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San Diego County Medical Professionals May Now Screen for Signs of Domestic Violence

By San Diego Attorney on October 14, 2021

The District Attorney’s Office in San Diego County is providing medical personnel with tools for identifying domestic violence, particularly strangulation, as reported on CBS8. In October 2021, they released a set of guidelines for domestic violence screening and proper response when medical professionals see suspicious injuries. This is necessary because healthcare providers are often the first people to see domestic violence victims apart from their abusers.

What Is Domestic Violence in the Eyes of the Law?

Domestic violence is a pattern of abusive behaviors to gain or maintain power or control over a partner, according to the San Diego County District Attorney. Under California law, it is abuse committed against a spouse, former spouse, cohabitant, former cohabitant, or someone with whom the accused has had a child or is or has been in a dating or engagement relationship. Abuse is defined as “recklessly causing or attempting to cause bodily injury or placing another person in reasonable apprehension of imminent serious bodily injury to himself or herself, or another.” Domestic violence includes behavior designed to intimidate, humiliate, manipulate, frighten, terrorize, harm, injure, or wound someone. It can take a number of different forms, including:

  • Emotional or psychological abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Physical aggression
  • Stalking
  • Financial abuse

What Recent Legislation Relates to Domestic Violence?

California Governor Gavin Newsom announced on October 8, 2021, that he has signed legislation to bolster protections for domestic violence survivors and to strengthen enforcement of state gun safety laws. This legislation includes measures to strengthen gun violence restraining orders. It requires implementation of procedures to ensure individuals prohibited from owning firearms due to a domestic violence restraining order relinquish their weapons.

How Has the Global Pandemic Impacted Domestic Violence?

The COVID-19 pandemic has produced an alarming rise in domestic violence incidents, as reported on UAB News. Worldwide, domestic violence cases increased in 2020 by 25% to 33%. On average, nearly 20 people per minute in the U.S. are physically abused by an intimate partner, as stated by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV). The pandemic has intensified conditions that can trigger domestic violence and aggravated exacerbating factors, such as alcohol and drug consumption.

How Serious Are Domestic Violence Charges?

Domestic violence charges are a serious matter. These are “wobbler” offenses that can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony, at the discretion of the prosecutor. There is a long list of possible specific domestic violence charges, including corporal injury to a spouse, battery, simple assault, criminal threats, making an annoying phone call, and dissuading a witness from reporting a crime. When charged as misdemeanors, these offenses can carry up to a year of jail time. When they are charged as felonies, punishment upon conviction may include up to several years in state prison.

Do You Need a Lawyer?

When domestic violence is reported, the police are required to act. They may not have all the facts or even a clear understanding of who was at fault in the situation, but they will almost always take someone to jail. A minor argument or a lie told to the police by a spouse or domestic partner could lead to arrest and domestic violence charges. You need an experienced San Diego criminal defense attorney who understands the seriousness of the situation to increase your chances of getting the matter resolved.

Why Choose Us?

California law enforcement has become increasingly harsh in addressing domestic violence cases. If you are facing domestic violence charges, call jD LAW, P.C. at (760) 630-2000. Founding attorney James N. Dicks is a former police officer and a board-certified criminal law specialist who has been rated 10.0 Superb on Avvo. Our firm was founded in 1990. We have represented hundreds of clients and tried hundreds of cases.

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