How to Respond to an Arrest for Domestic Assault — PA

If someone calls the police about a domestic assault going on at his or her home, someone is going to jail. Increasingly, law enforcement officials take domestic violence assault calls extremely seriously, and will often arrest someone with little or no substantive investigation.

People who are charged with domestic violence come from all walks of life, and the circumstances surrounding each domestic assault case are different. Most people accused of domestic violence have never even been arrested before. Some just once, lost their temper and lashed out at a loved one during a difficult conflict. Some have issues with anger management that must be resolved. Others are flat out not guilty and have been falsely accused. Still others were simply defending themselves against their domestic partner, but the police saw it otherwise.

No matter the circumstances of the charges against you, those around you will often treat you like a pariah, as if you are already guilty. Having charges like these standing against you can feel like a black cloud you’re your whole life. You must respond proactively and defend yourself against these charges.

How can you best protect your rights, your family, your freedom, and your future?

First, exercise your right to remain silent and contact an attorney as soon as you possibly can, either in jail or directly after you are released. Remember, anything you say to the police about what happened can potentially be misconstrued and used against you in court. Be respectful but remember, you are not legally obliged to tell the police anything but your name. Being polite and respectful can also show that you are able to control angry impulses. It will help when it comes time to go to court.

If you have been taken into custody, do not sign a written statement of any kind and do not make any kind of agreement with the police. They do not have the authority to drop your case, anyway. The state prosecutor in Pennsylvania is the one who makes those decisions.

While in custody, you are allowed a phone call. If you do use a jail phone, remember that the police will likely be listening in on your phone call. Do not say anything that can even remotely be interpreted as problematic in your domestic assault defense. And do not call the person who is the alleged victim from jail. Again, this may be considered “stalking,” which will work against you in your case.

In domestic violence cases, generally, you will be in jail until you appear before the Pennsylvania court judge, who will set bond and give you certain conditions that you must follow for your release. Conditions may generally include not contacting the victim, not going home, except under law enforcement supervision, and not having any weapons.

In addition to the domestic assault charges, in some cases there may also be a restraining order or protective order of some kind put into place through the civil court. This means that you will need to stay away from the alleged victim, whether that is your spouse, your domestic partner, or someone else. Violation of this order will result in yet another criminal charge against you.

It is critical for your freedom and your future to adhere strictly to these conditions, no matter how upsetting and overwhelming your situation is. The court will not listen to the upset; they will see the fact that the agreement was broken and you will end up in jail.

Contact an attorney who is experienced in criminal law, domestic dispute cases, and defending against restraining orders.

Protection — If You Believe You Are Guilty

There are ways, depending on your unique situation and in some cases, where a jail sentence can be stayed or reduced, or an alternative sentencing program may be put in place. Upon completion of such an alternative resolution program, the case will be considered resolved.

Steps to Take After an Arrest for Domestic Assault — PA

Please contact the Harrisburg, PA, law firm of Laguna Reyes Maloney, LLP to schedule a free case evaluation with Roger Laguna or Laura Reyes Maloney: 717-233-5292. You may also contact us online.

Domestic Violence – Abusive Relationships

Domestic violence is not limited to marriage, and the protections of the law are available to men as well as women, and to partners in a same – sex relationship. It can take a wide range of forms, from physical violence to emotional or even economic abuse. Unfortunately, most domestic violence victims feel helpless, fearing that the law won’t protect them, that they somehow deserve the abuse, or that they would rather accept the abuse than be alone. There are ways to protect yourself—help is available.

The Nature of Domestic Abuse

Though domestic abuse is often referred to as spousal abuse, it actually applies to all situations where two people are cohabitating, whether you are in a domestic partnership or a same – sex relationship. Domestic violence generally serves one purpose—it allows the abuser to exert control over the victim. Because the ultimate goal is control, the abuser may use a variety of methods to obtain power of a victim, including beatings, threats of violence, guilt, shame and intimidation.

In every relationship, there are disagreements, right? In fact, if there are no disagreements, it may be one of the indicators that there is unhealthy control being exerted by one of the parties. But when does disagreement rise to the level of domestic abuse? Clearly, when verbal abuse escalates to physical violence, it has crossed the line. With the possible exception of self – defense, there is never a situation where physical violence between spouses or domestic partners is acceptable. Sexual abuse between partners or spouses can also be difficult to determine. However, whenever your partner forces you to engage in a sexual act against your will, or uses other threats or intimidation to coerce you into performing a sexual act, it is likely that you have been the victim of domestic abuse.

With respect to emotional or economic abuse, the signs can be even more subtle. Do you find that your spouse or partner repeatedly uses guilt, shame or humiliation to diminish your self-esteem, so that you comply with their wishes? Does your partner call you whenever you go out alone, even to the grocery store, to check where you are and when you will be home? Does your spouse take your paycheck and give you nothing or little in return, or refuse to provide you with money to meet your most basic needs? Will they only allow you to go out in public if they come along?

Noticing the early signs of domestic abuse and taking steps to stop them can often prevent the escalation that results in physical injury.

Contact Our Office

At Laguna Reyes Maloney, LLP, we provide a free initial consultation to every client. To arrange a private meeting with an experienced Pennsylvania domestic violence attorney, contact us online or call our office at 717-233-5292. Se habla Espãnol.

Judge Rules No Spousal Privilege in Criminal Child-Abuse Cases

Many of us in Pennsylvania think that the secrets we share with our spouse are “confidential” and “privileged” from government intrusion. However, in Commonwealth v. Hunter , a Franklin County trial judge recently ruled that prosecutors can now use private text messages between a husband and wife in a criminal case. This is important because “spousal communications” in criminal trials have normally been “privileged” and “confidential” in this country. In this criminal case, however, the Judge said prosecutors could use and publish text messages that the married couple exchanged with each other when they were discussing the husband’s allegedly abused child.

The accused naturally argued to the judge that they had been under the impression that their discussions with each other were obviously confidential and privileged, like discussions with a lawyer, or confession to a priest. They logically argued that since the texts had been between husband and wife; had pertained to “matters in their lives” and were sent and received in confidence; they were obviously “privileged” and “confidential” spousal communications. Not so, said the judge; they were mistaken. The accused had no reasonable expectation of privacy in the texts. Does this decision represent the erosion of fundamental rights that we have taken for granted? Or, is the decision limited to the technological nature of how the “discussions” were shared? The judge’s opinion makes it difficult to say. Hopefully, the decision will be appealed and we will receive some clarity. For the moment, however, when you text, chat, twitter or e-mail your beloved, do so as if the whole world is watching.

Please contact our firm to schedule a free case evaluation with Roger Laguna or Laura Reyes Maloney. Call 717-233-5292.

Recognizing the Signs of Domestic Violence

Do you have a loved one that you think might be the victim of domestic violence or abuse? Unfortunately, in many domestic violence situations, the victims will go to great lengths to cover up the signs of abuse, fearing that they will be subject to further abuse, or that others will blame them for allowing themselves to become victims. This blog post identifies the typical warning signs of domestic violence.

How to Spot a Victim of Domestic Abuse

Though you can never be certain what happens in the privacy of someone’s home, there are behavioral traits that are common among victims of domestic violence. The violence may not necessarily be physical, but may take the form of psychological, emotional or economic control. Some of the early indications of the possibility of domestic abuse include:

• Always agreeing with anything a partner says or does
• Calling a partner or spouse on a regular basis to “check in” or report where they are and what they are doing
• Receiving frequent phone calls from partners or spouses
• Seeming afraid of or anxious to please a partner or spouse
• Making references to a partner’s possessiveness, jealousy or temper

Frequently, one of the tools that an abuser will use to exert control is to try to isolate the victim from all outside influence. If a person never seems to be available to see you, or won’t go out in public without their spouse or partner, it can be a warning sign that their partner is limiting their access to others. A particularly effective way of doing this may be to deprive the victim of money, credit cards or a vehicle, so that they can’t go anywhere and have no funds to do anything.

If the abuse is psychological, one of the first signs may be a personality change. A person who used to seem confident, but now seems tentative, may be the victim of domestic abuse. Depression, anxiety, low self-esteem and suicidal words or acts are all ways that victims respond to domestic violence.

The warning signs of physical violence may be just as difficult to see, as victims may use a variety of means to keep others from seeing the evidence. They may seem to “overdress,” wearing long sleeves in warm weather, or dark glasses inside. They may choose not to come to work, school or social functions. If they must get out, they may frequently show injuries, but always have an excuse…an accident that was entirely their fault.

Contact Our Office

At Laguna Reyes Maloney, LLP, we provide a free initial consultation to every client. To arrange a private meeting with an experienced Pennsylvania domestic violence attorney, contact us online or call our office at 717-233-5292. Se habla Espãnol.

What is Domestic Violence?

In today’s society, though we seem to have a greater awareness of the existence of domestic violence, it still remains largely hidden from public view. Often, the victims go to great lengths to mask any evidence of domestic violence, for fear that they won’t get the protection they need, or that they will be left alone to fend for themselves. Domestic violence takes many shapes and forms, including far more than physical abuse. This blog post provides a general overview of what constitutes domestic violence.

The Many Faces of Domestic Violence or Abuse

At its most fundamental level, domestic violence or abuse includes a broad range of acts perpetrated by one personal against someone with whom that person has an intimate relationship, including a partner, spouse or family member. Domestic violence is generally a coercive act used by one person to exert power or control over the victim. While men or women can be victims of domestic abuse, the majority of victims are women. In a survey conducted by the National Institute of Justice, nearly 25% of women said they were raped or physically assaulted by a date, live-in partner or spouse at some point in their lifetime.

Domestic violence can take forms other than physical abuse. The abuser may engage in emotional and psychological intimidation, or may make the victim the subject of continual verbal abuse. They may also engage in stalking, phone or mail harassment, and economic control. Domestic violence has also taken the form of the destruction of property, particularly items that have significant meaning or value to the victim. The abuser may intercept phone calls in an attempt to isolate the victim from friends and family members, and may deny the victim access to wages, medication or a vehicle. The violence can also be committed against a pet of the victim.

The most common forms of domestic violence include:

Physical abuse, such as hitting, slapping, pushing, choking, punching, pulling hair or beating with any type of object. It can also include the denial of medical care, or of sleep, or forcing the victim to use drugs or alcohol.
Emotional abuse, such as isolating the victim, denying the victim access to basic necessities, withholding information from the victim, attempting to humiliate the victim (publicly or privately)
Sexual abuse, including coercing a partner to have sex against their will, rape or other forcible sexual contact
Verbal abuse, from threatening language to name-calling, blaming, and continual criticism
Economic abuse, such as denying the victim access to reasonable resources to meet economic needs

Contact Our Office

At Laguna Reyes Maloney, LLP, we provide a free initial consultation to every client. To arrange a private meeting with an experienced Pennsylvania domestic violence attorney, contact us online or call our office at 717-233-5292. Se habla Espãnol.

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