Ask A Domestic Violence Lawyer: Taking Time Off Work

For those who are victims of abuse from an intimate partner, the right to take time off from work is provided under federal law. In some situations, state laws may also provide extended leave for employees who are injured due to abuse. It is best to consult a domestic violence lawyer if the workplace does not comply with laws provided.

What Is Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence can be defined as the mental or physical abuse inflicted by a partner. It can often deter the victim from going to work, whether it is for the purpose of obtaining medical assistance or to move to a safer location. Time off may also be required if one person damages or sabotages the others ability to get to work, such as vehicular damage or withholding access to cash.

Because of the increased amount of time away from work that is required to deal with these situations, many states have chosen to adopt domestic violence leave laws that provides time off for victims. In addition to utilizing the Family Medical Leave Act, which provides up to 12 weeks off per year to handle personal or family medical ordeals, these specialized laws permit victims to take time off to attend court proceedings.

Statewide Domestic Violence Leave Laws

The states that currently have these laws in place are very similar in what they cover, but there are variations.

For instance, some may vary in the length of time they offer. Some states provide a set amount of days off while others simply stipulate that a “reasonable amount of time” away is adequate. Other states only require that an employee not be fired due to absence stemming from a domestic abuse incident.

The stated reason for being away is also a consideration that varies. The list of covered activities is different, but may include all or some of the following: seeking mental or emotional counseling, seeking a domestic violence lawyer, going to court, or seeking a restraining order.

In addition, each state has different requirements for the application process. Some employers may need significant notice and extensive paperwork. However, there are typically stipulations in place for emergencies when notice is not an option. Other areas may require written proof for being absent.

The issue of paid days off will also depend on your location. No state requires employers to pay employees for time off. Employees may be able to use accrued hours from vacation or sick days before taking leave.

When dealing with abuse situations, it is crucial to work closely with a domestic violence lawyer to ensure total safety from an aggressor. They can also advise when a victim may need to take time off to deal with all that is necessary in these cases.

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What A Victim of Domestic Violence Can Do

Domestic violence is a very personal and painful experience, and it requires handling by trained professionals who are experienced and compassionate. The first step in a domestic violence case is to protect the victim from any more abuse. This can be done with court orders that can be obtained with the help of an attorney who specializes in family law.

Domestic violence law in California defines domestic violence as the following:

o Threats of injury by hitting or using a weapon
o Actual physical behavior that hurts the person
o Forced sexual behavior and harassment
o Psychological abuse that deflates a person’s self esteem or attempts to control the person
o Stalking or cyberstalking

If any of these actions occur, law allows a victim to request a protective order from the court to stop the abusive behavior. These protective orders can be sought for an abusive spouse, but they can also be obtained against a sexual partner, family member or roommate. It is best to request one of these orders as soon as possible after the abuse occurs, since courts are more likely to provide orders on an emergency basis in these cases. However, a delay in reporting the abuse should never be a reason for not reporting it at all, since domestic violence law allows victims to file for protection at any time in the process.

A protective order in these cases usually consists of a temporary restraining order or TRO. These orders will prohibit the other person from approaching the victim at home, at work or over the phone. The order may also force the spouse to go into counseling and prohibit him from purchasing a firearm. The order may even extend to children and others living in the home if their safety is also at stake. If the person violates the restraining order in any way, the police can be called and an arrest can be made.

According to law, these restraining orders are registered in a statewide database. This makes it much easier to track and respond to abusers who choose to violate those orders in any way. If someone has a need to seek a restraining order, the best approach is to contact an attorney who is well versed in domestic violence law to help with the process. This professional can also help to ensure that the order is enforced and that appropriate measures are taken if it is violated.

Domestic violence is a painful situation that happens far too often. However, there are steps that can be taken to ensure that abuse of any kind that is inflicted on a victim is stopped once and for all. Under law, a restraining order can be placed to protect the victim and the rest of the family if necessary. If you have been the victim of any sort of domestic abuse, contact a family law attorney right away to find out what your rights are and how to make the violence stop.

Washington Domestic Violence Law

Domestic Violence Charges in Washington

A charge of domestic violence can initiate not one, but a series of criminal prosecutions, setting actions in motion that can have very serious, long-term consequences. Washington state law provides for vigorous prosecution of anyone charged with the crime of domestic violence (DV). It is, in fact, one of the most zealously prosecuted crimes in the state. As in many criminal prosecutions, competent legal counsel is critical to assure that the person charged is provided an effective and timely defense that will generate the most successful resolution possible.

Washington state law defines DV as any crime committed against a family member, someone living in the same household, or against someone with whom you have or have had a dating relationship. While the majority of domestic violence cases involve couples who are in or have been in an intimate relationship, the scope of the law is not limited to that scenario. It can also apply to parent-child relationships, sibling relationships and various other established associations or domestic affiliations as defined in RCW 26.50.010 and RCW 10.99.020.

Washington state law, specifically RCW 26.50 and RCW 10.99, deals with domestic relations and defines the applicable relationships as well as the behavior considered to be in violation under the law. Harassment, intimidation, threatening, bodily injury or harm, physical or sexual assault, and stalking are just a few of the listed violations. Misdemeanor or felony charges can be filed as a result of any of these actions based on the circumstances and severity of the crime.

Once an arrest for DV has been made, the court will schedule an arraignment proceeding where formal charges will be filed by the prosecution and the defendant will be required to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. Upon accepting the plea and assuming a not-guilty plea was entered, the judge will determine the conditions of release. Conditions could include participation in a treatment program, electronic home monitoring, or adherence to a no-contact order. The judge may issue a no-contact order at this time if there is not one already in place. A date is set for the pretrial hearing and the defendant may be released based on the judge’s conditions. If, on the other hand, a guilty plea is entered, the defendant may be remanded into custody until sentencing.

No-contact orders are issued by the court for the protection of the victim in a DV case. Adherence to the court order is absolutely essential, whether the victim deems it warranted or not. For example, when law enforcement responds to a DV incident and an arrest is made for criminal conduct, the court will determine whether a protection order is warranted. That order must be honored by both parties or a subsequent arrest and prosecution will be initiated for violation. The victim does not have the authority to reverse a no-contact order and must abide by the judge’s order or incur additional criminal prosecution.

At the pretrial hearing, the parties will review the charges and any progress in the case to determine its readiness for trial. At this point, the prosecution and defense have the opportunity to amend the charges or the plea, and the case will either be resolved or will proceed to trial. Motion hearings may be set before trial to hear various issues and then, barring settlement or pleading out to a lesser charge, the case will proceed to trial. At trial evidence will be submitted by both parties, and the judge or a jury will enter its judgment accordingly, either for conviction or acquittal.

The laws of the State of Washington are enacted to protect the victims of domestic violence. The court system works in concert with the district attorney to prosecute offenders to the full extent of the law and protect the victim. If you have been arrested for domestic violence, your first response must be to seek qualified legal counsel who can prepare an appropriate response to the charges filed against you. Procedural and legal responses will need to be presented to support your case and these require the experience and expertise of a professional with years of familiarity with the law. A criminal conviction is a lifelong issue and affect everything from your right to vote and be in possession of a firearm to your future freedom and the ability to work at the job of your choice. It is critical to consult an experienced Washington attorney if you face domestic violence charges. For more information about the legal implications of domestic violence charges, visit http://www.vancouverlaw.net

Understanding Nevada’s Domestic Violence Statutes

Domestic violence is a serious offense in Nevada and carries stiff penalties. The state code of Nevada, known as the Nevada Revised Statutes (“NRS”), defines domestic violence and provides the penalties associated with convictions for domestic violence.

Most people, when they think of domestic violence, think only of a battery committed by one spouse or partner against another. However, in Nevada it is defined much more broadly. NRS 33.018 explains that the crime occurs when one of a specific group of acts is committed by one person against another and the two parties have a certain relationship listed in the statute.

Domestic violence can be charged when the prohibited act is committed by the alleged offender against any of the following persons:
o A spouse
o A former spouse
o Any other person to whom the suspected offender is related by blood or marriage
o A person with whom the alleged offender is or was actually residing
o A person with whom the alleged offender has had a dating relationship
o A person with whom the suspected offender is having a dating relationship
o A person with whom the alleged offender has a child in common
o The minor child of any of the above persons
o The alleged offender’s minor child
o Any person who has been appointed the custodian or legal guardian for the alleged offender’s minor child

According to the NRS, a “dating relationship” means frequent, intimate associations primarily characterized by the expectation of affectional or sexual involvement. The term does not include a casual relationship or an ordinary association between persons in a business or social context.

As can be observed by reviewing the statutory language, domestic violence is a much broader offense than most people understand. It is not simply an act of violence against one’s spouse or dating partner. Domestic violence can exist between a former spouse or dating partner, or even a person who simply lives in the same residence as the potential offender.

Understanding the law is the first step in knowing how to protect your rights. It is important to stay composed if you find yourself in a situation that may be perceived as crime by an outside viewer. The actions you take may be misinterpreted by an observer or describe incorrectly by a participant in the argument. Try to avoid these situations all together if you can. However, if you find yourself in the midst of an argument, be respectful and never threaten or take any action against the other person.