As this once “invisible crime” has gained an increasing prominence in the public eye, the role of the domestic violence lawyer has expanded far beyond merely representing a client in court. Whether representing the victim or the perpetrator, a legal professional who specializes in this area of the law has to be aware of the changing judicial landscape concerning these types of acts, the potential civil ramifications, and counseling options that can, hopefully, mitigate future acts.
What Is Domestic Violence
These acts are often defined as a pattern of abusive behavior between partners in an intimate relationship that one party uses to control or manipulate the other party. This can involve emotional, physical, verbal, sexual, and psychological abuse. Although most commonly recognized in situations involving battered wives, men and women, children, non-married couples, and others can still be victims or perpetrators.
Each state has its own definitions of what constitutes this kind of criminal act. As a result, legal practitioners have to make professional determinations as to the standards involved and how the actions of their client are measured by these statutory definitions. If a victim is the client, an attorney must be able to provide counseling as to remedies that are available, both in terms of criminal and civil sanctions, as well as options to remove the individual from potentially harmful situations.
Dealing With Allegations
When a domestic violence lawyer is retained, the first order of business is to make certain that all orders issued by the Court are followed. This may involve no-contact order, a criminal or civil injunction or restraining order limiting or forbidding contact between the parties and other directives. These may be significant limiting, not only physical contact, but written, electronic, or even third parties acting as agents. It is the attorney’s responsibility to see that his or her client is in compliance during the pendency of the action.
Counseling for both the victim and the assailant is another feature that may be ordered. Psychological evaluations can help legal representatives evaluate the situation and provide a clearer understanding as to the best way to present the client’s perspective either in a criminal or civil setting. These studies can also play a significant role in potential sanction alternatives that a court may consider.
Advising For The Future
The most important role that a domestic violence lawyer has is to advise his client on how to move forward from this difficult place in their lives. For victims, this may mean relocation, future counseling, divorce (if the parties are married), and other life-altering changes. For those accused of these actions, the attorney may become involved in the appellate process (if a criminal conviction was obtained), reminding the client that of the consequence of violating judicial orders or other requirements.