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Appleton Domestic Violence Lawyer

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Domestic violence is defined as any violent or aggressive behavior toward a member of one’s household, particularly an intimate partner. Many different behaviors can be considered domestic abuse, from physical harm to emotional and psychological manipulation. In Appleton, Harbor House operates a shelter for victims of domestic violence.

When one partner in a relationship uses fear, physical force, manipulation, or restricted access to money and other resources to control the other partner’s actions, he or she is committing domestic violence. Domestic violence can be physical, emotional, sexual, psychological, or financial. If you think you are experiencing domestic violence in your marriage, get out now and go to a domestic violence shelter. In the Neenah, Wisconsin area, Christine Ann Domestic Abuse Services, Inc. is a shelter that welcomes victims fleeing violent households. Other shelters in the region can be found on endabusewi.org.

Domestic violence is also a criminal offense. If you have been charged with domestic violence, you can face life-altering penalties and a stigma for the rest of your life. Do not assume that a domestic violence charge is “no big deal” – it is a big deal and if you are facing one, you should start working on your defense with an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible.

Recognizing Domestic Violence in Appleton

At its core, domestic violence is about control. An individual might use one or more tactic to control his or her partner for his or her own benefit. A component that is present in nearly all cases of domestic violence is isolation of the victim. If your partner discourages you from having relationships with your family and friends, you could be in an abusive relationship.

Types of Domestic Violence

There are five forms of domestic violence: physical, emotional, psychological, sexual, and financial. Each can erode a victim’s physical and mental health over time, forcing him or her to become dependent on the abuser.

  • Physical abuse involves physical harm to the victim. This can involve hitting, kicking, slapping, and shoving as well as physical harm through restricting the victim’s diet or keeping him or her from accessing medical care;
  • Emotional abuse involves the use of manipulation tactics to render the victim emotionally dependent on the abuser. Withholding affection unless the victim complies with the abuser’s wishes, destroying the victim’s belongings as punishments, and humiliating the victim are all forms of emotional abuse;
  • Psychological abuse is similar to emotional abuse, but manipulates the victim’s sense of self-worth and mental health rather than solely his or her emotional state. Examples of this involve gaslighting, the manipulation of the victim’s ability to trust his or her memory or perception, and cutting down the victim’s self esteem through insults and ridicule;
  • Sexual abuse, which is any unwanted sexual contact with the abuser. Sexual abuse can also include sabotaging the victim’s birth control to have a child without his or her consent; and
  • Financial abuse is the control of the victim by restricting his or her access to money. This can be done directly, by dictating how he or she spends money, or indirectly by prohibiting him or her from working or attending school.

Penalties for Domestic Violence

Many cases of domestic violence are charged as battery in Wisconsin, which can have a penalty of a fine of up to $10,000. It can also result in jail time, the length of which depends on whether the individual is convicted of a misdemeanor or felony-level battery.

In addition to the penalties for battery, an individual may be required to pay a $100 Domestic Violence Fee to the state.

Many domestic violence victims file restraining orders against their abusers. Violating a restraining order can also have steep penalties, including a fine of up to $1,000 and up to nine months in jail. If an individual is considered to be a repeat offender, he or she can face steeper penalties than a first time offender.

Defenses Against a Domestic Violence Charge

Domestic violence charges are often based solely on the victim’s testimony. Sometimes, the victim has medical evidence to support his or her claim. To defend your case against a domestic violence charge, you must use available evidence to demonstrate that you are not guilty of domestic violence. You can demonstrate any of the following:

  • That the victim’s claim is false and you were not involved in the injury-causing incident at all;
  • That you did put your hands on the victim, but this was either in self defense or in the defense of a child or other individual who could not defend him- or herself; or
  • That your constitutional rights were violated by the victim in an attempt to gather evidence to support his or her claim.

Your lawyer can help you make use of the available evidence to support your counterclaim. He or she can also examine the other party’s evidence to support their accusation of domestic violence to determine if it is sufficient to prove their claim. The claimant has the burden of proof in a domestic violence claim, which means that he or she must be able to prove beyond reasonable doubt that you are guilty.

Work with an Appleton Divorce Attorney

If you are a victim of domestic violence in your marriage, you need to leave the marriage immediately. Form a plan to leave and reach shelter safely, then begin the process of divorcing your spouse by speaking with an experienced Appleton family law attorney. Our family and OWI lawyers at Hammett, Bellin & Oswald, LLC can help you get out of your abusive marriage and move forward with your life. Contact Appleton criminal defense attorneys and family lawyers today to schedule your initial legal consultation with a member of our firm.

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Neenah Office 675 Deerwood Avenue Neenah, WI 54956 (920) 720-0000

Appleton Office 4650 W. Spencer Street Appleton, WI 54914 (920) 720-6389