Things to Know About Domestic Violence Laws in the US

In every household there comes a time that an intense verbal argument occurs for a number of reasons: jealousy, financial problems, sibling rivalry, etc. However, sometimes people may physically assault a family member because they cannot control their anger, want to assert control or may have been verbally provoked. In so doing, the aggressor has committed Domestic Violence.

Whenever such serious matters occur, you may think of seeking outside help either by calling the police or by consulting an attorney. It is preferable to discuss the issue with an experienced legal professional first, since you may have trouble handling the legal ramifications that may ensue following the crime’s disclosure.

The aim of this article is to provide an overview of the most important legal aspects of Domestic Abuse, in a simplified and accessible way and to provide a starting point for more specialized study.

1. What is Domestic Violence?

Any person who physically abused a family or household member has committed the crime of Domestic Violence. Domestic assault is a distinctive and more serious case than Assault and Battery -which involves strangers- and is treated accordingly.

2. Domestic assault can be difficult to prove.

The easiest way to identify an abused victim is by looking for signs of assault on the body (scratches, bruises, etc.). In the absence of such evidence, eye witness’s testimonies are valuable, but are not always available. What adds complexity when evidence is inconclusive, is that it can be hard to prove the crime or ascertain who the instigator was (both parties can claim to have been abused or acting in self-defense and the aggressor could deny the charge).

3. The severity of the assault, the victim and the aggressor’s medical history and potential addictions are taken into account for the sentence.

Simply put, an aggressor who slapped his spouse will be punished more leniently, than one who punched and kicked her. If a child was abused the law is more severe. A person with addictions (a drug-user or an alcoholic), or mental disorders may also be required to undertake therapy.

4. If domestic abuse is reported, it can severely disrupt family relations.

Domestic assault is a serious criminal charge, which means that if the authorities find out about the crime, they are obligated to take legal action, whether the victim intents to or not. The state laws of Virginia dictate that the authorities can issue a no-contact (protective) order, effectively prohibiting any form of communication between the aggressor, the victim and the rest of the family.

5. First time offenders can have their case dismissed or may be judged more leniently.

The guilty party can have their sentence dismissed, if they have never committed a crime before. It is also possible that the state offers a plea bargain to the accused. If the abuser admits guilt before the case goes to court, the sentence can be more lenient.

6. The alleged abuser’s and the accuser’s personality and habits play an important role in court.

A person with a toxic and abusive personality, will have a harder time convincing the court about his innocence. On the other hand, the accuser may have an ulterior motive or may be a habitual liar. All of the above aspects come into play when the case is tried.

7. It’s advisable for both parties to avoid contact after the crime has been reported.

Whether you are the accuser or the perpetrator it is preferable to refrain from communicating between each other, as any form of contact could have a detrimental effect to your case, especially if a protective order is in effect.

Conclusion

Domestic Violence can be a complex and challenging crime to handle. Whether you decide to press charges against an abuser, or think you have been wrongfully accused, you should always consult with an experienced criminal law attorney.

 

Six Uncommon Facts About Fingerprinting

There are a few things everyone knows about fingerprints, like that criminals sometimes burn them off to avoid being identified during fingerprinting, or that everyone has a unique pattern. But these six facts about prints aren’t known by most.

Some People Don’t Have Them

There are three genetic conditions that can prevent the formation of any identifying marks on someone’s fingers: Naegeli-Franceschetti-Jadassohn syndrome (NFJS), Dermatopathia pigmentosa reticularis (DPR), and adermatoglyphia. Unfortunately, while a lack of prints is not ideal, it’s also not the worst symptom associated with these disorders.

Fingerprinting Isn’t Foolproof

It’s comforting to think investigators can always catch the bad guy if he forgets to wear gloves to a crime scene. The truth is, the method of identification is not always foolproof. There’s no minimum of comparison points for a match in the United States, not to mention the fact that humans are fallible. In 2011, a study found that there was a 0.1 false positive rate, which means that there are possibly 60,000 false IDs.

They Have an Interesting Origin Story

Ever wonder why humans have these markings at all? Well, it’s the result of the development that begins while we are in utero. It’s currently believed that prints grow at a different rate from the rest of the skin on the hands, which makes it pull at the dermis and results in the strange patterns that make identities so distinct. Essentially, multiple layers of skin get bent and twisted together and result in this strange and unique marker.

Other Animals Have Them

Humans aren’t the only mammals to carry this unique genetic marker. In fact, humans are in the company of gorillas, chimpanzees, and koalas. Science suggests that this may be a result of living in trees, which may explain the genetic development. In fact, koalas’ prints are so similar to humans’ that even the best experts have had a hard time distinguishing them from one another.

They Can Be Erased

Some conditions or professions may find people losing their markers. Certain jobs like repetitive bricklaying may wear them away, and some chemotherapy drugs like capecitabine can result in a reduction or erasure of the markings altogether. In fact, even a strong case of poison ivy can erase them, but they would return eventually.

There Are Some Grisly Attempts to Remove Them

Removing prints is not as easy as it may seem. In the 1930s, fingerprinting became so common that criminals were determined to avoid being identified by them. This included methods such as filing them off, burning them off with acid, or cutting them off entirely. In the case of one robber, Robert Phillips, he talked a doctor into grafting skin from his chest onto his fingers. However, the prints on his palms gave him away.

When it comes to these unique genetic markers, part of the mystery is all of the history and strange genetics associated with them.

 

Frequently Asked Questions About House Arrest

House arrest is a court-ordered, officer-supervised penalty that is sentenced to certain offenders in lieu of jail time. When sentenced to such penalty, a person must remain within the set boundaries of their home at all times, but may be given limited travel privileges for work, school, or doctor’s appointments. Both adults and minors can be sentenced to house arrest, and they are all put on temporary probation during the duration of the sentence. Probation can include routine meetings with a probation officer, random drug screenings, community service, therapy, counseling, victim impact panels, educational drug courses, and more.

Although the name seems pretty clear, there is much more to a house arrest sentence than just home confinement. If you or someone you love is facing house arrest, it is helpful to get some answers to some common questions in order to put your mind at ease and clear up any confusion you had about the terms and conditions of house arrest. Continue reading to review the most frequently asked questions about home confinement to do just that!

What are the General Rules of House Arrest?

Every person’s case is different, and subject to varying regulations. However, the general rules of house arrest include no drugs or alcohol in the residence, no drug or alcohol consumption, a probation officer can come by the home at any time to check for drugs or alcohol or to perform a random drug test, adherence to a set curfew, and all orders of probation (i.e. community service, rehabilitation, etc.).

How are You Monitored?

A person on house arrest wears an electronic sensoring device on their ankle at all times. This device is coupled with another that is connected to a person’s home phone. The device will record the dates and times of all traveling within and outside of the set boundaries. If any of these records show that a person traveled outside of their boundaries during a time that was not permitted, the probation officer is notified and the person is violated. Tampering with the device will also be recorded and considered a violation.

What Happens if You Violate its Terms?

If someone breaks any of the rules of their sentence, they are subject to being ordered to a probation violation hearing in court. This means you not only face the previous charges, but now face additional ones as well. Sometimes, a probation officer will give a warning the first time, but it is important to understand that the terms are taken very seriously and one minor infraction will be penalized.

Do You Need a Lawyer if You Violate?

In most cases, yes. The penalties for such violations are taken very seriously, and the penalties a person faces for them are very harsh as well. Your criminal defense lawyer already knows your case and will defend you once again to minimize the penalties you face for violating. They are your only hope at avoiding the maximum charges for a violation.