Interviewer: How are some ways that you help remove that emotional aspect? What are the things you may tell them? What are the things that you may remind them of to help people?
Paul Tafelski: Every situation is different. For example, sometimes rushing these cases through is not what’s best because emotions can be raw and sometimes it might take a week or two for people to just settle down and let the dust settle and realize what they really want to do and if they’re making emotional decisions they are often more aggressive or sometimes exaggerated decisions. Like, ‘oh, let’s immediately file for divorce’. Maybe if you wait a couple weeks it’s not what you’re going to want to do. It’s just gauging that particular situation and trying to figure out the law. Is there an accusation in there that your client has been having an ongoing alcohol abuse problem and that’s contributing to it?
It is Advisable To Seek Relationship Counseling or Alcohol Rehabilitation as a Means to Solving Domestic Issues
Maybe the best thing is to buy them some time and help them find a counselor so they can get a grip on the alcohol abuse or get some treatment so that they can appear better in the eyes of the court. Just depends on each individual situation. Sometimes you have clients who are not guilty of the crime. In that situation you have to advise them how to protect themselves, not violate their bond conditions but at the same time aggressively defend themselves so that ultimately you can get rid of that case. It’s a case by case scenario, based upon the lawyer’s experience dealing with all these different situations and types of people over the years that helps figure out what’s right in this case because even though a lot of these cases are sort of similar from a factual standpoint, they are all unique from the human standpoint because no relationship, no domestic situation is exactly the same as the next one.
The Process of Dealing with Exaggerated Allegations in a Domestic Violence Case
Interviewer: In a situation where someone says, ‘Hey look, this is not what happened,’ in a domestic violence situation, this is really not what happened, everything is being exaggerated, I feel like my spouse is exaggerating the claims. What are you going to start doing? What are some of the steps you take in that situation?
Paul Tafelski: First of all, in those kind of situations, one of the things that comes to mind is the fact that the person who made the exaggerated statements or sometimes just flat out lied in making their reports to the police, they committed a crime when they did that and that’s called filing a false police report. So by demonstrating that, and proving it to the extent that it’s possible either through like text messages, emails, audio tapes from the 911 call, things like that, by being able to somehow prove that they were lying, sometimes they put themselves in a situation where they cannot testify against you at a trial and therefore they have to assert the fifth amendment or refuse to testify and in many of those situations that will make the prosecutor’s case fall apart because they need that person to testify. Sometimes once that can be shown, that they are not truthful people when they were reporting this crime, then that can be a big step in the defense winning the case.
Domestic Violence Cases Take a Little Bit Longer to Resolve than Assault Cases
Interviewer: Compared to regular assault cases, are domestic violence cases longer? Do they take a longer time to resolve?
Paul Tafelski: A little big longer. Just because of the, there’s usually a little more complicated history with those. With the normal assault and battery charges it’s usually like a fight outside the bar and you show up to the pre-trial and you either make a deal or you set up for trial and that’s it. With the domestic cases a lot of times you have to tend multiple pre-trials as you are trying to work things out and sometimes the prosecutor wants to interview witnesses or interview the police and try to verify facts and things like that so they can take a little big longer. But not always, sometimes they go quick but sometimes they take a long time.