Domestic Violence Laws Should Be Used by Those Who Need Them
Many people come to me for help after having an argument where one spouse or partner calls the cops, the other ends up in jail, the whole thing gets out of hand and suddenly there's nothing to do to stop the process. Don't misunderstand me. Spousal abuse is real and not to be tolerated. But a woman who is regularly beat by a drunken thug husband is not in the same situation as some one who's husband threw the alarm clock against the wall. Even if it means going to counseling please distinguish between a spat which injures no one and spousal or domestic abuse.
Why Shouldn't I Call the Cops? He Needs a Little Lesson.
The trouble is the lesson is not going to be a little one and it will affect you and your children, if you have any, as well as the one who needs to learn a thing or two. Some folks think that when an argument breaks out calling the cops is a good way to cool things off. If there is real danger by all means call. But otherwise when you invite the cops into your home claiming that your spouse or partner has assaulted you you have started something you can't stop.
This goes back to a misconception I see constantly on this forum. People don't press charges and they can't drop them. You call the cops, they'll decide whether to make an arrest based on what they see and hear and what else is happening that night and then the DA will decide whether or not to press charges. If they do it's not always possible to convince them that nothing really happened. The consequences of a restraining order or a conviction for domestic violence are lifelong.
What Are the Possible Consequences?
The aggressor is probably going to be given a restraining order that may force him to leave the house. In my state they usually run for at least 3 years. He will not be able to see you, telephone you, e-mail you, or drop by and see the kids. He probably will be required to stay 150 yards from you. He will lose his right to own a gun and any guns that he does have will be destroyed. This is a lifetime ban. In CA he will pay fines, spend some time in jail or community service and be brainwashed in a mandatory 52 week course in DV. If he misses more than 2 classes he has to start over again.
Now if a spouse really has been violent or even threatened violence maybe they deserve all this. But this is the world you are stepping into when you call the cops over a domestic quarrel. Think long and hard before you do it. And if you do, don't come running to me as your husband's lawyer saying you didn't mean it and want to take it back. The DA hears that one all the time.
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