The most common calls received by bonds bail agents are about charges related to domestic violence. A lot of people don’t know about this, but charges of domestic violence have the highest emotions, questions and misconceptions than bail agents of other charges will encounter. That is why we are going to get into the basics of domestic violence charges, and the many impacts and implications that come with most domestic violence cases. This complete guide to understanding domestic violence for bail agents is designed to help paint a clearer picture about domestic violence cases.
THE BASICS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
There is a difference between aggravated assault and standard battery charges, and domestic violence occurs in an intimate partnership, which could be one-sided, undone, family-linked, new, or old. Another aspect of domestic violence is that it doesn’t necessarily have to take place inside the house. However, if the relationship is proven to be a partnership by either side, even if the relationship has been severed legally, any physical or mental abuse can be counted in this category.
Most domestic violence cases happen because intimate partners were under the influence of substances (drugs or alcohol), were under stress, and were driven by their need to dominate their more submissive partner. Domestic violence isn’t only always man over woman, it can also be woman over woman, or even man over man. The effects of the violence don’t necessarily confine to a single victim. It can also not be contained to one incident, even if there were only one single reported police recorded event. A lot of domestic violence is continuous, and the reportable recordable situations, show the instances where it spiraled out of control and warranted outside interference.
A lot of sources related to domestic violence state that the number reason for staying in an abusive relationship is FEAR felt by one party. It could be any of the following:
- Fear of a partners’ fury
- Fear of reprisal
- Fear of being stalked or hunted
- Fear of harm to a family member
- Fear of being outed for their perceived weakness or their preferences
- Fear of bodily harm
- Fear of not managing to live with any independence
Fear is the number one reason that stops people from escaping, confiding in someone else about their problems, or for pressing charges. However, victims of domestic violence need to learn that their prison of abuse isn’t going to change if they don’t action.
In rare cases, domestic violence charges may be faced by both parties in an isolated incident, which led to both parties spending time in jail. In some cases, there will be a single arrest, and the abused victim must decide if they want to stay or fight. That decision will be based on several factors that are ingrained into the psyche of that person:
- Are they going to get support from their family if they press charges?
- Will they manage to survive without the support of the incarcerated?
- Do they have a chance to achieve a normal life, should this extend past rehabilitation, sentencing, and even possible reconciliation?
The scenarios are going to be wildly different, but there is one certainty, which is that the cycle can only be broken by one or both parties in the relationship, when they make a firm decision to break out of their submissive or abusive postures. There can be even more complications, if one party is removed by visibility from the community, or language, and if there are children present.
There is nothing more threatening than living in a continuous mentally or physically abusive situation, because they aren’t going to end without any intervention. This situation isn’t exclusive to women, even though they are most commonly reported victims. Domestic violence affects all society and doesn’t have an exclusive group that suffers more. It affects:
- Heterosexual couples
- Transgender persons
- Singles with children living with them.
Almost every bail agent has experienced their share of arrests, which occur after incidents that have required the intervention of police action. Most domestic violence affects people undergoing sudden change, those in intimate relationships, and those who have reached a breaking point after long-standing acceptance of their condition.
It is important to remember that before the abuse began, all parties involved in the intimate relationship were drawn with the promise of something in exchange for the others’ contact. It could also be due to various contributing factors like drug use, and alcohol consumption, which can cause violent tendencies to become a common factor in the relationship. The best way to turn off violence in such a case requires a mutual commitment to sobriety, which has proven to be successful.
CHARGES AND PERSONAL ARREST HISTORY
The legal world considers domestic violence charges as a ‘Wobbler’, which means that the charge could easily be determined as a misdemeanor or felony. The charge could wobble towards a misdemeanor if it is a first or second offence and will be judged by the participation of both parties in the incident, and the amount and severity of physical injury.
The charge will wobble towards a felony if anyone has a record of violent arrests, or if there was a weapon used in the act, or if there were substances (drugs or alcohol) involved or present when the arresting offence took place.
STAY OR LEAVE?
The answer for 55% of the population in the United States, who have never suffered any form of relationship abuse is straightforward – Don’t stay. The biggest problem is that leaving any relationship, brings with it, a unique form of emotional trauma. Most people find separation a financial impossibility and emotionally wrenching.
To leave a relationship means:
- Having the financial support or resources to accomplish (background checks, application fees, deposit fees, etc.)
- Having a place to move to
- Having to move
- Having to face the unknown without any support or a partnership
Existing dependency on any individual’s stability or income outweighs the patterned or single outburst of ongoing rage, and often influences the choice to press charges. It is codependency, which is commonly associated with pattern abuse, and therefore is accepted as a bizarrely normal situation, even if this isn’t the desired outcome for anyone involved in the relationship.
It could be that the victim couldn’t bear to lose the abuser’s income, and the impact it makes on their lives, especially if there are children involved. Separation in this scenario is only going to lead to ongoing abuse under visitation privileges. It takes immense ongoing strength to severe ties between two adults, who have spent a considerable amount of time (either positive or negative) together. It can’t be achieved without the support of an outreach service, peer group, church, or family.
Staying in an abusive relationship means that unless intervention occurs the threat of ongoing abusive incidents will continue occurring. This is where support groups like outreach services, peer groups, clergy, and family can participate in healing this situation. The biggest threat faced by the victim of abuse is isolation, which empowers the abuser. Incarceration can become the catalyst for more hostility with possible repercussions in the future, and only offers temporary relieve to the individual.
The arrest and bail bond process, allows the parties have time under observation of the court system to reach a reasonable understanding. The abuse victim can file the paperwork for any of the three types of restraining orders recognized in California, if FEAR remains a factor. These restraining orders are:
1. TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER
This must be served legally to the individual named, and all copies must be filed in appropriate departments with specifications of the complaints. The order won’t become official until the person, who stands accused has been identified and served with a legal copy.
2. STALKING RESTRAINING ORDER
This must be served legally to the individual named, and all copies must be filed in appropriate departments with alleged offences or specifications of the complaints. Anyone, who allegedly contacts or follows the complaining party through persistent text, email, phone, mail, or other forms of presence (i.e. delivering unwanted gifts, leaving messages, spying, following), can be served with this restraining order.
3. DOMESTIC VIOLENCE RESTRAINING ORDER
The special requirements for this restraining order state that there must be an identifiable relationship between the individual being served and the complaining party. The relationship needs to be identified as the following:
- Blood relation
- Marriage relation
- Former spousal relation
- Former intimate partner who cohabitated in the same place (townhouse, apartment, home)
- Parent of children in a former or existing marriage
- In-laws (former or current)
In some cases, a permanent restraining order can be granted depending on the integrity of the witnesses, documentation, and other prevailing issues that cause concern about the welfare of all parties involved. This is the result of properly handling temporary orders and evaluating the circumstances that led to this point.
Even if domestic violence goes unreported, it still leaves an evidence trail behind. It could be an audible argument between two people that didn’t result in the disappearance of a member for a couple of days, or visible bruising. People are polite by nature, which prevents them from getting into the business of other people. However, research points out that 4 in 10 households have problems, which could potentially escalate to physical abuse.
If you are looking for signs of domestic violence or abuse, there are some signs that may tell you whether a person has suffered or is suffering from abuse. The signs you should be looking for include:
- Isolated spouses (lack of social contact)
- Children acting out with violence
- Listen for consistent arguments with one voice dominating
- Report or investigate signs of substance abuse, abuse, or neglect
If you notice any of the above signs, it is within your rights to interfere by calling the authorities or complaining. You may think it isn’t your business, but it is, because the results are going to end up becoming everyone’s burden or guilt, until the cycle stops.
The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, released statistics that suggested, 1 in 15 children are exposed to the results of domestic violence, and 90% of them are eye-witnesses to the events.
All parties that are involved in a domestic violence incident where arrests are made, are advised to investigate literature and support groups that explain the myriad of options available for abusers and victims if they can be distinguished.
You can view the Domestic Violence Resources Checklist below.
Most of the services are also requirements of sentencing or probation. If the police notices domestic violence, which has resulted in an arrest, it has gotten to the point, where the abuser must be dealt with a in a manner that offers the best long-term security for all involved parties.
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE RESOURCES
Free services as listed available to all:
- National Domestic Abuse Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
- National Coalition Against Domestic Violencencadv.org
- National Dating Abuse Helpline: 1-866-331-9474
- Americans Overseas Domestic Violence Crisis Center: 1-866-USWOMEN (879-6636)
- National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE (4673)rainn.org
National Center for Victims of Crime: 1-202-467-8700www.victimsofcrime.org