A guest blog post from Stephen Palmer, criminal defense attorney and owner and partner of Yavitch & Palmer Co., L.P.A.
Crime, generally speaking, is based on excess. Most people who find their way to a criminal defense attorney haven’t stolen a loaf of bread to feed their families.
Actually, it’s often a behavior tied to indulgence. Perhaps spurred by one too many beers at golf, while chasing the next high, or, maybe, out of pure greed.
Criminal behavior can also result from stressful situations. And an Ohio family law case, whether it involve divorce, a custody dispute or both, are breeding grounds for criminal trouble.
After almost 18 years representing folks charged with crime, we’ve seen almost everything, and we can safely say the following list of divorce-related problems emerge repeatedly. Don’t let them happen to your family.
Sure, everyone drinks from time to time. And we are all susceptible of getting caught driving under the influence.
But the truth is simple: the more people drink and drive, the more likely it is that they will get caught and charged with OVI.
Of course, there are the high-risk seasons and events, such as summer cookouts and St. Patrick’s Day. But, frequently, we hear our clients reason with, “I’m going through a divorce…”
Divorce is hard, stressful, draining, and it’s no surprise that people often turn to booze to medicate through the pain. They go out to bars, looking for a distraction, some company, anything to get away from the memories.
Next thing they know, they’re behind the wheel with a police officer’s lights behind them. The cops might be empathetic, but an OVI is inevitable—and often negatively impacts the long-term relationship with your children.
A pending divorce and domestic violence case can often go hand-in-hand.
Again, stress is high, booze is typical, and a physical fight ensues.
Domestic violence is a simple assault on a “family or household member,” including ex-spouses and soon-to-be ex-spouses. Doesn’t take much.
Even scarier is that “domestic violence” doesn’t require proven harm. A simple push means someone’s in jail. What better way at revenge.
But, a criminal charge could mean your spouse might never spend time with the kids again. Remember what’s at stake.
Picture this: a child is the subject of a nasty custody dispute. Mom hates Dad because he had an affair. Their 5-year-old child is in the middle of it all, with Mom telling her to hate Dad and Dad saying the opposite.
Burden and anguish piles on the child, growing susceptible to “suggestivity,” or the idea that the “truth” can be altered directly and indirectly by suggestive behaviors of a parent.
So, if Mom asks her child, in a particularly suggestive way, how she got a bruise on her ribs, the child might answer exactly what she thinks Mom wants to hear—that Dad did it.
Realistically, Dad could have done it accidentally, like when Dad was teaching her how to ride a bike. But, Mom doesn’t “want” to hear that. Mom wants reason to make Dad the bad guy.
Next, Mom interviews with her child, guilting her into spewing the worst: Dad is an abuser.
False allegations happen, and they happen often with divorce in the background. While you might despise your child’s father now, lying to keep them a part is not always in the best interest of your child.
Divorce can be the lowest, darkest part of someone’s life, but criminal behavior can send your life spiraling deeper.
At all costs, avoid that humbling trip to the criminal lawyer. Instead, visit a therapist, seek advice from your attorney, exercise at the gym, explore outdoors and fish, practice yoga.
Sometimes easier said than done, right? If you find yourself in unavoidable trouble, look to your Ohio family law practice for a referral to a partnering criminal defense attorney, navigating both criminal and domestic minefields together.
The qualified representation of Yavitch & Palmer collaborates with your Ohio family law attorneys at Babbitt & Dahlberg. We’ll listen to your side of the story, determine if you’re eligible for expungement and help bring your child home.
Stephen Palmer has more than 15 years of experience as a Columbus criminal defense attorney. He graduated magna cum laude from Capital University Law School and is involved in many organizations including the Columbus Bar Association, the Ohio State Bar, American Bar Association and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. He also regularly lectures on criminal defense and can be heard on Wednesday mornings on 99.7 The Blitz’s morning show. Call Yavitch & Palmer at 614-224-6142, or make an appointment at our downtown Columbus office using our online contact form today.