You are in the process of separating from your ex, but you are still living together. She has filed for child support and has threatened that she will take your children away and get every last dollar you have. A heated argument ensues and she shoves you. It didn’t hurt. She reaches for your cell phone because now she is accusing you of cheating, you push her hands away from you and you accidentally scratch her wrist. She is drunk and calls the police. She exaggerates her story to the policy saying you shoved her and held her arms. Because she has a scratch, the police arrest you and completely ignore your side of the story!
As domestic violence defense lawyers, we have heard this scenario hundreds of times. We have prepared this article to let you know that domestic violence charges can be reduced or dismissed. While no lawyer can guarantee a dismissal or a reduction of domestic violence charges, following these tips can certainly increase your chances of having your charges dropped or reduced.
Gather Evidence that Proves You Didn’t Commit Domestic Violence
In every criminal case, you have the right to call witnesses to testify on your behalf, to present your own evidence, to cross examine the State’s witnesses and to evaluate the State’s evidence. The first step in getting a domestic violence charge reduced or dismissed is to secure your own evidence of what occurred between you and the victim.
Many times the police will write reports that tend to rely upon the victim’s statements and ignore the accused’s statements. Be proactive in this situation and make a written record of what occurred as soon as you can after police are called. Your memory of the events will be clearer and this will preserve your recollection of events if your case needs to go to trial. Identify your witnesses and have them write statements as well. If you need to get pictures or video from the night of the incident, save all of your text messages from the victim and keep copies of all of the victim’s social media posts.
Hire A Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer
From our other articles, you can see that a charge of domestic violence carries serious consequences including jail time, significant fines, attendance at classes and could result in the loss of custody of your children, divorce, restraining orders and the loss of your right to carry firearms. Hiring a knowledge, experienced, aggressive, domestic violence defense lawyer is critical to having your domestic violence charges dropped or reduced.
Hiring an experienced domestic violence defense lawyer will protect your rights because your lawyer will know the judges handling domestic violence cases. This insider information will allow you to properly prepare for your judge’s preferences at trial and present the best possible case to have your charges dismissed or reduced. In addition, a skilled domestic violence defense lawyer will know the prosecutors and help avoid unreasonable prosecuting attorneys and present the best case to have your charges dismissed or reduced.
As with many services in life, you get what you pay for. The name of the game is not finding the cheapest lawyer, but finding the one that will win. If you can win this case, the preservation of your clean criminal record is invaluable, and worth the investment.
Get Released From Custody As Soon As Possible
It is critical that you are not sitting in jail while your domestic violence charges are hanging over your head. If you are out of custody, you will be able to assist your lawyer in your defense and you should be able to go on living your life as normal.
However, if you are released from jail on bond, you will need to maintain the conditions of your release. Usually this means showing up to your court dates, staying out of trouble and keeping in touch with your bondsmen.
If you don’t meet the conditions of your bond, your bond will be revoked and an arrest warrant will be issued for you. This will make you look guilty to the prosecuting attorneys and the judge. They will see you as someone who cant follow the rules and will make the chances of having your domestic violence charges reduced or dismissed slim.
Come To ALL Of Your Court Dates And Dress Appropriately
In our opinion, a defendant that shows to every Court date shows they care about their case. By dressing appropriately for Court, it also shows the judge and the prosecutor you are taking the charges seriously. This will help with negotiating your case. Coming to Court will also help move your case along faster and will allow for your attorneys to communicate early negotiations of your case. When a prosecutor sees you at Court, professionally dressed, they know that it is more likely a judge or jury will perceive you more like an executive and less like a criminal. This will give you the upper hand in negotiating your domestic violence case.
Have The Victim Sign An Affidavit of Non-Prosecution, If They Are Willing
We cant tell you the number of times a victim changes their mind about the facts that led to the domestic violence charges. Unfortunately, once the prosecutors decide to move forward it is out of the victim’s hands. Victims cant decide they don’t want to prosecute the case. That is totally up to the prosecutors once charges are filed.
The alleged victim who wishes to have the charges dropped can help, by executing an affidavit of non-prosecution. This document will certify to the prosecutor that the victim does not want to move forward with the case. Having this kind of affidavit can result in having your domestic violence charges dismissed or reduced.
Victims who are willing to sign these affidavits should talk to their own attorney to ensure that the prosecutor will not pursue them for making false statements to the police, or for other charges associated with the alleged crime. In addition, defendants should not intimidate, coerce or otherwise pursue such an affidavit without talking to their domestic violence defense attorney first.
While no attorney can ensure a dismissal or reduction of domestic violence charges, an experienced domestic violence defense lawyer will take all of the steps necessary to try to get your case dismissed or the charges reduced. If the prosecutor still refuses to dismiss your domestic violence charges, the case must be brought to trial.
If you are facing domestic violence charges, call us at (702) 433-2889 or fill out our on-line formfor more information. Our domestic violence defense lawyers are led by a former prosecutor who is familiar with the ins-and-outs of domestic violence law. We can help.