Domestic Violence and Your Domicile
A domestic violence conviction can turn your life upside down. It can cost you money, time, and freedom. In conjunction with a domestic violence conviction, a judge can issue a restraining order against the defendant. Restraining order is a general term; there are actually several different types of orders that restrain a person from a victim. Restraining orders can have many different effects on the defendant, one of the most life altering of which is being kicked out of the home.
An Order to Stay Away
In a criminal domestic violence case, the judge will typically issue a criminal protective order to protect the victim during the case and up to three years after. Criminal protective orders are also called “stay-away orders” because they require the restrained person to stay away from the victim for the duration of the order. If the defendant and the victim still live together, this means the defendant or victim will have to move out in order to comply with the order. Who moves out is not necessarily up to the court to decide; if the victim wants to move out, he or she is permitted to do so. If the defendant doesn't want to move out, however, law enforcement can actually remove the defendant from the home.
Who Lives Where?
This presents many problems, not least of which is housing. After a domestic violence conviction, it may be more difficult for the defendant to find housing. This also begs the question of who is responsible for the home (whether it is owned or rented), and who pays the bills to maintain the home. When the defendant and the victim are not married, it can difficult to figure out who is responsible for what. These matters are separate from the criminal case. If the victim wishes, he or she can ask the family court for a civil restraining order as well. The judge who issues the order can order the defendant to pay spousal support to the victim and pay certain bills to maintain the home or pay for living expenses.
Civil Restraining Orders vs. Criminal Protective Orders
Civil restraining orders and criminal protective order are not the same. They may have different conditions and durations. Criminal protective orders can, however, require the defendant pay child support in certain circumstances, but the victim will have to ask a family court for any more legal protections of that nature.
Dealing with the prospect of being kicked out of your own home after a domestic violence conviction is frustrating, especially if you feel you were wrongfully convicted. But the good news is you do have some rights. If the judge issues a criminal protective order and you have to move out of your home, you can work with law enforcement to arrange a time when you can go to the home while the victim is away to retrieve your belongings. You also have a right to visit with your child, but the visitations may be supervised and held at a facility where you will have no contact with the victim. These are just two very important rights you can exercise if you are in this situation.
A domestic violence conviction will take away many of your rights and leave you with little recourse to fight back. You can be prohibited from entering your home if you live with the victim. Fortunately, there are defenses that you can raise in a domestic violence case that could result in the charge being reduced to a crime that does not involve domestic violence. This is an important distinction that could save you from being kicked out of your home. Speak with an experienced domestic violence defense attorney if you are facing domestic violence charges. An attorney can help you understand what your charges mean and what could happen if you are convicted. Then, your attorney can help you craft a strategic defense to your charges.
Are you facing domestic violence charges? Contact attorney Christopher Martens and his team for legal help in Tulare, Fresno or Kings County. Specializing in domestic violence defense, Mr. Martens can take immediate action in your case to defend your rights and your freedom. With over ten years experience in criminal defense, Attorney Martens has taken over 50 cases to trial and will not be afraid to do the same for you. Call our Visalia or Hanford, CA offices at 559-967-7386 or email us at [email protected] for a free consultation.