Being charged in a domestic violence case is a serious situation. Depending on the severity of the crime you are charged with, you could be facing up to life in prison. Any time you face criminal charges, especially ones this serious, it becomes critical that you hire a good domestic violence lawyer immediately after being charged.

Why Hire an Attorney in a Domestic Violence Case?

Criminal defense attorneys have the experience necessary to determine the best defense to use in your case. The type of defense you use is probably the most important aspect of putting together your case. There are only so many types of defenses that you will be able to use, so choosing the right one is pivotal to your case.

Potential Defenses in Response to a Domestic Violence Charge

It’s important to remember that even though we’re calling this a “domestic violence” case, that is not the crime. You will be tried for the actual crime that was committed against the person you have a domestic relationship with at the time you were arrested. The most common defenses used in these cases are:

You Have the Wrong Suspect – You contend that although you acknowledge that the crime took place, you maintain that you are not the one responsible.

Charges are Deliberately False – Common in custody and divorce cases, complaints will be lodged against a spouse or ex-spouse that are untrue. These charges are often filed in spite against the other person.

Self-Defense – This is a common defense in domestic violence cases, where those accused of the crime will insist that they did it to protect themselves or their children.

Consent – Remember that domestic violence charges can result from accusations of sexual misconduct or rape. The defendant may insist that they had consent for the actions that took place.

Lack of Proof – The burden of proof falls on the prosecutor in criminal cases such as these. If the defense attorney can show that there are holes in the prosecutor’s case, they are going with this defense strategy.

How Does Your Lawyer Decide Which Defense Strategy to Use?

So, a criminal defense attorney who is experienced in domestic violence cases decides on which defense will be most effective by collecting information and doing an in-depth analysis of the documents surrounding the complaint. Specifically, they may look for answers to the following questions while reviewing the police report:

  • Does the 911 record weigh for or against my client?
  • Were there any witnesses?
  • Does my client have a history of violence against anyone?
  • What statements has my client already made?
  • Is there medical evidence that goes against my client’s statements?
  • Is there any sign of drug or alcohol abuse by either party?

Answers to these questions and more, combined with confidential information taken from the client, will be instructive as the defense attorney constructs your defense against the charges.

A Criminal Defense Lawyer is Necessary When You’re Facing Domestic Violence Charges

As you see from this discussion, failing to defend yourself against these serious charges could be disastrous. If you are involved in a domestic violence case, you need an attorney. Hire the best domestic violence lawyer you can afford.

By: Kimberly Pelesz

Family law and criminal defense attorney Kimberly A. Pelesz received a B.S. degree magna cum laude and an M.P.A. degree summa cum laude from Binghamton University. She earned her J.D. from Pace University School of Law in White Plains, where she was selected for Phi Alpha Delta. Her charitable activities include work with My Sisters’ Place in White Plains and the Westchester County District Attorney’s Humane Education Taskforce.

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