When a person calls the police to report domestic violence, officers must investigate. They must determine whether they have probable cause to believe you committed a crime such as assault or harassment.
When it comes to family assault cases, the complainant is often conflicted about whether or not they want to pursue charges against their partner. A skilled attorney can use this to their advantage.
Hire a Criminal Lawyer
A criminal attorney can provide advice specific to the unique circumstances of your case. This is important because a domestic violence case requires careful handling. Whether you were arrested for a misdemeanor or a felony, the outcome of your case could have long-term consequences that affect you and your family. Learn more about handling domestic violence charges effectively.
At arraignment, you will be interviewed by a Family Relations Officer who will question you about the incident. You should have your attorney present to make sure you don’t unintentionally incriminate yourself.
A strong defense strategy includes identifying and securing witnesses who can corroborate your side of the story. For example, a witness who can state that the complainant was cursing at them, highly intoxicated, belligerent or has been aggressive and violent in the past can be an invaluable asset to your case. Other possible defenses include self-defense or justification for the use of non-deadly force in a dispute. There are also many programs that may help you avoid a conviction.
In many domestic violence cases, the evidence is limited to an alleged victim’s version of events alleging they were assaulted or threatened. However, there are other sources of evidence to support your defense.
Neighbors, friends, and bystanders who may have witnessed the alleged incident can provide valuable testimony that contradicts the accuser’s claims of abuse. Security cameras at the victim’s home and bystander cell phone videos can also serve as strong evidence to refute a domestic violence claim.
Photographs of broken property and injuries to the alleged victim are also helpful in bolstering your defense. Medical reports from doctors are a great source of proof that the accuser is fabricating allegations. Text messages and voicemails between you and the alleged victim can be a great piece of evidence as well. It’s a good idea to keep a call log that shows patterns of stalking or abuse and let calls go to voicemail if you want to preserve this evidence.
Preparing for Trial
While a person on bail must comply with any orders of protection issued, it is important to pool all available resources and attend every scheduled court hearing. A failure to do so could result in a warrant of arrest for your arrest.
Domestic violence cases require a lot of testimony from witnesses. It can be helpful to practice your testimony in front of a friend or family member. This can also help you recall new details to be used in your defense.
During the arraignment, the prosecution will try to get a victim statement before your lawyer gets involved. The prosecution wants to “lock in” this statement and use it at trial. It is a good idea to have your attorney there to counter this tactic. The prosecution will also likely request that you attend a domestic violence or anger management program. You should discuss the pros and cons of attending one of these programs with your attorney.
Defending Your Case
The penalties for domestic violence are serious, and a conviction can ruin your reputation, career, relationships with family members and friends, and more. In addition, it can make it difficult to get a job because a background check will show up on the record.
One way to protect yourself from such consequences is to have an expert criminal lawyer fight for your innocence. Your lawyer will look for any evidence that can prove the allegations are false. This may involve arguing that the accuser was lying by fabricating injuries or inconsistencies in her oral and written statements to the police.
Your lawyer will also use evidence that you were acting in self-defense or that the incident was unintentional. For example, it’s not uncommon to be accused of assault after a physical altercation where you physically defended a loved one from attack. Your lawyer can make a strong case for this defense by presenting evidence such as medical records or photographic evidence of injuries.