If you pay close attention, you will note and see that the entertainment industry and its professionals rub shoulders, quite often, with the legal system. With music, it seems the industry “kicks it” with the criminal justice system, often. Money, power, sex, drugs, rock and roll. Hey, don’t look at me. It is what it is. My job is to fix it, as best as I can, if it knocks on my door.
So, the news of interest to me is that of Chris Brown who just completed his Domestic Violence (DV) classes. Brown got his certificate, is proud of it and tweeted about it.
DV cases are interesting. If you are prosecutor minded, you probably have the mentality that says “if you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime.” True for the most part. But, of course, as an attorney who has defended a fair amount of criminal clients, I respectfully disagree. There are two sides to every story and indeed facts that seem to hold well fall apart when you poke and shake them up a bit.
We all know some men do hit women and of course all agree it is unacceptable. But, what I have seen over time is some women do hit men too, only they seem to get away with it, often. What do I mean?
Common scenario today: girlfriend & boyfriend, husband and wife are at crossroads in their relationship. They argue a lot about the kids, job, ex’es etc. One day, wife/girlfriend becomes aggressive and begins hitting husband/boyfriend with anything and everything in sight. Boyfriend/husband tries to defend self. In the process, he injures wife/girlfriend. What happens? Neighbors, wife/girlfriend call the cops. Cops show up. What does girlfriend/wife say? “He hit me.” What do cops do? Who do they arrest? Overwhelmingly, the boyfriend/husband.
In Brown’s case, did he hit Rihanna? By his own admission, he says he did. So that is a moot issue. Was it out of self defense? Was he the initial aggressor? Those facts are murky and one we haven’t really heard Brown address. But, that point is also moot since he pled guilty to a Felony Assault charge.
For our purpose, if you are in a domestic violence situation and have been accused of committing a crime you did not do or acted in self defense, contact a criminal defense attorney ASAP. The cops are not your friends. Get a lawyer before you say anything. If you are in California, the typical statute that you would be charged under for DV is Penal Code Section 243(e)(1). Below is what the statute says that I have tried to parse out to show its broad application on who is included:
California Penal Code (243)(e) (1): When a battery is committed against a spouse, a person with whom the defendant is cohabiting, a person who is the parent of the defendant’s child, former spouse, fiancé,
OR a person with whom the defendant currently has,
OR has previously had, a dating
OR engagement relationship, the battery is punishable by a fine not exceeding two thousand dollars ($2,000),
OR by imprisonment in a county jail for a period of not more than one year,
OR by both that fine and imprisonment.”
There’s a lot more to this that is better discussed with you and your attorney.
Stay out of trouble!