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Can Power of Attorney be Given in a Domestic Violence Case?

Domestic violence can bring with it numerous consequences for the perpetrator. In addition to possible jail time and a restraining order, the perpetrator may also lose several other rights like having a power of attorney if they have one. A victim of domestic violence needs to report the crime as soon as it happens. This ensures that the authorities can apprehend the perpetrator immediately. It also gives the victim enough time to find a domestic violence attorney in Phoenix, one that is experienced in handling such matters.

Power of Attorney

In life, an individual is not always in a position to exercise their decision-making. Whether for medical reasons or otherwise, a person may choose to give legal authority to another individual to make financial or medical decisions on their behalf.

This is the concept of power of attorney. The person being vested with the authority to act on another’s behalf is the agent or attorney-in-fact. The person giving such legal authority is the principal. Power of attorney is usually limited to doing certain things.

Implications of Power of Attorney

Power of attorney is useful in situations where the principal is incapacitated. For instance, if a person suffers a significant injury that predisposes them to a coma, they may choose to quickly give power of attorney to a family member or a close friend to act on their behalf in case they go into a coma. Such powers authorize the agent to make crucial decisions.

In terms of healthcare, if the principal should require a life-saving medical procedure but is unable to give consent, the agent can make such authorization on the principal’s behalf.

Similarly, an agent can make financial decisions on behalf of the principal regarding the latter’s estate. Whether it’s the creation of a trust or any such arrangement that will have long-term ramifications, an agent will run the principal’s estate.

While power of attorney can be revoked, its validity at any given time means the principal is relying on the agent to exercise good judgement in running their affairs. That’s why it’s crucial for the principal to have complete trust in the person that they choose to give power of attorney. Usually, the principal can give a power of attorney immediately or can stipulate the conditions under which it can be created. Power of attorney is only valid as long as the principal is alive. Once the principal dies, their will or trust goes into effect to dictate how their estate should be handled.

Power of Attorney and Domestic Violence Cases

Domestic violence is any behavior that is perpetrated by one individual to hurt another, whether physically or mentally. When most people think of domestic violence, a physical altercation between a couple is what comes to mind. However, it can involve violence or intimidation of anyone with whom the perpetrator shares a living space. It could involve roommates, elderly people living with their adult children, or cohabiting partners.

Domestic violence is one of those crimes that tend to warrant punishment depending on several factors. The severity of the crime, along with factors like the perpetrator’s criminal history, will determine whether or not a domestic violence charge is treated as a misdemeanor or a felony. If the domestic violence incident involves the victim sustaining serious physical injuries, the charge automatically becomes a felony.

Like in many jurisdictions, convicted felons tend to have a hard time accessing and enjoying some privileges. Having power of attorney is one of them. In some jurisdictions, a person convicted of the most serious case of domestic violence may be barred from being given power of attorney. The reasoning is that a propensity for violent acts doesn’t reflect well on a person’s character. Power of attorney comes with huge responsibilities that may involve making major financial decisions and authorizing life-changing medical treatments for an individual. As such, many individuals don’t entertain the idea of giving a convicted felon so much authority.

Of course, there are exceptions. For instance, an elderly person whose adult child is a convicted felon might still choose to give them power of attorney due to family loyalty.

Ultimately, whether or not a person convicted of domestic violence gets power of attorney will depend on the jurisdiction in which they live, the exact nature of the domestic violence charge, and then the perpetrator’s criminal history (or lack thereof). If the person convicted of a domestic violence charge is married and holds power of attorney, a judge may revoke this if there is reason to believe the defendant will act irresponsibly in a bid to get back at their partner.