Thursday, November 26, 2020

Why Anger Management Does not Always Prevent Domestic Violence in Las Vegas

 When it comes to family issues, domestic violence incidents tend to branch out from simple situations into complicated cases. As such, many of the solutions suggested by people studying such cases involve dealing with the possible root causes of the issue to prevent things from escalating further. One of these offered solutions is anger management.

While it is true that domestic abuse cases involve a host of strong emotions both during and after the alleged act, they aren’t always part of the core issues in all cases. Anger management may only work with what’s on the surface and fail to correct the underlying problems related to the domestic abuse case. Let’s look at why anger management does not always prevent domestic violence in Las Vegas.

Why Anger Management?

Before we go further, let’s look at why anger management seems to be a go-to solution for incidents of domestic violence. As listed in some corrective service guidelines, convicted domestic violence offenders are expected to spend time in an anger management program to help deal with their emotional issues. It could either be a full-blown program in lieu of prison time, or part of the prison sentence is suspended in exchange for a house arrest and a visit to a staggered anger management course.

The intent is pretty straightforward: by learning to control their emotions, it is hoped that domestic abuse offenders will be able to better handle family problems and avoid resorting to violence in the long run. The long-term aim is to teach the offender to use other methods to deal with issues and conflicts at home.

So, Why Does It Not Work?

One of the common misconceptions about domestic violence among people not familiar with the subject is that anger alone drives domestic abusers to commit these acts. They think that by simply being able to have a handle on emotional outbursts, particularly those episodes of extreme rage and anxiety, they can minimize, if not outright avoid, a repeat of domestic abuse incidents in the future.

This belief is one of the misconceptions that domestic abuse advocates often refute. They always point out that domestic violence is not about anger, but control of another person at all levels. They insist that, for a person to really turn away from a life of domestic coercion and control, they need to stop using violent methods to influence how their partner acts and thinks. Focusing on the anger aspect does not even scratch the main point of domestic abuse in the first place.

What Really Matters

It is commendable that people want to offer solutions that they believe will help minimize the incidents of domestic abuse happening across Las Vegas in particular, and the country as a whole. Understanding how perpetrators feel and act is a decent first step, as they try to step in the person’s shoes and determine what motivates them to act in a certain way.

However, not all problems can be solved by dealing with the visible issues; there are many pertinent problems that experts need to look into deeper to get better results. They can look at things that motivate (or in this case, demotivate) alleged domestic violence offenders, and seek ways to alleviate these problems for a more long-term solution. They may even find ways to minimize false convictions for alleged domestic violence offenders along the way.

Working on anger issues for domestic violence defendants is a good start, but it doesn’t always reach into the core of the issue, and it is never the same situation for each case. Legal and psychological professionals need to work out more effective ways to reduce domestic violence cases in the future through more effective methods and education. 

Thursday, November 19, 2020

A Look Into Alcoholism and Domestic Violence

 There are many factors that are related to or can instigate domestic violence in Las Vegas. It could be stress, genuine animosity, a rough upbringing, jealousy, or any random trigger that is exclusive to the people involved. Each domestic violence case has its own story to tell, and how the circumstances come about are fairly unique.

One of the oft-quoted factors that people consider with regards to domestic violence is that the abusive partner is a raging alcoholic. While it is true that alcohol has properties that can alter a person’s behavior once enough of it gets into a person’s system, does it really have an effect on how a person behaves towards their partner? Let’s take a look into the relation between alcoholism and domestic violence.

A Look at Numbers

In the first place, why do so many people cite alcohol as a factor in domestic violence cases? It’s because it’s been recorded in multiple cases worldwide. World Health Organization records indicate that 55% of domestic abuse cases reported worldwide involved alcohol at least one way or another, mostly involving alcohol consumption prior to an instance of abuse.

On the other side of the scale, the victims themselves would often turn to alcoholism themselves to deal with the pain. Based on recorded cases, domestic abuse victims were 15 times more likely to abuse alcohol themselves after a bout of violence. Note that the number is a global average; the numbers may be higher or lower depending on the country.

How They Are Related

As stated earlier, many people automatically relate excessive alcohol ingestion to personality changes and mood swings that can lead to domestic violence. Others state that the domestic abuse factors in only when the person is truly drunk. Once they sober up, they eventually stop being abusive and may even claim no memory of the abuse in the first place.

Sobriety advocates and medical experts refute this reasoning quite regularly. They point out that alcoholism alone does not act as a trigger for domestic abuse, but is instead only one of many instigating factors for the incident. Sobering up does not always deal with the underlying issue; in some cases, alcohol is only a red herring and other factors are in play, but people may have ignored them.

Is Alcohol Really Significant?

On one end, experts argue that alcoholism is only one factor in a long list of many that can lead to domestic violence. On the other hand, national records indicate that at least 2/3s of recorded domestic abuse cases across the country involved the perpetrator drinking alcohol immediately prior to the incident. With this situation, it is understandable that people are confused about how alcoholism factors into domestic violence cases.

In the end, whether or not alcoholism and domestic abuse are totally related is determined on a case-to-case basis. It may just be an overlap of two negative aspects, or it can just be pure coincidence. It all comes down to the personal experience of the involved parties, the environment they live in, and other issues that may escalate the situation or not.

Domestic violence is a complex and intimate crime, affected by various aspects that may be unique to a case, or similar across a variety of recorded incidents. Whether or not alcohol is related to such cases will be determined in court.

Friday, November 6, 2020

Why is Circumstantial Evidence Important in Domestic Violence Cases?

 For any case that goes to trial, evidence plays a vital and decisive role in deciding the outcome. Legal testimony does not hold any weight if there is no definite evidence to back it up. Even if it is as small as an eyelash in the wrong place, it can go a long way to proving a defendant’s innocence or guilt.

However, not all crimes have a multitude of direct evidence to work with, and so involved parties will have to rely on circumstantial evidence to prove their claims. Circumstantial evidence plays a bigger part in charges like domestic violence in Las Vegas, where first-hand witnesses or on-scene evidence is often lacking. If you are facing domestic violence charges in Las Vegas for the first time, you’ll need to know why circumstantial evidence is important in domestic violence cases.

First of All, What is Circumstantial Evidence?

Circumstantial evidence is any kind of evidence that is not directly related to the alleged crime, but implies that the alleged crime took place. It could be any objects gathered from the crime scene long after the act happened, or any piece of second-hand information gathered from people near its vicinity. In some cases, it just has to be official records related to the concerned parties that can count as circumstantial evidence, like hotel check-in records, travel records, credit card payments and the like.

To take a domestic violence situation as an example, circumstantial evidence may include items like testimony and records of the time the defendant and the victim are at home, testimony from bystanders who were not directly involved with the concerned parties, and testimony from responding officers. These pieces of evidence aren’t always directly obtained from the scene itself, but if their implication of an act of domestic abuse happening is proven true, they can do much in leading to a conviction.

Why Should You Be Concerned?

As stated earlier, evidence plays a vital role in any crime; moreso if the case in question does not have any other witnesses besides the victim and the defendant. As domestic violence cases are often very intimate crimes done in the privacy of a person’s home, it can be next to impossible to find witnesses willing or able to provide credible testimony that can implicate a defendant. As such, prosecutors will often turn to circumstantial evidence to secure a conviction.

While circumstantial evidence can be inaccurate at times, many convictions in the past have hinged on a combination of these pieces of evidence to confirm a defendant’s guilt, perhaps at a higher percentage than most people believe. The Nelson Serrano case is one example where circumstantial evidence relating to business partnership disputes and money laundering would be instrumental in convicting the defendant for the murder of his business partners. The questionable financial records, as well as second-hand testimony from the relatives of the victims, formed a strong case against the defendant and led to his conviction for multiple murders. Considering how decisive circumstantial evidence was in the proceedings of this case, you can imagine how difficult it can be for your domestic violence hearing if you can’t disprove circumstantial evidence placed against you in court.

Circumstantial Evidence and You

Defending against circumstantial evidence in a domestic violence proceeding can be tricky; as stated in the previous section, it is oftentimes an intimate crime, and if you fail to account for this kind of evidence, you can be convicted on the implication that they’ve established. The natural reaction would be to gain your own set of evidence and testimony to disprove the prosecution’s claims, but you can just be as handicapped as the other party when it comes to domestic abuse cases.

The first and most important thing you must remember is to always consult with your domestic violence defense attorney. Their experience with such cases means that they will know what kind of response you can formulate to deal with such kinds of evidence; remember that despite similarities in domestic abuse charges, all cases have their inherent differences that are unique to each defendant. Never leave anything to chance; circumstantial evidence still has a high probability of being related to your case, after all.

You must never underestimate how vital circumstantial is to a domestic violence case, but you should not be intimidated by it either. As long as you have the assistance of a veteran domestic violence attorney on your side, you can be assured of getting a dismissal or a not guilty verdict for your domestic abuse case.

Thursday, October 29, 2020

How to Properly Defend Yourself When Facing a Domestic Violence Charge

 Getting tagged with a domestic violence charge in Las Vegas is a complicated thing. After all, domestic abuse stories involve a lot of emotion and drama, and that can often dictate the outcome of a trial. When tempers flare, those who let their anger get the best of them will lose their case no matter how good their legal team is.

Defending against any form of criminal charge requires a calm mind and a careful study of your situation. Your defense will lose its credibility if it falls back upon stereotypical lines that the prosecution can crack easily and effectively. If you are facing a domestic violence charge in Las Vegas, you should remember how to properly defend yourself with some of these suggestions.

Avoid the Emotional Appeal

One of the common tactics used to deflect a domestic violence charge is to show that it is not in the defendant’s nature to abuse their partner. They will try to show that they are a nice guy, and if they do commit violence, it is only because the other party has gone too far. Conversely, there are instances where the defendant would focus on denigrating the personality of the alleged victim in an attempt to weaken their case. They will attempt to paint the alleged victim as some sort of manipulator or consummate liar and that the defendant is only being framed.

These kinds of defense claims rely too much on emotional appeal and can easily be cracked by a well-versed prosecution team. If you are going to trial for a domestic violence charge for the first time, avoid focusing on personality issues and look at the bigger picture. You must always focus on facts first and foremost; if you still insist on calling the alleged victim duplicative, you must have solid evidence to back it up.

Gather a Pool of Reliable Evidence

As in any other criminal trial, the evidence is the lynchpin on which your entire defense is leaning on. If you can’t prove that there was no intent to abuse the alleged victim, or that the act was done only in self-defense, your chances of winning a dismissal or not-guilty verdict are slim. As stated earlier, avoid dealing directly with the alleged victim and direct your efforts on obtaining compelling evidence for your case, which may include:

  • Testimony from other people in the vicinity of the alleged crime scene

  • Materials and footage pertaining to the alleged crime

  • Expert testimony from independent parties, like doctors, psychologists, and possibly investigators

  • Medical and psychological history records (where applicable)

So long as you have the appropriate evidence, you can establish a strong case that will be hard for the prosecution to assail.

Always Communicate with Your Attorney

Unless you’ve chosen to stand for yourself in trial, your defense attorney is your primary mouthpiece to help you get your side of the case to the court and the jury. He represents your best interests in the trial, and thus will work tirelessly to ensure that you get a dismissal or at least a reduced sentence. However, he cannot do the job alone; unless you provide input where needed, he can establish a strong case for you at all.

The primary rule when facing a criminal charge is to always talk with your lawyer. Besides knowing the ins and outs of the Las Vegas criminal system, they can also establish a strong defense for you once they’ve pieced together all the available information you can provide to him. Never forget to be thorough, detailed, and comprehensive when retelling your side of the case to your attorney; not only will they need it to build your case, they might be able to find pieces in your testimony that you yourself might have missed.

Defending against domestic violence charges can be a chore, but with an objective mindset, a strong case, and a reliable Las Vegas defense attorney, you are assured that your trial will go smoothly. Never forget these tenets, and you are sure to pull through.

Thursday, October 22, 2020

A Look at Domestic Violence During Thanksgiving

 Everyone looks forward to holidays, especially if they’re extended ones. They offer a chance to unwind, sit back, and enjoy a good rest away from work or school, celebrating with family and friends. With Thanksgiving just a few weeks away, people are especially anxious to get down with the festivities.

While Thanksgiving is a time of relaxation and celebration, it can be surprising how much of a dark side it has. Stories of increased DUI incidents and the typical family brawls abound, but in recent years there has been an increasing amount of reports regarding domestic violence incidents over the Thanksgiving weekend. Why is this the case?

A Look at Holiday DV Numbers

Domestic abuse is oftentimes an intimate kind of crime, happening behind closed doors in the privacy of the perpetrator and the victim’s home. People may wonder how such incidents can still be prevalent on such major holidays like Thanksgiving, where large family gatherings are prevalent and there are so many people in the house. However, such situations can be pretty deceiving to an outside viewer.

To give you more context, data from a 2014 report collating domestic violence hotline call records between 2004 and 2013 saw an average of 570 calls made from Thanksgiving until right after Christmas. While lower than the 675 daily average recorded for the same time period, it was still a significant number to consider for holiday periods in general. Another point to consider is that the number of calls were highest a few days after the vacation period.

Why It’s Becoming Prevalent

Holidays are supposed to be a period of relaxation and letting loose. However, different people have different perspectives for this sentiment. If you’re the one hosting the thanksgiving party, you’ll have a hard time preparing for the event itself. If you’re an abuser, you’ll probably have more triggers to commit violence on your partner during the holidays.

One of the commonly-reported triggers for an increase in domestic violence appears to be for the abuser to spend more time at home with the victim than at other times of the year, where they can attack the victim behind the backs of all their relatives. Other common factors include increased alcohol intake due to the lack of work and presence of more friends, and the mounting stress of dealing with too many people over an extended period. 

Providing Support During the Holidays

Even during Thanksgiving, public and private domestic violence advocates still provide assistance to victims in a variety of ways. The availability of emergency hotlines even during the breaks is just one of many methods that victims can seek assistance. However, other services may have to be extended to fully assist victims and/or their affected relatives.

The National Resource Center for Domestic Violence advocates for more intensive support when dealing with domestic abuse during the holidays. Understanding the prevalence of Thanksgiving family abuse, they have pushed for more intensive assistance from professionals, including extra periods of respite at shelters, extended therapeutic sessions with victims, and safety planning for especially vulnerable individuals. With a growing trend in partners spending the Thanksgiving holiday on their own, the Center is concerned about the possible increase in victims who have limited access to relatives who can shelter and support them.

As you enjoy the coming Thanksgiving, be wary about the possible incidents of domestic violence around you.

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Review: What the Prosecution Needs to Get a DUI Conviction in Las Vegas

 In all criminal cases, it is the prosecutor’s job to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty of the crime he or she is charged with. It is the prosecution’s job to determine probable cause, properly reconstruct the act, find evidence in support of their theories, and persuade the court that the defendant has done the crime for the reason that they’ve stated using the methods they’ve laid out. This principle is known as the ‘burden of proof’ , and is the primary driving force behind the prosecutor’s job.

DUI cases in Las Vegas are no different. It is the prosecution’s job to prove that you were intoxicated while you were driving, and/or your inebriated driving caused you to commit another criminal act. There are many factors that prosecutors look into to ensure your guilt. For now, let’s review a few of the more common factors that the prosecution needs to get a dui conviction in Las Vegas.

The Driving Factor

DUI charges are motorist-centric crimes; you can’t pin a drunk driving charge on somebody if they’re not at the wheel of the vehicle during the act, after all. This is one of the first aspects that the prosecution will look into and confirm with the arresting officer. They can also look at other witnesses who can attest to whether or not the defendant was driving first and foremost, before they look into whether or not the defendant was drunk at the time.

This may seem straightforward, but it does not apply to all cases. For instance, the defendant may have been involved in an alleged DUI collision, and law enforcement may only be arriving to respond and have not witnessed the act firsthand. There may or may not be other witnesses at the time of the act as well, which leaves only two alternatives: the defendant admits they were driving, or the prosecution finds circumstantial evidence that proves it. For most DUI cases where no first-hand witnesses are available, the prosecution would look for circumstantial evidence like the defendant’s proximity to/location in the vehicle, the presence of car keys, the state of the engine at the time of the arrest, the defendant’s state of wakefulness, and so on.

The Roadway Factor

One of the deciding factors that commences a DUI trial is the location of the act; it is the prosecution’s job to prove that the drunk driving incident happened on a public road. It is listed in the Nevada Revised Statutes as a prerequisite for a DUI charge. You might notice that most drunk driving incidents that go to trial happened on highways, interstate roads, and city routes.

However, you must be wary about using this aspect to defend yourself against a drunk driving conviction. Note that the actual wording for this statute is ‘a road on which the public has access’. This means that, as long as most people can use the roadway freely, it counts as a ‘road with public access’. This means that even private parkways in exclusive residential areas can still be considered as public roads, and there is a chance that getting arrested there will open you up to a DUI conviction. 

The Intoxication Factor

Above all else, the prosecution must prove that the defendant was inebriated during the alleged instance of the act to get their conviction. This often involves citing data from blood and breathalyzer tests taken during or after the arrest. Remember that the defendant’s blood alcohol content should only breach the 0.08 limit to increase the chances of, if not outright lead to, a criminal conviction.

What if the tests were taken after the alleged act of drunk driving? In such situations, the prosecution would conduct a retrograde extrapolation: tracking back using inferences from the delated BAC test and circumstantial evidence to assess how much alcohol the defendant still had in his or her body during the instance of the crime. In many other instances, expert witnesses are also called in to elaborate on the findings and prove that they are accurate even if they were not taken immediately.

DUI charges in Las Vegas are complex, and can involve many other factors that can land you in prison for a long time. However, if you understand these aspects and know how to defend agaisnt them, you are sure to get a not guilty verdict, or an outright dismissal. Never forget to consult with a veteran criminal defense attorney in Las Vegas before tackling a DUI complaint.

Friday, October 9, 2020

On Public Defenders for DUI in Las Vegas

 When a person is being arrested in Las Vegas, the arresting officer is required to explain the defendant’s Miranda Rights during the process so they can understand what rights they have while in custody. Among these rights is the access to be appointed with an attorney if they wish to, or are unable to afford their own legal representation. They are often referred to as public defenders, and they are provided for by state or federal courts to handle defense duties for the individual.

On paper, a public defender is a decent alternative to private firms because the defendant does not need to spend much to avail of their services. However, not many are satisfied with their representation, especially for specific crimes like homicide, drug crimes, and domestic violence. Let’s look a little more on why there’s little trust for public defenders for crimes like DUI in Las Vegas.

Understanding the Public Defender

Simply put, a public defender is an attorney fully employed by state or Federal governments to provide legal representation for defendants who cannot afford a private lawyer and do not wish to speak about their case without representation. They often have fixed salaries depending on several factors, like how public defenders are classified in their jurisdiction, how long they’ve been in the service, and so on. Public defenders can often be hired three to four years out of law school; some veteran defense attorneys spent their formative years in the public defender work prior to establishing their own practices or firms.

One thing that people must realize is that gaining a public defender is not automatic like what is often depicted in fiction. One has to formally request the court to provide them with a public defender first; afterwards, the authorities will have to determine if the defendant is truly indigent before the request can be considered and approved. Note that in the case of Clark County, public defenders are paid a fixed fee, as instructed by the court and depending on the results of the case.

Why The Distrust?

Public defenders are generally reliable in their work, and many can boast years of experience handling a wide variety of crimes. However, many people who have had to go through legal proceedings with a public attorney have less-than-flattering things to say about their experience. Complaints about limited communication outside of hearings, rushing to close a plea deal, and frequent mistakes during the trial are fairly common. Some extreme cases even accuse their assigned attorney of colluding with the court to get the worst plea deal for their case.

What many people do not realize is that there is a logical reason behind the rather haphazard way public defenders handle cases: they are overworked and underpaid. Clark County’s public attorney’s office may have a sizable staff but they are still inundated with hundreds of requests for representation daily. A single lawyer may be required to face a hundred clients a day, leaving them little time to fully discuss each of their cases. Going straight for the plea deal is often their way of reducing their workload so they can focus on major charges that need serious help.

The Public DUI Defender and You

DUI crimes in Las Vegas abound almost a dime a dozen. With how many DUI charges go to trial every day, it is only natural that there will be a number of defendants who cannot afford the full services of a private practice and will have to rely on a public defender to see their case through. Considering their reputation as stated in the previous section, some of these defendants may be hesitant to sign up for a public defender.

Public defenders are not bad if they are standing on their own merits; after all, many of these attorneys have handled complicated cases in the past and may have even won convincing dismissals. However, with the kind of burdens they have to juggle on a regular basis, especially for specialized charges like DUI, you might be asking yourself if it is really worth it to work with an attorney that may be handling 50 other clients besides you on the same day. If you are facing a Las Vegas DUI charge and are considering a public defender, you must ask yourself a few questions before proceeding:

  1. Is my DUI charge severe enough that I need full-time representation?

  2. Do I understand the implications of my charge, or does my potential lawyer still need to explain things to me?

  3. Can I avoid spending more of my limited money if I go with a public defender?

  4. Is a plea deal an acceptable alternative to a DUI conviction for my case?

If you answer ‘no’ to at least one of these questions, you might need to consider going with a private DUI attorney instead, even if it might cost you beyond your current financial capability.

Public defenders are admirable because of their selflessness, devotion to duty, and experience; they just get a bad reputation because of the demands of their position as public officials. They can be relied upon to handle your Las Vegas DUI case as much as any other attorney if you put your trust in them. In the end, it is still up to you to determine which DUI defense lawyer you will work with.