Thousands of people are accused of offenses related to domestic violence. The term “domestic violence” refers to physical, emotional, or psychological attacks that occur between family members or intimate partners. According to statistics published by Women Against Abuse, one in three women and one in seven men will be the victim of severe physical violence by an intimate partner at some point in their lives. Domestic violence affects people across the socioeconomic spectrum, and can criminal cases stemming from instances of alleged domestic violence can result in severe legal penalties.
While domestic violence is undoubtedly a serious issue, so are unfounded allegations of violence and other types of abuse. People who are convicted of domestic violence can be affected by the existence of a criminal record for years and can have significantly fewer opportunities as a direct result of a conviction. In some cases, law enforcement may misinterpret a situation between intimate partners or family members and make a false arrest based on their misinterpretation. In others, an unscrupulous individual may make intentionally false or misleading statements to law enforcement or government agencies in order to retaliate against another person or to gain an advantage in a family law proceeding. As a result, anyone who is facing allegations of domestic violence should retain a qualified criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
There are many ways that the representation of an experienced attorney can help people accused of domestic violence minimize the short and long-term consequences of a legal proceeding or investigation. Some of the more common are detailed below.
Many domestic violence cases involve significant investigation conducted by law enforcement and the commonwealth’s attorneys. These investigations may include the collection of physical evidence, compelling the production of medical records, searches of your home or office, or even police interrogations or depositions taken under oath. People who are accused of crimes have significant legal rights, and the United States and the Constitution place substantial limits on the way in which law enforcement may collect evidence. When you retain an attorney, he or she will make sure that your rights are not violated in the course of any investigation that is conducted. Additionally, your lawyer may be able to have any illegally obtained evidence suppressed, which may result in your case being dropped or dismissed.
Negotiate a plea arrangement with the prosecutor assigned to your case
The majority of criminal matters are resolved long before the defendant sees the inside of a courtroom. Generally, prosecutors offer defendants a conviction for a lesser offense and/or reduced sentence in exchange for a guilty plea. In some cases, a plea agreement may even involve a diversion program that keeps a conviction from being entered on your record as long as certain conditions are met. Generally speaking, represented parties are offered much more favorable plea arrangements than those who choose to represent themselves, so it is essential for anyone accused of domestic violence to retain legal counsel as soon as possible.
Defend you in court
Some domestic violence cases go to trial. The substantive and procedural rules and laws that apply in a criminal trial can be extremely complicated, and a person who is not represented by legal counsel is at a distinct disadvantage. The potential consequences of a conviction are severe, so anyone facing a trial regarding allegations of domestic violence should consult a defense lawyer as quickly as possible.
Contact a criminal defense attorney today to schedule a case evaluation
Allegations of domestic violence can result in significant legal consequences and can carry a substantial social stigma. In some cases, even mere accusations of domestic violence can cause significant problems at work, school, or in other aspects of your life. Fortunately for people accused of crimes related to domestic violence, the assistance of an experienced criminal defense lawyer can have a significant impact on the outcome of an investigation or legal case.