People often have a stereotypical image of domestic abuse being violence against women; however, this is not always the case, as evidenced by last week's domestic assault arrest of a Nicoma Park woman in Midwest City.
Charges of Domestic Violence
Kathleen Edith Dartez, 46, allegedly hit her ex-boyfriend with her truck outside his home. Witnesses report that Dartez showed up at her ex-boyfriend's home at the Hilltop Trailer Park in Midwest City, where she crashed her pickup into a car and a motorcycle in his driveway.
According to a witness, her ex-boyfriend ran to her truck and yelled at her to stop. Instead, she rammed her truck into him, flipping him into the air before he landed on the ground, striking his head and knocking him unconscious. He was treated and released from Integris Baptist Medical Center. Dartez was jailed on a complaint of domestic-related assault and battery with a dangerous weapon. You can read more about these types of charges here.
Domestic Violence in Oklahoma
Under Oklahoma law, the definition of a "dangerous weapon" is vague and can mean not only typical weapons such as guns and knives, but also any item a person may use to intentionally harm another--for example, a pickup truck.
While Oklahoma domestic violence complaints may be charged as either misdemeanors or felonies, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon is a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison on the first offense. Dartez is no first-offender, however. She has prior Midwest City arrests for assault and drug possession, and she was convicted of DUI in Oklahoma County in 2006. Oklahoma's domestic violence rates are among the highest in the nation.
The Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (ODMHSAS) reports that 5,500 adults and 2.650 children received domestic violence services. They further report that intimate partner violence occurs in one out of every six couples in Oklahoma.
Drugs and alcohol are often a factor in such violence: a 2000 report by the Oklahoma County Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring (ADAM) program found that 77 percent of men and 47 percent of women arrested on domestic violence charges tested positive for one or more drugs at the time of arrest. In fatal domestic violence cases, 60% of perpetrators were known to habitually use alcohol or drugs, and 45% of victims and 41% of perpetrators were intoxicated at the time of the homicide.
These statistics may be startling to many people, but the Oklahoma criminal defense attorneys who deal with these cases on a regular basis are not surprised by the numbers of cases or the correlation between domestic violence and drug and alcohol abuse.