How Do I Find a Domestic Violence Lawyer?

Look at this situation, you have just been served of a temporary restraining order prompting you to avoid returning to your house, seeing and even speaking to your kids and your partner. The police are required to escort you to your home to gather up your things in just fifteen minutes. The best thing to do right after this is to contact a skilled domestic violence lawyer to defend your case.

Do not just hire any lawyer you see, make sure that the lawyer who will be defending you already handled a case on domestic violence. This is crucial because you need an expert lawyer to gather essential information, documents and witnesses for you so you can be acquitted of your criminal charge. Hiring between an experienced lawyer versus an inexperienced one could spell the difference between winning or losing your case.

The internet is the best place to start your search for a domestic violence lawyer. There are a lot of websites that can provide you not only with a list of capable lawyers but also information regarding your case. The first criterion you should consider is the solid background of the lawyer in the law field. It is important that the lawyer you would choose is well educated, and more importantly, posses a license to practice law in the state you are in.

Narrow down your search and use your good judgment in doing so. Now that you have a list of qualified candidates, the next thing you should do is to contact each one on your list and schedule for a consultation. The first consultation is usually free of charge so you better take advantage of this. In this meeting, you can explain your case to the lawyer and then he or she will in turn explain to you how he or she will go about the case you just presented. The lawyer can also advise you on the probability of success based on the facts you presented him or her. The consultation process is another important step in finding a domestic violence lawyer to represent your case. You will have the initial feel of working with the lawyer and this will determine whether you like his style or not and whether you trust him enough to defend you in court.

Once you find the lawyer that you think will best represent you, you then have to work out the payment terms for his or her service. Discuss the payment plans with your lawyer. Both of you should agree with the payment terms, if not, you better look for somebody else. Even if he is the best defense lawyer in the state, it will not matter if he will not work for you due to payment disagreements.

The Crime of Domestic Violence in Mississippi

Domestic violence in Mississippi is classified as either simple or aggravated. This law can be found in the Mississippi Code, Title 97, Chapter 3, Section 7 (97-3-7). Simple domestic violence is when a person (a) attempts to cause or purposely, knowingly or recklessly causes bodily injury to another; or (b) negligently causes bodily injury to another with a deadly weapon or other means likely to produce death or serious bodily harm; or (c) attempts by physical menace to put another in fear of imminent serious bodily harm. The victim must be a family or household member who resides with the defendant or who formerly resided with the defendant, a current or former spouse, a person who has a current dating relationship with the defendant, or a person with whom the defendant has had a biological or legally adopted child. Mississippi law defines “dating relationship” as a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature.

Simple domestic violence in Mississippi is a misdemeanor punishable up to six months in jail and/or a fine of up to $500. However, a third conviction for simple domestic violence within five years is a felony and is punishable from 5-10 years.

Aggravated domestic violence, as its name suggests, is much more serious. It’s when a person (a) attempts to cause serious bodily injury to another, or causes such injury purposely, knowingly or recklessly under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life; or (b) attempts to cause or purposely or knowingly causes bodily injury to another with a deadly weapon or other means likely to produce death or serious bodily harm.

Aggravated domestic violence is punishable from one year in the county jail to up to 20 years in the state penitentiary. In most instances it will be a felony, but there may be some cases where it is a misdemeanor.

A Mississippi criminal lawyer can explain the legal process more if you’ve been charged with domestic violence. If you are a first-time offender you may be worried about being convicted and having this charge on your record. Being permanently convicted of domestic violence can hurt you in many ways. Under federal law, anyone convicted of this kind of charge is prohibited from ever owning or purchasing a firearm. Furthermore, being labeled as a violent person can harm your employment prospects and carry a lifetime stigma.

However, first-time offenders do have options for avoiding a permanent conviction. Having a Mississippi domestic violence lawyer on your side can help. There may be options such as supervised or unsupervised probation, or court-ordered anger management classes. If the victim does not want to press charges, having him or her sign an affidavit and presenting it to the court can also help achieve a fair outcome. Of course you can always fight the charge, but if there are ways to avoid the stress and risk of trial then those should be considered.

Can Domestic Violence Be Filed Against Daughter-In-Law?

As per a HelpAge India report, daughter-in-law emerged as the major abuser of the elderly. Now abuse of a daughter-in-law is protected under various special laws of the country, whereas no such law is for the elderly. An interesting question arises, can an abused elderly mother-in-law take protection of any law against abuse by her daughter-in-law?

We will analyse this question in this article.

The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act (“Domestic Violence Act”) was enacted by the parliament in 2005 to provide for an effective protection of women who are victims of violence of any kind within the four walls of the house. Therefore the intention of the act was to safeguard women from domestic violence.

The domestic violence can be invoked only if persons are living in a Domestic Relationship which is defined u/s 2(f) as:

“domestic relationship” means a relationship between two persons who live or have, at any point of time, lived together in a shared household, when they are related by consanguinity, marriage, or through a relationship in the nature of marriage, adoption or are family members living together as a joint family.

Therefore, based on the above definition all family members living together as a joint family are considered to be in a domestic relationship.

The person who is facing domestic violence and can take shelter under the act is defined under section 2(a) as:

“aggrieved person” means any woman who is, or has been, in a domestic relationship with the respondent and who alleges to have been subjected to any act of domestic violence by the respondent;

Therefore, any women in a domestic relationship and subjected to domestic violence can take shelter under the act. The person who are perpetrators of violence against whom she can proceed is defined under section 2(q) as:

“respondent” means any adult male person who is, or has been, in a domestic relationship with the aggrieved person and against whom the aggrieved person has sought any relief under this Act. Provided that an aggrieved wife or female living in a relationship in the nature of a marriage may also file a complaint against a relative of the husband or the male partner.

This definition is in two parts, the first part defines the respondent as male members and the proviso also allows the women to proceed against any female relative of the husband or the male partner.

Ingredients:

There are three ingredients for taking recourse under the act:

  1. Recourse is available to women
  2. Who are in a domestic relationship
  3. Against a respondent

Pertinent Question:

Now we come to the pertinent question, can a mother-in-law take shelter under this act against domestic violence conducted by her daughter-in-law? The answer is ‘Yes’. Do refer to the above ingredients to take shelter under this act.

  1. Any woman can be an aggrieved person, the only qualification is that she ought to be in a domestic relationship.
  2. A domestic relationship is not only a relationship of husband and wife but also includes persons living in a joint family.
  3. The protection is available against a respondent, which includes any female relative of her husband or male partner.

Hence, based on the above, protection under Domestic Violence Act can be taken by an elderly mother-in-law against her abusive daughter-in-law.

The Delhi High Court in the case of Kusum Lata Sharma vs State & Anr, had allowed a mother-in-law to proceed against the daughter-in-law as a respondent under the Domestic Violence Act.

Offenses Requiring Sex Offender Registration

Florida took the first step in 1997 to make a list of sex offenders available on the internet as well as making that information also available by telephone hotline for people who do not have the internet. It is a requirement in Florida for those convicted of a sex crime to register and report between two and four times per year, to the Sheriff’s Office. Florida’s requirements include more than just an address to register as sex offenders are required to also report any instant message names and numbers, and email addresses to the Sheriff’s Office. A sex offender’s birth month is what is used to determine which months he/she will be required to report in. If they fail to report, submit to all restrictions or provide all information requested will have penalties that classify as felonies. Sex based crimes in Florida are divided into two categories, Sexual Offender and Sexual Predator.

Sexual Predators

Florida law states that all sex offenders are not always considered to be sexual predators, and that for this to happen, the offender must appear in court before a judge who considers the evidence and makes the designation. Even someone who was convicted of sex based crimes, this does not automatically mean they are a sexual predator. There are five different ways in Florida for someone to be classified a sexual predator. These include first time convictions of: lewd and lascivious behavior in front of someone under the age of 16, kidnapping, buying or selling child pornography, false imprisonment, or sexual battery. You should be aware that this applies even if the conviction occurred in another jurisdiction or state besides Florida.

Another way you can be designated a sexual predator is if you commit one of the above mentioned offenses and especially if you were found guilty of having committed other sexual offenses in the past. Past sexual offenses that can get you a designation of sexual predator include: sexual battery, kidnapping, unlawful sexual activity with a minor, false imprisonment, having a child perform sexually, luring or enticing a child or getting someone under 18 for prostitution. Lastly, anyone can be designated a sexual predator if they are determined to be a sexually violent predator at a civil commitment hearing.

Sexual Offenders

he courts in Florida provide three ways to designate someone a sexual offender. The first way includes if you attempt to commit or commit: luring or enticing a child, kidnapping a minor, sexual battery, false imprisonment of a minor, getting someone under 18 for prostitution unlawful sexual acts with a minor, sexual misconduct, selling or buying minors for sex trafficking, or computer pornography. The second way says if you have a conviction that occurred in another state or jurisdiction, you can be considered a sex offender in Florida. If a person has been designated a sexual offender in a different jurisdiction or state, Florida laws will also designate that person as such and they will be required to register their status. The third way says that under Florida laws, if someone attempts to commit or commits lewd and lascivious molestation, sexual battery or lewd or lascivious battery on someone 14 or older, they can be designated a sexual offender in Florida.

Nine Issues Regarding Domestic Violence in 2009

Domestic violence is on the rise, especially with people losing their jobs, losing their incomes, and facing a drastic reduction in lifestyle as is happening too frequently in ’09. The following are nine issues to consider with regard to domestic violence:

9. Domestic violence consists of physical abuse, and if there is physical abuse, call the police at once.

8. Domestic violence includes using economic abuse. This can include preventing someone from getting, keeping, or leaving a job, damaging someone’s credit rating, making a spouse ask for money, destroying checkbooks, credit cards, money or property, giving a spouse an allowance. Domestic violence can include using coercion or threats. Threats are statements which promise negative consequences for certain behaviors or actions; for example, I’ll kill you if you ever leave me.”

7. Using intimidation. Making a spouse or significant other afraid by using looks, actions, gestures, intoxication, silent treatment, smashing things, destroying property, harming pets, displaying weapons, yelling, stalking, slamming doors, driving recklessly, acting crazy, invincible, or like I have nothing to lose.

6. Using emotional abuse. Putting someone down, making someone feel bad about themself, calling someone names, making someone think she’s crazy, playing mind games, humiliating someone, making her feel guilty, using things that matter to her against her, negatively comparing her to others, expecting perfection, unreasonable demands or expectations.

5. Using others. Using the children to relay messages. Using visitation to harass someone. Threatening to take the children away. Using custody of the children as leverage. Abusing the children. Sexual abuse of the children. Kidnapping the children. Degrading the spouse or significant other about her relationships. Using your job, friends, family, religion as leverage.

4. Using isolation. Controlling someone’s access to resources such as birth control, reproductive choice, medical attention, money, education, employment opportunities, family, friends, transportation, phone use. Using jealousy to justify actions. Embarrassing her in front of others. Kidnapping her. Convincing her that seeing her family or friends is harmful to the relationship.

3. If any of these occur, even when there is no police involvement, seek domestic violence counseling. There are domestic violence counselors and counseling agencies throughout the United States. There are hotlines to handle crisis calls.

2. Obtain a personal protection order. Laws in Michigan and many other states include personal protection orders that can be obtained if you are fearful of physical violence from someone and have a factual basis with previous incidents for your concerns. A personal protection order is a court order prohibiting a person from any, some, or all of the following, including: assaulting, stalking, following, entering the property, removing minor children, threatening to kill or physically injure someone, interfering with someone at his or her place of employment, purchasing or owning a fire arm.

1. Talk to an attorney at once. Find out what your legal rights are, and find out what you can do to protect yourself. If there is a need for a divorce, make sure that you are fully protected because a divorce where there is domestic violence is handled in a much more discreet and careful manner than a normal divorce where everyone is on the same page. Over the years in my career, I have had people murdered and horribly, physically and emotionally abused, based upon domestic violence. I take it very seriously. Make sure that your attorney not only has a background in family law, but is also familiar with issues in domestic violence.