February 6, 2009 By Wallin & Klarich


Image for Workplace Violence Restraining OrderEmotional abuse is any behavior that helps the abuser emotionally dominate and control the victim. It includes, but is not limited to:

  • Frequent put-downs
  • Constant criticism
  • Threats
  • Harassment
  • Stalking
  • Unreasonable restrictions on the victim’s freedom

Emotional abuse is not itself a crime in California, but our state criminal law does recognize it as an effect of physical and verbal abuse and neglect (e.g., “battered spouse syndrome”). In fact, emotional abuse can be easier to spot than physical abuse. Social workers and others charged with watching for abuse in families look for emotional symptoms like withdrawn behavior, depression, frequent anger, skittishness, picking fights, substance abuse, eating disorders and other self-abuse. In children, this can include frequent “acting out.”

Accusations of emotional abuse frequently go hand-in-hand with physical abuse and/or sexual abuse charges. However, you can be charged with stalking without any accusation of violence so long as you are accused of behavior that puts victims in reasonable fear for their own safety or the safety of their families. That includes victims who are related to you or have had a romantic relationship with you. California takes stalking very seriously. It can be charged as a felony, and it will be if the stalking violates a restraining order or protective order. If you are convicted of felony stalking, you may be required to register as a sex offender for the rest of your life.

Even more than other forms of abuse, emotional abuse is hard to prove. Law enforcement officers may claim they know it when they see it, but in a court of law, they have to prove that claim — and proving your state of mind is not easy. At Wallin & Klarich, we will do everything we can to make officers live up to that requirement. For example, we can show that the accuser’s fear was not reasonable, or that the emotional effects of the alleged abuse are a result of something else in the accuser’s life.

Call the Criminal Defense Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich

At Wallin & Klarich, we believe everyone accused of a crime is entitled to a thorough and aggressive defense, no matter what the charge. Over more than three decades of practicing law, we’re proud to say that we have successfully defended thousands of Californians from serious criminal charges. We understand how upsetting a criminal charge can be for our clients and their loved ones, so we make sure we are always reachable by telephone — 24 hours a day, seven days a week and every day of the year. And we maintain more than 20 offices from San Diego to Ventura to Victorville, so we can be wherever you need us most.

With offices in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Tustin, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, there is an experienced Wallin & Klarich criminal defense attorney near you no matter where you work or live.

Call us today at (888) 280-6839 for a free phone consultation. We will be there when you call.

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