How To Present A Domestic Violence Defense
Being accused of domestic violence is a situation that calls for immediate attention. If a problem appeared out of nowhere, though, you might feel like you've been caught flat-footed. Presenting a defense demands a structured approach, and it's wise to follow these steps.
Stop All Contact
Regardless of the circumstances, do your level best to cut off all contact. If communication is necessary, retain the services of a domestic violence attorney in order to install a buffer between the two of you. No good can come of continuing contact, and statements made during these moments may come back to bite you in court. If your partner attempts to contact you, make sure to log when the attempts occurred, how long they were and what the specifics of the conversation were. When discussions are forced on you, try to disengage as quickly and as quietly as possible.
Understand Who's in Charge of the Case
Neither you nor your partner will be the one in charge of the case. Ultimately, decisions about bringing any set of charges against you will be made by the prosecutor's office. Do not let a girlfriend, boyfriend or spouse try to lord accusations over you. Make your best effort to work within the system and not make a bad situation worse.
Defenses to Consider
There are two common defenses used in domestic violence cases. The first is that literally nothing happened. The second is that actions that were taken constituted self-defense.
When presenting a defense that you've been falsely accused, do not engage in speculation about why this has happened. Your best tools will be police and medical reports. The cops will take down statements and collect photos, and there's usually an expectation that someone claiming domestic violence will undergo an evaluation by a doctor. Your domestic violence attorney will know how to obtain these during the discovery process.
A self-defense claim can be harder to stand up, but it may be the only option if it's clear that a physical altercation occurred. These types of defenses tend to call for documentation of actions that led to the fight. If the police have previously been called due to domestic disturbances involving your partner, you'll want to obtain and present reports from those incidents. Any evidence such as previous complaints brought against your partner for attacks on other people and in other circumstances will bolster your case, too.