damaging the victim’s home, car, or various other property
Stalking is unpredictable and should always be regarded as dangerous. If someone is
- tracking you,
- contacting you when you do not wish to have speak to,
- attempting to control you, or
- frightening you,
then seek assistance as soon as possible.
What is cyberstalking?
Cyberstalking is the use of telecommunication technologies most notably the Internet or email to stalk another individual. Cyberstalking may be an additional form of stalking, or it may very well be the only method the abuser employs. Cyberstalking is deliberate, persistent, and personal.
Spamming with unsolicited email is different from cyberstalking. Spam doesn’t necessarily focus on the individual, along with cyberstalking. The cyberstalker methodically finds and contacts the victim. Much like spam of a sexual nature, a cyberstalker’s message may be disturbing and inappropriate. Also like spam, you can never stop the contact with a request. In fact, the more you protest or respond, the more rewarded the cyberstalker feels. The very best response to cyberstalking is not to respond to the contact.
Cyberstalking falls in a grey area of the law. Enforcement of most federal and state stalking laws requires that the victim be directly threatened with an act of violence. Very few law enforcement agencies can act if the threat is only implied.
Regardless of whether or not you can get stalking laws enforced against cyberstalking, you must treat cyberstalking seriously and protect yourself. Cyberstalking sometimes advances to actual stalking and to physical violence.
How likely is it that stalking will turn into violence?
Stalking can end in violence whether or not the stalker threatens violence. And stalking can turn into violence even if the stalker does not have any history of violence.
Women stalkers are just as likely to become violent as are male stalkers.
Those around the stalking victim are also in danger of being injured. For example, a parent, spouse, or bodyguard who makes the stalking victim unattainable could possibly be hurt or killed as the stalker pursues the stalking victim.
What is economic or financial abuse of a spouse or domestic partner?
Economic or financial abuse involves:
- withholding economic resources most notably cash or credit cards
- stealing from or defrauding a partner of cash or assets
- exploiting the intimate partner’s resources for personal gain
- withholding physical resources most notably food, clothes, necessary medications, or shelter from a partner
- preventing the spouse or intimate partner from working or choosing an occupation
What is spiritual abuse of a spouse or intimate partner?
Spiritual abuse involves:
- using the spouse’s or intimate partner’s religious or spiritual beliefs to manipulate them
- preventing the partner from practicing their religious or spiritual beliefs
- ridiculing the other person’s religious or spiritual beliefs
- forcing the children to be reared in a faith that the partner has not agreed to
How do I realize if I am in an abusive relationship? What are the signs and symptoms of an abusive relationship?
The more of the following questions that you answer Yes to, the more likely you are in an abusive relationship. Examine your answers and seek assistance should you find that you respond positively to a large number of the questions.
Your inner feelings and dialogue: Fear, self-loathing, numbness, desperation
- Are you fearful of your partner a large percentage of the time?
- Do you avoid certain topics or spend a lot of time figuring out how to talk about certain topics so that you do not arouse your partner’s negative reaction or anger?
- Do you ever feel that you can’t do anything right for your partner?
- Do you ever feel so badly about yourself that you think you deserve to be physically hurt?
- Have you lost the love and respect that you once had for your partner?
- Do you in some instances wonder if you are the one who is crazy, that maybe you are overreacting to your partner’s behaviors?
- Do you in some instances fantasize about ways to kill your partner to get them out of your life?
- Are you afraid that your partner will likely try to kill you?
- Are you afraid that your partner will try to take your children away from you?
- Do you feel that there is nowhere to turn for assistance?
- Are you feeling emotionally numb?
- Were you abused as a child, or did you grow up with Domestic Violence in the household? Does domestic violence seem normal to you?
Your partner’s lack of control over their own behavior
- Does your partner have low self-esteem? Do they appear to feel powerless, ineffective, or inadequate within the world, although they are outwardly successful?
- Does your partner externalize the causes of their own behavior? Do they blame their violence on stress, alcohol, or a “bad day”?
- Is your partner unpredictable?
- Is your partner a pleasant individual between bouts of violence?
Your partner’s violent or threatening behavior
- Does your partner have a bad temper?
- Has your partner ever threatened to injure you or kill you?
- Has your partner ever physically injure you?
- Has your partner threatened to take your children away from you, especially if you try to leave the relationship?
- Has your partner ever threatened to commit suicide, especially as a way of keeping you from leaving?
- Has your partner ever forced you to have sex when you didn’t want to?
- Has your partner threatened you at work, either in individual or on the phone?
- Is your partner cruel to animals?
- Does your partner destroy your belongings or household objects?
Your partner’s controlling behavior
- Does your partner try to keep you from seeing your buddies or family?
- Are you embarrassed to invite close friends or family over to your house mainly because of your partner’s behavior?
- Has your partner limited your access to money, the telephone, or the car?
- Does your partner try to stop you from going where you need to go outside of the house, or from doing what you want to do?
- Is your partner jealous and possessive, asking where you are going and where you have been, as if checking up on you? Do they accuse you of having an affair?
Your partner’s diminishment of you
- Does your partner verbally abuse you?
- Does your partner humiliate or criticize you in front of others?
- Does your partner quite often ignore you or put down your opinions or contributions?
- Does your partner always insist that they are right, even if they are obviously wrong?
- Does your partner blame you for their own violent behavior, saying that your behavior or attitudes cause them to be violent?
- Is your partner often outwardly angry with you?
- Does your partner objectify and disrespect those of your gender? Does your partner see you as property or a sex object, rather than as a person?
In my workplace, what are the warning signs that an individual is a victim of Family Violence?
Domestic Violence often plays out in the workplace. For example, a husband, wife, girlfriend, or boyfriend might make threatening phone calls to their intimate partner or ex-partner. Or the worker could very well show injuries from physical abuse at home.
In the event you witness a cluster of the following warning signs within the workplace, you can reasonably suspect domestic abuse:
- Bruises together with other signs of impact on the skin, with the excuse of “accidents”
- Depression, crying
- Frequent and sudden absences
- Frequent lateness
- Frequent, harassing phone calls to the person while they are at work
- Fear of the partner, references to the partner’s anger
- Decreased productivity and attentiveness
- Isolation from pals and family
- Insufficient resources to live (cash, credit cards, car)
If you do recognize signs of domestic abuse in a co-worker, talk to your Human Resources department. The Human Resources staff will be able to assist the victim without having your additional involvement.
Who abuses their spouse or intimate partner?
Domestic abuse knows no age or ethnic boundaries.
Domestic abuse can occur during a relationship or after a relationship has ended.
The majority of psychological, medical, and legal specialists agree that the vast majority of physical abusers are men. Nonetheless , women can also be the perpetrators of Domestic Violence.
Virtually all stalkers are also men stalking women. Nevertheless stalkers can also be women stalking men, men stalking men, or women stalking women.
Houston Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer: The Charles Johnson Law Firm
As the justice system has come to recognize the social and legal effects of domestic violence, the penalties for conviction of domestic assault have become steeper. This is why it is so important to consult an expert lawyer who is familiar with your local court system. Seek the counsel of a highly qualified Houston Domestic Violence Lawyer from the Charles Johnson Law Firm in Houston, Texas to learn more about what you can do to assert and protect your rights.
Houston Criminal Lawyer Charles Johnson can be reached 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Call us at 713-222-7577 or toll free at 877-308-0100.
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