How Domestic Violence Affects Me?
Domestic violence ranges from locking someone in a bedroom on threats of literal violence if they try to leave to physical assault. Depending on the source, it can include constant belittling, social isolation, financial dependence, and emotional abuse. The law clearly states that threats of actual violence and actions like torturing pets and damaging property are crimes. But how does domestic violence affect me? Let’s look at the ways domestic violence charges affect the victim, the accused, and the institutions they interact with.
Someone claiming to be a domestic violence victim is given priority access to a number of social programs and additional legal protections. Unfortunately, this gives many people a reason to falsely claim domestic violence. They may be exaggerating things that happened or claiming victimhood for incidents that were equally their fault. What benefits do they receive? Legal aid, priority access to public housing if they’re in a homeless shelter and eviction protection are a few. This is why some divorce attorneys encourage people to claim domestic violence. After all, it can result in a restraining order that prevents the other person from entering the home and prohibits contact with the children.
In states like California, a court finding that the other party is guilty of domestic violence will also give the victim additional spousal support. In Texas, the person accused of domestic violence will have to pay restitution. This includes the cost of any medical bills, damaged property, and counseling.
An accusation of domestic abuse or violence can turn your world upside down. It isn’t just a matter of ruining your reputation. The accusation can cause you to be suspended at work if you’re in a caregiving profession. A conviction of domestic abuse will bar you from working as a teacher, doctor, or childcare worker. An interesting quirk in Texas licensing law is that many professional licenses require you to be of good character to hold the license. A conviction of this kind can thus result in the loss of your license to work as a realtor, locksmith, HVAC technician, or optician. A domestic violence allegation can result in the guns being taken from your home under red flag laws, while a felony conviction will prevent you from ever legally owning them again.
The law requires police to make an arrest if they think that there is probable cause to believe domestic abuse has occurred in the past few orders. The police can issue an emergency protective order that bars the accused from being in contact with the victim for several days. After that, you must get a protective order. The other side will have the right to be heard, given the severity of the charges and the impact it has on someone’s life.
Note that domestic violence cases are assessed at a preponderance of the evidence standard instead of the higher standards used in murder and rape cases. This is why you must fight domestic abuse allegations instead of simply agreeing to accept a misdemeanor, public service hours, and counseling. And if the charge includes allegations you used a deadly weapon or you’re arrested and convicted a second time, you will be found guilty of a felony. A felony conviction affects everything from your ability to rent an apartment to work in a wide array of jobs.