Legal Guide

Domestic Violence Legal Claims

Domestic violence is frequently misconstrued as only resulting in visible physical injuries like broken bones, bruises, or rape. In reality, most domestic violence incidents often inflict less apparent yet equally damaging psychological or emotional wounds.

Although domestic violence affects all genders, it's most prevalent among women, with statistics revealing that one in every three women and one in every seven men have suffered from domestic violence. Even with such a high number of people being affected by it, basic understanding of laws around domestic violence is still limited.

This article takes an in-depth look into this issue and acts as a guide to navigate this complex topic, but it is not a substitute for hiring a criminal lawyer to help you if you are facing charges.

Understanding Domestic Violence

Domestic violence, or intimate partner violence, constitutes abusive behaviors used by one partner to maintain power and control over the other. Domestic violence embodies more than physical aggression. It includes a variety of abusive tactics such as emotional, economic, verbal, and sexual abuse, as well as isolation. 

Emotional abuse involves undermining an individual's self-esteem, whereas economic abuse seeks to make one financially dependent. Verbal abuse employs derogatory language to belittle the victim, and sexual abuse refers to any sexual conduct without mutual consent. Isolation, on the other hand, involves limiting the victim's interaction with the outside world to increase dependence on the abuser. 

Legal Perspective on Domestic Violence

The severity of the charges depends on the specific circumstances of each case and can range from a misdemeanor to a felony. Generally, a misdemeanor charge is applied when the violence involved in committing the offense is relatively minor. 

However, it escalates to a felony when the abuse is severe, involves weapons, or results in significant injuries. Other aggravating factors include repeated offenses and violations of restraining orders.

If convicted of misdemeanor domestic abuse, perpetrators face penalties, including probation, fines, or short-term imprisonment. Felony charges, on the other hand, carry heavier consequences, including more than one year of imprisonment, hefty fines, and mandatory counseling. 

The odds in a domestic violence case are almost always against the perpetrator, so it is always a good idea to have a domestic violence criminal lawyer representing you in your case.

Protection for Victims

Besides the criminal charges brought against the abuse by the state, victims can seek further legal redress with the courts for protection. One of the most immediate actions is to seek a protective order from the court. 

These court orders can provide a range of protections. For example, an Emergency Protective Order (EPO) offers immediate protection for victims in imminent danger. On the other hand, a Domestic Violence Restraining Order (DVRO) offers longer-term protection and can include other provisions, such as child custody arrangements.

Obtaining these orders should be easy; however, it is often more difficult than it seems, so you may want a domestic violence lawyer to assist you in navigating these steps.

Suing the Perpetrator for Damages

Apart from the criminal charges applied against perpetrators, victims of abuse also have the option to pursue legal action for damages resulting from the abuse they have endured. 

This is true in every state except Louisiana, where spousal immunity applies, meaning that spouses can't sue each other for personal injury. If they succeed with the claim, they recover all damages recoverable in a typical personal injury claim. 

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