Dealing With Domestic Violence Charges
Domestic violence is a serious offense. Millions of lives are affected by these charges. While the violence damages families, an unjust accusation can also have substantial ramifications.
Domestic Violence in the United States
According to the National Coalition of Domestic Violence, over 1 million women have been victims of physical assault by an intimate partner per year. While this might seem like an issue affecting women, men can also be the victims of domestic abuse. At the other end of the crime, individuals are sometimes wrongly accused of committing domestic violence. For them, defending against these charges is essential to protecting their freedom and reputation. If you have been accused or charged with domestic violence, here are some things that you should know.
Understand Your Legal Rights
You need to understand your rights to ensure that you receive a fair trial. For a domestic violence case, you have the right to:
- Call witnesses to testify
- Present your own evidence
- Cross-examine the prosecutor’s witnesses
- Evaluate all of the evidence against you
A Morristown criminal defense lawyer with experience trying domestic violence cases could be an asset in determining how to proceed.
Secure the Evidence
Evidence is the cornerstone of any court case. Never rely on the accuser to supply you with evidence in your favor. It is a good idea to supply your own evidence that can help to show what really happened.
After the charges are made, it may help to identify witnesses and get an official statement from them. Make sure to secure any videos or pictures of the incident. Physical evidence can help disprove any charges. Don’t forget about those text messages. In many cases, texts can help back up your own claims.
Give Your Own Statement
Once the police arrive on the scene, they have to follow specific procedures, including taking down statements from all parties. In some instances, the police do not approach the accused for their own statement. It’s important to be sure that your side of the story is written down for the record. In a calm voice, explain how the incident took place. Remember that your statement could be a valuable piece of evidence in court, which is also true of the responding officer’s testimony, so it’s in your best interest to remain calm.
Hire an Experienced Domestic Violence Lawyer
While you have the right to represent yourself in court, that is rarely a good idea. Domestic violence cases are filled with emotions, so it may be a good idea to take a step back. A Morristown criminal defense lawyer understands the law and can help defend you against these serious accusations.
Discuss Your Case With a Lawyer
When you meet with the attorney, explain the entire incident. Allow them to plan for gathering evidence, finding witnesses to testify, and negotiating with the prosecutor. Your attorney is legally obligated to defend you to the best of their ability, so you can trust them to handle the proceedings.
Get a Bail Bond
If you have been arrested, you might need a bail bond to get out of jail. With that, you are released from custody. The amount will depend on whether you are a flight risk and the severity of the crime. Many people cannot afford to pay the bond. In that situation, an experienced bail bond company can help with the process. You pay a percentage of the bond, and the company will cover the rest of the amount. By paying the bond, you are guaranteeing that you will attend all of the court proceedings, or there could be a warrant out for your arrest.
Abide By All Court Orders
After paying bail, you will receive a set of instructions from the court that must be followed. The date for your first court appearance will be included in that paperwork. Make sure to attend the court dates, or you could face some serious legal troubles and potentially forfeit any bond money paid.
Be Punctual for Court Dates
You should always show up on time for court. If you have been charged with domestic violence, your appearance is critical. By being punctual and well-dressed, you show respect for the court and the legal process. In court, act calmly before, during, and after the hearing. Do not appear bored by the proceedings or get angry if things are said that you don’t agree with.
Understand Limits of Your Attorney
Unfortunately, there are limitations for your defense attorney. No lawyer can promise to win your case. While some cases are easier to prove, others have many variables that may not be in your favor.
With solid evidence on your side, you have a better chance to be acquitted of the charges. No matter how the case is going, your lawyer should give you the facts, and they should discuss possible outcomes and potential strategies with you.
Defenses to a Domestic Violence Charge
Evidence can help to prove your innocence. Along with that, you need a strong defense on your side. There are several defenses that your attorney may use in the courtroom. They may use evidence to show that someone else was responsible for the crime. This evidence can prove that the defendant was not near the crime scene or had an alibi.
While domestic violence accusations are serious, some people will make these allegations out of spite. Unfortunately, this happens in contentious child custody cases. A partner may also claim domestic violence as a way to manipulate a situation. A defense attorney may look for inconsistencies in the accuser’s story by comparing it to witness accounts, medical records, and police records.
In many domestic violence cases, the defendant acted to protect themselves or their children. A self-defense strategy can work if there is a reasonably perceived threat and if the defendant was not considered the initial aggressor.
While it is rare, some individuals voluntarily consent to participate in violent actions. That consent can function as a defense against a domestic violence accusation.
The prosecution has the burden of proof in a criminal trial. If it can’t be shown that the defendant is guilty beyond all reasonable doubt, then the prosecution hasn’t met that burden. The legal system protects both the victim and the wrongly accused. If there is no conclusive evidence pointing to guilt, the jury must acquit the defendant.
Find an Attorney for Your Case
With these tips, you can be ready to face your domestic violence case. Remember that these cases are very complicated, and an experienced attorney will be a valuable asset as you navigate this process.
Gregg A. Wisotsky is ready to help with your domestic violence charge. We can help you through all parts of the court proceedings and establish a defense for your case. If you have been recently arrested, schedule a consultation by calling the office at 973-898-0161. We have eight offices in New Jersey as well as in New York City for your convenience. You can also fill out our secure online contact form.