The Role Of Social Media In Regards To Domestic Violence Cases

Interviewer: During an ongoing case of domestic violence, how does social media come into play?

Brett Hollett: Social media can become a focal point of the prosecution or defense of your case. You know fortunately or unfortunately, depending on who you speak with about it, we now use social media in almost everything we do. People post photos, thoughts and entries about their daily activities all over the internet or through text messages. That information is now out there for the world to see and oftentimes people do not realize how that information may be used against them. A lot of people say stupid things and put stupid things on the internet that may help or hurt your case. If you have a pending case, I tell all of my clients to stay off social media and especially refrain from talking about the case or talking about anything or anybody that relates to the case.

The Penalties For Violating a Protective Order in a Domestic Violence Case

Interviewer: What happens if I do contact because say my former spouse was trying to contact me and I do establish contact and then she reports that? What are the penalties that I might be facing on that?

Brett Hollett: Violating a protective order is a new class A misdemeanor offense. If you are subject to protective order and then violate by committing DV 3 (harassment or harassing communications as you described by contacting the victim) your bond may be revoked and you must serve a minimum of 30 days in jail. If you are subject to a protective order and then violate said order by committing DV 1 or DV 2 the minimum prison term is doubled.

Enhanced Penalties for Repeat Offenders In Domestic Violence Cases

Interviewer: At what point will they turn it to a felony and how many times would it take for someone to be charged with a felony?

Brett Hollett: Well, it’s really about the seriousness of the offense more so than the repetitiveness of the offense. Obviously they can face additional hardship punishments under the law meaning that instead of low end of the range of punishment the judge can sentence them to maximum time allowed. If it’s your second or third charge, the DA or the prosecutor may not be willing to offer a plea deal that including punishments at that lower end of the sentencing range. The DA may request the defendant spend more time in jail.

The Major Differences Between Stalking and Domestic Violence Charges

Interviewer: What are some of the main major difference between stalking charges and domestic violence charges? I mean what does a stalking charge first involve? What justifies a stalking charge?

Brett Hollett: I mean it’s going to be the intentional harassment, following of another person with the intent to place that person in fear of either death or serious bodily harm. And then, domestic violence — misdemeanor charge is domestic violence which is the third degree. It’s going to be a little less, it’s either going to be the lesser assault or just menacing her or simple harassment to a partner but stalking also doesn’t have the other prong of a dating relationship or a spousal relationship. You can stalk anybody and you could be charged with stalking. Now, you could not be charged with domestic violence if the person was just a stranger on the street and if you’re harassing them or even if you assaulted them, you’ll just be charged with assault and you wouldn’t be charged with domestic violence.

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