July 11, 2022 By WK MKT

AB 2391: Domestic Violence Bill Limits Abusers 

This month, a new state bill has been signed into law in California, limiting the legal power that domestic abusers have on their victims. Assembly Bill 2391 was passed by the California State Senate and Assembly and was approved by Governor Gavin Newsom. It prevents abusers who are currently under a restraining order from filing baseless lawsuits in order to stay in contact with the victim. 

Specifically, the text of the bill states that a person protected by a restraining order may file a petition to have the person who is the subject of that order declared a vexatious litigant. In legal terms, a vexatious litigant is one who knows that no legal basis exists for a lawsuit yet proceeds anyway in order to annoy, frighten, or cause legal expenses to the defendant. This applies when the subject of the restraining order commences, prosecutes, or maintains litigation against the protected person in a way that is determined to be meritless and causes the protected person to be harassed or intimidated. Under existing law, a vexatious litigant must first obtain a presiding judge’s approval before filing a lawsuit. The filing may only occur under specified circumstances, and the presiding judge may condition the filing upon the furnishing of security.

The goal of this new bill is to stop domestic violence victims from being harassed by abusers taking advantage of the legal system. State Assemblyman Jordan Cunningham has expressed his support for the bill, stating that abusers will use any tool at their disposal to continue to harass and intimidate their victims, and abusers with resources can exploit the court system and file meritless lawsuits in order to force their victims to continue to appear. AB 2391 will go into effect on January 1, 2023, hopefully providing victims further relief from their abusers. 

What Should I Do If I’ve Been Falsely Accused of Domestic Violence? 

Although laws should be designed to protect domestic abuse victims and vulnerable populations, false domestic violence allegations are more common than many may think. With the passing of this new bill, those who have been falsely accused of domestic violence may have a more difficult time getting justice in the legal system. If you have been accused of domestic violence, there are certain steps you should take in order to protect yourself. 

First, when you find out that someone has made an allegation against you, you may be tempted to try to contact the accuser out of confusion or anger. This is unwise, though, as law enforcement might interpret it as an effort to coerce the accuser. If the alleged victim seeks a restraining order against you, it is crucial that you refrain from communicating or making contact with those listed on the order. Following the rules and maintaining peace will demonstrate to a judge that the allegations against you are suspect, and your lawyer will have an easier time proving your innocence. 

In addition, you can begin gathering proof of your innocence right away. Gather any evidence that may help exonerate you, such as emails, texts, or photographs that support your claim. Note down any names, times, or locations that are pertinent. In court, you will also need character witnesses like family members or neighbors to vouch for you. You can start contacting these witnesses to ask whether they would be willing to offer a statement of support.

The most crucial step, perhaps, is to retain a knowledgeable defense attorney as soon as you suspect that someone has accused you of domestic violence. The sooner you retain a lawyer, the more effective your lawyer will be. Avoid speaking with the police or providing any evidence without counsel present. Until your attorney tells you it’s okay to speak on the matter, exercise your right to silence as anything you say can be used against you later. 

Contact Wallin & Klarich Today 

If you have been accused of domestic violence, contact Wallin & Klarich as soon as possible to see how we can help clear your name and restore your freedom. With 40+ years of experience, Wallin & Klarich is the best choice amongst Southern California criminal defense firms. Our attorneys have helped thousands of clients in family law cases, and we guarantee a safe and judgment-free environment to discuss your case. You can place your trust in us. 

With offices in Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Victorville, Torrance, West Covina, Los Angeles, and San Diego, you are sure to find an available and convenient attorney near you. 

Discover how our team can assist you. Contact us today, toll-free at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free consultation with a skilled defense attorney.

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