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Domestic Violence Issues During a Pandemic

As people are stuck in quarantine in close quarters with their families for extended periods of time, one ugly downside can be the emergence or reappearance of domestic or spousal abuse.

If the police are called out to a residence with allegations of violence, they will typically attempt to speak to both sides and any witnesses on scene. They will also look for any physical injuries and possibly take pictures or video of those injuries.

If you are the subject of an investigation, you always have right to remain silent. If you are, however, facing false allegations and remain silent, the only story the police will hear is the other side. Anything you say will likely be recorded on body camera, so you must be careful if you choose to speak to the police.

The most common criminal charges that stem from domestic violence or alleged domestic violence are: disorderly conduct, public drunkenness, simple battery, battery, simple assault, aggravated assault, aggravated battery, or terroristic threats.

If someone is arrested for one or more of these charges, the first issue is whether they are granted a bond and determining the conditions of that bond. In Georgia, any misdemeanor charge is entitled to a bond as a matter of law, but bond is not guaranteed for felony charges.

One of the biggest issues if a bond is granted is a matter of who that person is allowed to contact. If a husband is released from jail on a bond, but is not allowed to have contact with his wife, he might have to find a new place to live or stay with family or friends until the case is resolved. The court might also impose attendance of family violence classes as a condition of bond, or that the person not possess any weapons or firearms. If a bond order is violated, the court can revoke that person's bond and hold them in jail until their case is resolved.

When the case proceeds to court, it will ultimately result in a diversion program, a dismissal, a guilty plea to the original or a reduced charge, or a jury trial.

For victims of domestic violence, they can seek a Family Violence Protective Order in Superior Court in the county of residence of persons who the court believes has or will commit acts of family violence against the petitioner seeking the order. An "ex parte order" for no contact can be put in to place for 30 days while the alleged abuser is personally served with notice of a hearing. But the alleged abuser is entitled to a hearing to challenge the imposition of a protective order. One other safety measure is to temporarily live with other family members, or seek the services of a non-profit domestic violence shelter. There are multiple non-profit shelters for domestic violence victims in the metro Atlanta area.

If you are charged with a crime related to domestic violence, or believe you are a victim of domestic violence, feel free to contact Kyle Jarzmik.