The Abuse of Domestic Abuse Laws

Posted on in Criminal Defense

domestic abuse, domestic violence, Illinois Criminal Defense AttorneyIt is hard to deny the importance of strict domestic violence laws. It is a problem that continues to thrive despite various efforts at education and prevention. Laws and regulations are necessary to protect men, women and children from the abuse that can come from those closest to them. Unfortunately, these necessary laws are often abused and manipulated to punish innocent people. The allegations of a family member are taken as truth, without adequate investigation or trial in a court of law. When this occurs, innocent people are unfairly subjected to legal processes that restrict their liberties, making the assistance of an experienced attorney vital from the very first allegation of domestic abuse.

Illinois Domestic Abuse Laws

The Illinois Attorney General describes the state's definition of domestic violence as a situation where an individual is “hit, choked, kicked, threatened, harassed or had their liberty personal liberty interfered with by a family or household member.” Abuse also includes incidents where children are forced to watch acts of abuse, as well as incidents in which disabled individuals are denied access to necessary care. To fully understand the breadth of this law, it is important to consider the legal definitions of family member or household member, which are much broader than the traditional meanings. The state of Illinois classifies the following relationships as family or household members:

  • Family related by blood;
  • Spouses or ex-spouses;
  • Current of former cohabitants;
  • Actual or alleged child in common;
  • People related by blood through a child in common;
  • Current and former dating partners, including those of the same sex;
  • Engaged couples, including those of the same sex; and
  • Disabled individuals and their personal assistants.

When responding to a domestic violence call, law enforcement officers are tasked with arresting the apparent abuser and making a report of the incident. Sometimes the identification of an apparent abuser is only based on verbal accusations, leading to the arrest of an innocent individual. Aside from the possible criminal charges involved, the accused may also apply for an order of protection, which can further limit your liberty and negatively affect your daily life. Under an order of protection, the court may:

  • Order you out of your home;
  • Order you to stay away from your home;
  • Order that you stay away from the alleged victim;
  • Order no communication with the alleged victim;
  • Award temporary custody of your children to the alleged victim; and
  • Require you to forfeit your legally-owned firearms or weapons.

All of these actions may occur even before there is any conviction or determination of guilt. The accused party is left with significant financial burdens and alienation from family, along with a possible loss of employment. Even if violations of domestic abuse laws are never proven, some employers view orders of protection as morality breaches, especially for jobs that require security clearances.

While some cases are appropriate for orders of protection, many individuals abuse these legal orders by bringing them against innocent parties. For the person charged with domestic violence, orders of protection can have long lasting consequences as they are likely to remain on the accused's record, regardless of the ultimate outcome. Further complicating matters, any violation of an order of protection can result in additional criminal charges.

If you or a loved one is facing domestic violence charges, allow criminal defense attorney Hal M. Garfinkel to provide you with a vigorous defense. Contact an experienced Illinois criminal defense attorney at the Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel LLC, Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney today at 312-629-0669 for a free consultation.

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