Husbands and wives, boyfriends and girlfriends, have arguments. Does that now mean, or justify, a trip to jail and a criminal conviction with lifetime penalties?
Human beings make mistakes, cause accidents, and act immaturely at times. Everyone has past conduct they wish could be taken back. Part of being human is sometimes hurting those loved the most. The absurdity is to classify a single, out-of-character, nonviolent act as “criminal.”
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For instance, it is not domestic violence to:
- Yell and scream at our girlfriend, spouse, or another household member, even if the neighbors hear it;
- Use profanity during an argument with a girlfriend, spouse, or household member;
- Engage in minor pushing incidents with a girlfriend, spouse, or household member;
- Engage in consensual sex that may be loud or rough, e.g., see The Joy of Sex;
- Engage in horseplay, wrestling matches, and pillow fights or similar mock combat even if accidents result;
- Hold the arm or hand of a girlfriend, spouse, or household member while arguing;
- Restrain an intimate partner to prevent them from hurting themselves or another family member;
- Momentarily block the path of a girlfriend, spouse, or household member;
- Throw and break items during an argument, or engage in consensual S&M;
- Awake violently from a nightmare, or react violently when someone awakens you suddenly;
- Say hurtful and mean things to a girlfriend, spouse, or household member;
- Use self defense to stop a girlfriend, spouse, or household member from attacking you; or
- Serve or have served in the Armed Forces of the United States, nor is such service a reasonable basis for “fear” in a rational and sane individual.
With “Zero Tolerance” arrest policies and “No Drop” prosecutions, the number of arrests for petty family arguments has skyrocketed. A former prosecuting attorney explains the phenomena:
“Christopher Pagan, who was until recently a prosecutor in Hamilton County, Ohio, estimates that due to a 1994 state law requiring police on a domestic call either to make an arrest or to file a report explaining why a no arrest was made,“domestics ” went from 10 percent to 40 percent of his docket. But, he suggests, that doesn’t mean actual abusers were coming to his attention more often. “We started getting a lot of push-and-shoves,” says Pagan, “or even yelling matches. ” In the past, police officers would intervene and separate the parties to let them cool off. Now those cases end up in criminal courts. It’s exacerbating tensions between the parties, and it’s turning law-abiding middle class citizens into criminals.” Cathy Young, Domestic Violations, Reason Magazine, February 1998
If you are facing allegations of Domestic Violence the time to act is now! Contact the Domestic Violence Defense Team at Dunham & Jones, Attorneys at Law.