Category: Domestic Violence

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Another NFL Player Domestic Violence Arrest

Sadly, it comes as no huge surprise another NFL football player was arrested for domestic violence.  For some time now, domestic violence has been an increasing problem for the National Football League (NFL). Many advocates to reduce the amount of violence claim the professional football teams are not doing enough to penalize players accused of violence off the field.

Due to this pressure, and significant amount of publicity with violent crime and the NFL, the National Football League recently updated their personal conduct policy to try and address some of the criticism. However, domestic violence by players continues to plague the sport today.

Ray McDonald Dropped from the Bears

The Chicago Bears released Ray McDonald after arresting him on domestic violence charges in Santa Clara, California. McDonald was a major part of the Bears defense strategy for the season, but after this arrest, they chose to let him go.

Police arrested the 30-year-old defensive end after he allegedly assaulted a woman inside his apartment. The incident took place sometime before 4 a.m. on a Monday morning. According to police reports, McDonald allegedly broke down a bedroom door to get to his former fiancée and their infant child.  when the police arrived, McDonald was not on the scene.

The Santa Clara police department issued McDonald a restraining order for the protection of his fiancée and child.

However, on Wednesday, police arrested McDonald for a second time in a week for violating the restraining order.

Santa Clara detectives found him in a Togo’s sandwich shop in Santa Clara and booked him in a San Jose jail. He reportedly made bail, for $5,000. According to his attorney, they did not know about the restraining order.

A History of “Poor Decision Making”

This wasn’t the first time the defensive lineman was in trouble with the law. This was his third arrest in 9 months. In August 2014, police arrested McDonald on suspicion of domestic violence. In December of the same year, he was arrested for alleged sexual assault. McDonald defended the sexual assault claims as being consensual and filed a defamation suit. Although the victim did not file criminal charges, the 49ers dropped him from the team, citing “a pattern of poor decision-making.”

Then, the Bears picked him up. Despite his past arrests, based on a solid conversation, the team trusted he would behave. This did not happen. According to the team General Manager, Ryan Pace:

Bears Tweet 1Bears Tweet 2

Revised Personal Conduct Policy

In late 2014, the NFL teams introduced a revised Personal Conduct Policy. Aimed at addressing domestic violence and sexual assault, the NFL put their heads together to bring about new order . The hope is this new policy will increase accountability and decrease criminal acts. The policy includes funding for counseling of victims as well as violators as well as provides guidelines for independent investigative procedures.

Unfortunately, even with increased penalties, NFL players continue to break the law. The San Diego Union-Tribune keeps a running tally of arrests and citations involving NFL players. There are exactly 38 recorded arrests for crimes more harmful than a speeding ticket in 2015 alone.

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Some Forensic Science Found to be Less Than Scientific

A Test of Bad Forensic Science

Before the advent of DNA testing, U.S. law enforcement relied on a number of different bad forensic science techniques to connect people to crimes. Such as, handwriting samples, microscopic hair analysis, and even bite marks. As may be expected, some of these sciences are not always completely accurate.

Recently, the FBI teamed with the Department of Justice (DOJ), the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL), and the Innocence Project. The teams released an announcement that they concurrently and separately reviewed microscopic hair analysis cases. The result of these cases is disconcerting. In fact, it’s downright alarming.

A Difference of Opinion

According to the FBI’s press release:

“FBI microscopic hair analysts committed widespread, systematic error, grossly exaggerating the significance of their data under oath with the consequence of unfairly bolstering the prosecutions’ case.”

As Slate Magazine so aptly puts it: “The FBI faked an entire field of forensic science.” The result is, according to University of Virginia law professor Brandon L. Garrett, a “mass disaster.

The “faked,” or bad forensic science involved microscopic examinations of hair found at the scene of a crime, as well as the hair of a suspect. In fact, this was a common practice of law enforcement for nearly thirty years. That is, until 2000, when the FBI started examining full DNA rather than just the hair itself. The DNA analysis works much better.

In reality, the microscopic hair examination technique barely worked at all, if ever. Even the Committee on Identifying the Needs of the Forensic Science Community called the practice “highly unreliable.” Nonetheless, FBI forensic experts commonly testified in trial that the technique not only worked, but was enough to prove a suspect’s guilt.

Too Many Defendants

According to the FBI’s own report, too many scientists miscalculated the results. Twenty-six out of twenty-eight forensic scientists in the microscopic hair comparison unit “overstated forensic matches in ways that favored prosecutors.”

After examining hair found at a crime scene, the scientists compare it to a suspect’s hair in a lab. Upon finding similarities between the two, the forensic scientists often claimed the hairs matched. Unfortunately, these findings made their way to their expert witness” testimony during trial.

This similarity/match testimony happened at a staggering rate. Of the cases that the FBI reviewed to date, 90% of the cases apply. This affected 284 defendants at their trials. This is poor, bad forensic science.

Many of the convicted defendants privy to the unfortunate microscopic hair analysis are serving jail time for felony offenses. For some, the impact was irreversible. According to the FBI’s press release,

“defendants in at least 35 of these cases received the death penalty and errors were identified in 33 of those cases… Nine of these defendants have already been executed.”

The FBI is taking steps to right their wrong. They are notifying affected defendants and allowing federal defendants to make appeals. Normally, this type of practice is not allowed in federal court. However, most of the defendants in question received state court convictions. It is now up to the states to allow these cases to reexamine these cases.

The Kavinoky Law Firm is closely monitoring the situation in California. If you believe bad forensic science practices impacted your freedom, speak with a criminal defense attorney at 1.800.NO.CUFFS. all 24/7, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

Domestic Violence Accusations and Defense in California

domestic violenceDomestic violence is sometimes called domestic abuse or intimate partner abuse. Under California law, it involved a broad range of legal violations. These include:

  1. Causing or attempting to cause bodily injury, and/or
  2. Sexual assault.

Perpetrators of Abuse

In these cases, the recipient of the violence may or may not fall into a specific category. Such categories may include such relationships as a:

  1. spouse,
  2. former spouse,
  3. relationship partner (person one is dating),
  4. cohabitant (person with whom one is living),
  5. former cohabitant (person with whom one used to live), and/or
  6. person with whom one had a child.

Domestic violence (DV) can involve physical injury, or another consideration includes threatening words.

The legal definition of an “intimate partner” for purposes of DV includes husbands or wives, boyfriends or girlfriends, and same-sex partners. Therefore, any intimate partner, no matter the sex, can be a victim of domestic abuse. The law is very broad in terms about the relationship that gives rise to domestic violence.

What is Abuse?

Similar to “intimate partner,” the term “abuse” is also very broad.

Each of the following actions, among others, can lead to prosecution for domestic violence or intimate partner violence:

  • hitting,
  • slapping,
  • punching,
  • kicking,
  • threatening with or without a weapon,
  • hitting with an object,
  • hair pulling,
  • burning,
  • cutting,
  • biting,
  • stabbing, and/or
  • stalking

Given these points, keep in mind, there is no scale for pain or abuse. No matter how slight the physical touching, the perpetrator of the action is still eligible for prosecution. Some types of domestic violence charges do not even require any physical touching.  In fact, stalking or criminal threats do not involve touch (Penal Code section 422).

California Penal Code Convictions

California Penal Code section 273.5 is the most frequent domestic violence crime.

This penal code section provides that anyone who willfully inflicts injury on a spouse, former spouse, or certain other people is guilty of a felony.  Of course, Penal Code 273.5 is explicit that the injury may be either minor or serious in nature, so long as it is caused by physical force.  The punishment for those guilty of violating this crime includes up to one year in county jail. Moreover, the perpetrator may face even up to six years in state prison. Additionally, a conviction for someone who has had prior domestic violence conviction means even more time.

Prosecution of DV cases involves a very serious approach. Moreover, the cases often find their way to the District Attorney’s desk. These attorneys specifically handle domestic violence cases and likewise carry intense knowledge.

Your intimate partner does not decide whether or not to press charges in a domestic violence case in California. Once the police are involved in the domestic violence situation, you and your intimate partner no longer have the choice of whether or not to prosecute. The decision of whether or not to file criminal charges in a domestic violence case is up to the prosecutor alone. He or she will decide whether or not to bring the domestic violence charge. It is incorrect (and dangerous) to believe that the DV victim has the power to press charges or not; once law enforcement is involved, it is out of their hands.

California Domestic Violence Defense Attorney

No matter what charges you are currently facing, a skilled California criminal defense attorney can help. There are defenses for every criminal charge. In most cases, these domestic violence charges are based on one person’s word.

A domestic violence criminal defense lawyer understands that there are two sides to every story. This lawyer can help you gather evidence and proof for your side of the story. Do not think that these charges are hopeless. Speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney today to learn how you can save your reputation and keep your record clean.

Do not hesitate to call on criminal defense lawyer Darren T. Kavinoky if you would like a FREE case evaluation.

Domestic Violence and Divorce in California

Domestic violence accusations are common during a divorce. Some are accurate, some are less than accurate.

22% of divorces today end due to a claim of violence in the relationship. Additionally, 3 million women a year are victims of partner abuse. With this consideration, however, some partners make exaggerated or misleading claims of violence. Unfortunately, some see these claims as a way to gain advantage in divorce and/or custody proceedings.  Many partners lose access to their children as a result of false domestic violence charges. However, with an expert criminal defense attorney on your side, so shall the truth be with your case.

Domestic violence accusations can majorly impact divorce proceedings. Regardless if it is an allegation, arrest or conviction, accusations are impactful.  This is true particularly when it comes to child custody issues. This is a serious danger for all partners processing divorce. However, it is especially harmful for those in the military. A conviction of domestic violence during a divorce will affect child custody and the outcome of a divorce. Unfortunately, it can also cost military personnel their jobs.

While domestic violence is a real issue in many divorce cases, sometimes the accusations are false.

Divorcing couples are often involved in messy disputes. Some cases lead to an angry spouse claiming abuse out of frustration. If you believe you’ve been falsely accused of spousal abuse, do not wait. It’s crucial to seek the help of a qualified legal counsel who will work to protect your rights.

Protective Orders

Also referred to as restraining orders, protective orders are popular grants during a divorce. If granted, a partner may not be able to see his/her children. The accused is likely not able to enter his/her own home or visit his/her children. In some cases, those with restraining orders against them may also find themselves with additional responsibilities. He or she may need to attend counseling or anger management classes.

A parent with a restraining order against him or her will likely have a difficult time fighting for custody and visitation rights to his children. In some cases, restraining orders may last for several years after the divorce. If a partner violates an active protection or restraining order, he can go to jail.

Criminal Charges

An arrest for domestic violence in the state of California may result in criminal charges. A conviction on your record can affect you for years to come. The safest course of action for men accused of domestic violence is to remain calm and obey all restraining orders for the time being. If the accused respects the boundaries of the restraining order, there is hope to drop the charges. Of course, if an expert criminal defense attorney proves the allegations are false, the restraining order is no longer valid.

Domestic Violence Act

As a man with false allegations of domestic violence made against you, it’s imperative that you understand the Domestic Violence Act. Implemented in 1979, the act defines what constitutes domestic violence. According to the legislation, domestic violence is defined as “attempts to cause or intentionally causing bodily injury, and placing a person in fear of ‘imminent serious bodily injury’ by threatening the use of force.” Under the act, it’s easy for women to make false allegations but, with the right criminal defense, you may be able to prove your innocence and protect your rights.

Domestic violence charges can result in severe legal consequences for defendants, including eviction, heavy fines and legal fees, and a permanent mark on your criminal record. Additionally, these charges can affect alimony and child custody. Some courts prevent parents with a history of physical abuse from visiting their children, even under supervision. Some of the normal privileges you’ve grown accustomed to throughout the years may be taken away from you as a result of a false domestic violence charge.

Don’t Fight Alone

During a divorce, things can get ugly. Don’t fight this battle alone. If you find yourself standing on the wrong side of a restraining order, call The Kavinoky Law Firm. We hire only the best attorneys in Los Angeles. We work around the clock to protect your rights. 1.800.No.Cuffs is the number to remember but hope you never need.

Drug Expungement

drug expungementDrug expungement is a popular option for those who worry about life after conviction. It’s not a perfect solution for everyone, but it’s a great option to consider. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you work towards expungement.

A drug charge may keep you from living your life the way you desire. From getting a good job and earning more money to purchasing a home, criminal convictions are no fun. Today, more than 80 percent of employers conduct background checks. Consequently, in today’s volatile job market, a drug charge can make job hunts a challenge. Even if you pass a drug test, the challenge persists.

Expungement refers to the process of sealing arrest and conviction records. Once an arrest is no longer on your record, potential employers or landlords have the right to its disclosure. In turn, it’s relatively easy to expunge your California criminal record. If you are eligible, your record can be clear very quickly.

Expungement Eligibility

There are certain entry requirements to meet if you’re looking for a drug expungement. The list is as follows:

  1. Any mandatory drug treatment is complete,
  2. Probation is complete, and
  3. Any other punishments related to the drug charge completed.

If you meet all of the above requirements, you are eligible for expungement in California. This process, if approved will set your conviction aside or dismissed entirely.

Once California releases your conviction, the crime is no longer on your record. As a result, you’re free from all penalties and disabilities resulting from the conviction. Additionally, you don’t have to answer ‘yes’ on criminal history questions on job applications. Truly, it’s as if the crime did not happen.

Other Rights After Expungement

Although a conviction disappears via expungement, not all rights are the same after a conviction. Regardless of expungement, some rights are revoked indefinitely.

One example is the right to possess a firearm. This right will not restore after expungement. Additionally, you must disclose your criminal history in any application for public office or a position as a peace officer. You must also disclose it for licensure by any state or local agency, or when contracting with the California State Lottery. Lastly, you must disclose when serving on a jury.

Keep in mind, your disclosure should not hurt you. Legally, the disclosure of a conviction cannot in any way result in the denial of employment or benefits.

Denial of Expungement

Certain convictions are not eligible for expungement consideration. Firstly, you may not expunge your conviction if you served your sentence in state prison. Also, depending on the severity of the crime, some just may not be up for clearance. Under California state law, some crimes are more heinous than others. These crimes include serious sex offenses committed against children. Additionally, in some cases, murder and other violent crimes are not eligible.

Expungement Process

Before the court will grant you a drug expungement, there are several steps you and your criminal defense attorney must follow. These include:

  1. Analyzing the case to determine you are eligible for an expungement,
  2. Performing legal research regarding the current and relevant law,
  3. Filing the appropriate paperwork within the proper time frames, and
  4. Attending the hearing in court.

Even if you follow these steps, and the judge grants you a drug expungement, there may still be limitations as to what an expungement can do for you. Expunged convictions can still be used as prior convictions in order to enhance sentencing for future crimes, and can be used as a ‘strike’ for the purposes of California’s three strikes law.

In most cases, juvenile offenders and those who have been arrested or convicted for drug crimes may have an easier time expunging their criminal history. It’s important to note that possession of marijuana for personal use should automatically be erased from your criminal record after two years – this does not apply to convictions for growing, selling, or transporting marijuana.

Hire a Lawyer 

The Kavinoky Law firm hires the best criminal defense attorneys in California. Our excellent and experienced attorneys work hard to fight for their clients’ rights. If you find yourself on the wrong side of the law, call 1.800.No.Cuffs for a free consultation. 

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Bail in Domestic Violence cases

BailBail in Domestic Violence cases

California domestic violence cases are different from other crimes when it comes to bail. With respect to most domestic abuse charges, the law forbids the defendant from being released on his or her own recognizance (commonly called OR) without first having a court hearing. At that bail hearing, the judge decides if OR release is appropriate. This is different from other classes of crimes where OR release is possible prior to a court appearance. Hiring an experienced criminal defense lawyer from The Kavinoky Law Firm is the first step towards freedom, as he or she will fight to get the client’s bail reduced or, if appropriate, to get a speedy bail hearing to hopefully get it eliminated entirely.

Bail is money that the court requires the defendant to pay in order to assure his or her court appearances. The amount of bail varies depending on the crime involved. A bail schedule sets forth the amount for bail for each type of crime. Of course, the judge has the authority to deviate from the schedule to make bail either higher or lower.

If there is a bail hearing, the judge will consider the defendant’s prior criminal history, his or her flight risk and the facts of the pending case. When the judge is making decisions about bail, he or she will presume that the accused is guilty and make a decision keeping that in mind. With that being the case, it would be quite foolish for anyone to try and take on a bail hearing without first hiring the best lawyer he or she can afford.

If the defendant is denied an OR release (which is typical when a defendant faces an intimate partner abuse charge) and must post bail, he or she may be released through two different methods: posting cash bail or posting a bail bond. To be released on cash bail, the defendant must post certified funds (or cash) in the full amount of the bail with either the arresting agency or with the Clerk of the Court. If the accused attends every court appearance, the cash will be returned within 60-90 days after the case is resolved. However, if the defendant fails to appear, the cash bond is forfeited to the court.

A bail bondsman is typically the best alternative to obtain pre-trial release, since many people do not have the financial resources to post cash bail. A bail bond is a contract with a bail agent where the agent agrees to post a bond for the full bail amount. The bondsman will generally require a “premium” which is his or her fee, and is set by law at 10% of the amount of the bond. The bondsman may also require “collateral” (which is usually a car, house or something else of great value) in order to secure the bond. That means that if the defendant doesn’t repay the bond, the bondman has the legal right to keep or sell the defendant’s collateral. The bondsman’s premium is non-refundable and is paid to the bond company for taking the risk that the defendant may not appear in court. Once the case is over, the bond is exonerated, and the collateral is then released. A bail bond is good for one year. If the court case goes beyond one year, an additional premium may be required to keep the bond in force.

A domestic violence arrest in California is no joke. An accusation can be devastating, emotionally and financially, and a conviction carries severe penalties. To best avoid these consequences, it is imperative that an accused hires a skilled attorney immediately after being arrested so that the attorney can help the accused navigate through the criminal court system right from the start. In order to secure the best representation from a firm who has successfully defended countless domestic abuse cases, contact the attorneys at The Kavinoky Law Firm for a free consultation.

Prior Convictions and Domestic Battery

Domestic battery is a California domestic violence offense that applies to intimate partners. The offense is also referred to as “spousal abuse” or “spousal battery.” Intimate partners include heterosexual or homosexual couples and those who are married, divorced, living together, have children in common, or are dating or formerly dated.

Battery is a “wobbler” offense, which means that it can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the facts of the individual case. When charged as a misdemeanor, battery carries a maximum of a one-year jail sentence and a $2,000 fine. Even the slightest force, or any unwanted touching, can result in a domestic battery charge. However, if serious bodily injury results (for example, broken bones, loss of consciousness or a concussion), the battery will likely be charged as a felony which carries a maximum of four years in state prison.

A four-year prison sentence is the maximum amount of prison time that a defendant convicted of domestic battery as a felony could possibly serve. The law says nothing about mandatory jail or prison time for an offender. If the accused has no prior criminal history, if this charge is his or her first domestic abuse charge or if the facts surrounding this allegation aren’t too horrifying, an experienced criminal defense lawyer may be able to convince a court to impose probation conditions that don’t include imprisonment.

However, if a defendant is convicted of domestic battery and has been previously convicted of this same charge, he or she will most likely be ordered to serve at least 48 hours in county jail. This is another reason why it is so important for an accused – especially an accused who has a prior battery conviction – to retain legal counsel who has experience dealing with California intimate partner abuse cases. Without a competent attorney, a defendant will definitely serve the mandatory time in jail upon a second conviction. However, a skilled defense attorney will aggressively defend his or her client by arguing that imprisoning the defendant does not serve the best interests of justice. He or she further knows what facts and circumstances will help convince the judge accordingly.

Unfortunately, the judge is not the only one who hears about the defendant’s prior domestic violence convictions. While most criminal cases exclude prior conduct from evidence, domestic abuse crimes are an exception. Evidence of the defendant’s prior acts of intimate partner violence are admissible against the accused in a jury trial. This means that a jury will be allowed to hear that the accused has committed similar offenses in the past and, as a result, they are likely to conclude that he or she did so again.

When facing a domestic battery charge – especially when one has a history of prior domestic abuse – it is imperative to hire a qualified criminal defense attorney who is not only familiar with all of the issues that frequently arise with this charge, but who is also familiar with all of the issues that prior acts of domestic violence raise. The attorneys from The Kavinoky Law Firm have successfully defended countless individuals who were facing intimate partner abuse charges. They receive ongoing education and training in this specific area of the law, which is directly responsible for their outstanding results. When things are at their worst, the attorneys at The Kavinoky Law Firm are at their best! Click here for a free consultation and for the best representation.

The Role of a Batterer’s Class in a California Domestic Violence Criminal Threats Conviction

The Role of a Batterer’s Class in a California Domestic Violence Criminal Threats Conviction

Domestic violence, under California law, exists when a crime is committed against an individual by that individual’s intimate partner. Intimate partners include persons who are either heterosexual or homosexual and are dating, formerly dated, married, divorced, living together or have children together. This means that if an individual threatens his or her intimate partner, the charge will be prosecuted as a domestic abuse offense.

“Criminal threats” may be charged when an individual, either in person, in writing or through a third person, threatens to commit a crime against his or her intimate partner that would result in serious bodily injury or death to that partner if the crime was committed. The fact that the accused didn’t actually intend to commit the crime will not serve as a defense to this crime if the partner reasonably feared for his or her safety upon receipt of the threat.

California D.V. law requires that a defendant who is placed on probation for making a criminal threat against his or her intimate partner attend a batterer’s class. The offender will be required to attend class for a two-hour period at least once a week for one year. These classes are designed to help people convicted of intimate partner abuse learn to better control their anger.

Batterer’s classes are sensitive to sexual orientation, culture and ethnicity, and are conducted in either all female or all male settings. They are available to people of all economic classes. California regulates each class’s program to make sure that each class covers the same material regardless of its location in the state. Classes address the dynamics of power and control, socialization, gender roles, the nature of violence and the effects of abuse on children and others. Included in these broad topics are discussions about different types of abuse, which includes emotional, physical and sexual abuse, economic manipulation or control, threatening a partner, the destruction of property and other acts that affect the well-being and safety of the family.

Teaching a person convicted of a domestic violence crime to walk away from a potentially violent situation is the goal of this type of counseling. In order to achieve this objective, the facilitators encourage their students to examine their lives to gain a deeper understanding about why they need to be in control. If successful, the offender learns that he or she cannot control a relationship through violence or intimidation and has further learned effective ways to communicate and restore balance within his or her intimate relationship.

The defendant’s progress will be monitored by the court and will be considered unsatisfactory if the defendant either blames his or her partner for the abuse or in any other way attempts to shift his or her personal responsibility. When this type of denial or attitude exists, the class leader will confront the individual who has taken such a stance and will refute his or her justification for threatening or intimidating his or her intimate partner. The offender will also receive information about the destructive impact that domestic abuse has on self-esteem and on children who are either victims of or witnesses to such abuse.

The caring criminal defense lawyers at The Kavinoky Law Firm understand that attending a batterer’s program may be one of the most difficult conditions of probation for some of their clients to fulfill. With their compassion and discretion, they will make this difficult time a little easier. A skilled defense attorney can answer any questions about a California criminal threats charge during a free consultation.

Domestic violence and the military

Domestic violence and the military

California has tough domestic violence laws that include a variety of offenses. These offenses used to be charged only when there was a dispute between married couples or parents of a child. However, the laws have expanded to include disputes between any intimate partners: cohabiting couples, former spouses or fiancés/fiancées, people who are or were dating, and same-sex partnerships. The military, however, limits intimate partners to current spouses and has their own way of handling the problem. Although most military cases involve husbands abusing wives, there are cases where the husband is the victim.

A family abuse case will usually go one of two ways if a member of the military is involved: The case will either be handled by the military justice system or by the Family Advocacy Program.

Under the military justice system, the military commander is in charge of enforcing order and discipline. He or she does so within each unit by using methods ranging from mild administrative measures, including formal or informal counseling, to full-blown General Court Martial, where an individual can be sentenced to severe disciplinary action, including military discharge. This system is penalty driven.

The more common route, the Family Advocacy Program, is an identification, intervention, and treatment program, not a punishment system. It should be noted that information obtained under the Family Advocacy Program may be used as evidence in the military justice system if the case isn’t first settled within the program.

Under family advocacy, military officials assess the alleged abuser to determine whether the individual would benefit from treatment and, if so, what treatment would be appropriate. As for the victim, an advocate is assigned to assess his or her safety and to help develop a safety plan for the family. Throughout the process, victim advocates ensure that the victim’s medical, mental health and protection needs are being met.

In a number of situations, spouses have reported being afraid to report abuse because of financial concerns about the implications of a discharge. Federal law has taken that into account and has set aside financial protections for spouses and children of members of the military who are discharged for committing domestic violence crime.

Although a domestic abuse conviction can end a service member’s military career, it doesn’t have to. Department of Defense officials state that most military spousal abuse is reported early, when chances of successful treatment are good. Some abusers even self-report before the problem becomes chronic or severe. Taking quick action means that an abuser’s military career isn’t necessarily impacted.

The bottom line is that the military is taking a stand against intimate partner abuse. For years, victims of abuse by members of the military complained that they weren’t taken seriously or that their complaints were “swept under the rug.” This is no longer the case. The military is following the rest of the nation in trying to combat this epidemic. Domestic violence victims are now being heard and abusers, whether civilians or military personnel, are being held accountable.

For more information, please contact The Kavinoky Law Offices for a free consultation about this or any other criminal matter. When things are at their worst, the attorneys at The Kavinoky Law Firm are at their best!

Infliction of Injury Defined

Infliction of Injury

Willful infliction of injury, also known as “spousal abuse,” is a California domestic violence offense that can be applied to any type of intimate partners. This can include couples who are married or divorced, living together or formerly living together, or have children in common. The laws apply to both heterosexual couples and same-sex partnerships. If an individual willfully inflicts any injury, no matter how minor, upon the body of an intimate partner, he or she can be charged with a felony, punishable by up to four years in prison and a fine of up to $6,000. This charge can be brought against a defendant even if he or she barely touched the intimate partner.

Every crime has specific “elements” (facts) that the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt in order to obtain a conviction against the defendant. Each element of the charge must be independently proved or else the jury must vote “Not Guilty.” In order to find the accused guilty of infliction of injury, the prosecutor must prove three elements.

The first element is that the defendant inflicted bodily injury upon his or her intimate partner. This means that the “victim’s” injury resulted from direct force applied by the accused. It doesn’t matter how slight the force was, only that some amount of force was used.

The second element that must be proved is that the infliction of injury was willful. “Willful” means that the individual had the willingness to inflict force. Willingness has nothing to do with the amount of force used or the physical result of the force; it only deals with the willingness to simply carry out the act. In a situation where the accused willfully used force in self-defense or in the defense of others, he or she is not guilty of this crime. It is the prosecutor’s burden to prove that the willful force was unlawful and not for one of the reasons stated above.

The final element of this charge is that the injury resulted in a “traumatic condition.” A traumatic condition means that the accused’s force caused an external or internal injury to his or her partner. The injury could be minor or serious. Basically, this means that any injury, no matter how slight, that wasn’t there before the defendant applied the force to his or her partner’s body will qualify.

Remember, in order to convict a criminal defendant on any charge, the prosecutor must prove every element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. In addition, a criminal conviction requires that all twelve members of the jury must be convinced that the charges are true. That means that if just one juror isn’t completely convinced of the defendant’s guilt, the jury cannot return a conviction. An experienced criminal defense lawyer will aggressively defend the accused partner’s rights and sow the seeds of reasonable doubt in the minds of jurors.

An infliction of injury conviction is no joke. An accusation can be devastating emotionally and financially, and a conviction carries severe penalties. To best avoid these consequences, it is imperative that an accused hires a skilled defense attorney who knows the most effective ways to refute this crime’s elements. In order to secure the best representation from a firm who has successfully defended countless domestic abuse cases, contact the attorneys at The Kavinoky Law Firm for a free consultation.