While there are many valid domestic violence claims, in far too many instances, cases move with lightning speed and the defendant is convicted of domestic violence before having the chance to make a valid argument. It is a gross injustice when a spouse or parent, in most cases the husband and father, is convicted of domestic violence for a simple argument that has escalated. And in many cases, the other spouse brings and exaggerates the charges in an effort to gain some other advantage (as in a child custody hearing, for example).
But is there anything you can do? If you have been charged with domestic violence, how can you mitigate the situation and possibly avoid a conviction?
There are several things you can do to mitigate the damage of domestic violence charges, including:
- A mitigation packet: The first step is to voluntarily explore options like anger management or substance abuse treatment, which could show that you take the situation seriously and are trying to get any help you can to avoid a domestic violence situation in the future.
- Evidence of ulterior motivations on the part of the other spouse: We can look at any possible motivation your spouse might have in falsifying or exaggerating a claim. A domestic violence incident can provide bargaining leverage in a divorce or custody battle. It can also give the other person an advantage when trying to gain control or ownership over a mutual real property residence.
- Evidence of self-defense: If we can find evidence that you were actually defending yourself, rather than being the aggressor, it can go a long way in fighting against a domestic violence charge. Evidence of past abuse from your spouse, threats or other evidence that could bolster a self-defense claim could go a long way to avoiding a conviction.
- Evidence of insanity or heat of passion: A violence charge will be sentenced differently if you were acting with premeditation and in your right mind compared to a situation where you were temporarily insane or acting in the heat of passion. Temporary insanity or heat of passion could dramatically change the outcome of your case.
- Evidence of alcohol or drug use at the time of the incident: If your accuser was using drugs or alcohol at the time of the incident, this can provide valuable arguments on your behalf. Alcohol or drug use impacts perception of reality. If we can show that the accuser was using drugs or alcohol, it can indicate that their perception of reality was distorted, causing an overly exaggerated account of the situation. It can also bolster an argument that your accuser’s intoxicated state led them to threaten you or goad you into the heat of passion where you could no longer control your actions.
These are a few of the things we can look at to build your case. But it is important to recognize that no two cases are the same.
Looking at each case
It can be stressed too strongly that you need an experienced attorney to look at the facts of your specific case. There is no way to give specific legal advice about your case without looking at the facts. Further, it is critical to work with a lawyer who has handled domestic violence defense before and can fight for you to get your case dismissed, if possible, and minimize the damage that these charges can have on your life.
There is too much at stake to work with an inexperienced lawyer or fail in making the strongest defense you can.