Interviewer: With Domestic Violence cases, is there always going to be an arrest?
Paul Tafelski: For the most part nowadays there would usually be an arrest. I wouldn’t say always but I would say usually there would be an arrest because the police are told to make an arrest now. It used to be that the police might make one person leave the house for the night to sort of cool off and that’s what a lot of people would expect the police to do when they call them, but in reality the police are now instructed to make an arrest, so they don’t have discretion. If someone says they got hit, if someone says they got pushed, someone says there was an assault, their job is to arrest someone, let the court system sort it out, so most of the time there is going to be an arrest nowadays.
It is Important to Contact an Attorney Prior to Arraignment in a Domestic Violence Case
Interviewer: Let’s say someone’s been arrested. They’ve been outside arguing and they get in to some sort of fight, someone calls the police, they both get arrested. What could happen from there? They go to jail and then they contact you? What’s it going to be like
Paul Tafelski: Typically, especially in the domestic situations, it’s important to call us before the arraignment because the court is going to set bond conditions and those are going to include likely that there be no contact with the complaining witness and that you not return to the home, if it’s a marital home for example, that you not return to the home, which often causes all kinds of problems for the person such as how do they see their kids, how do they pay their bills, where are they supposed to go, what about their clothes for work, on and on. And so it’s important that you at least go into that arraignment as prepared as possible to address these kinds of issues so that you don’t just stand there and get steamrolled by the magistrate who is looking at you like you’re a really bad person. They don’t even know the half of it. It’s important to get representation as soon as you can to help have somebody at that arraignment if possible.
The Timeframe of Resolution for a Domestic Violence Case in Michigan
Interviewer: How long is that process going to take?
Paul Tafelski: Usually after the arraignment you’ll have what’s called a pretrial within about a couple weeks, and then depending upon your case if you were to make some kind of plea bargain at that time you’ll probably get sentenced a month after that, but if you’re going to fight the case or you’re looking into fighting the case then you need to get adjournments and gather the discovery which is like the police reports, any videos, witness statements, things like that, so it can all be analyzed to determine how good or bad your case is and then you can decide whether you want to make a deal or plead guilty or go to trial. Usually the first couple of hearings will occur within a few weeks of the event, but after that it just depends on how the case goes. In some courts, Nova in particular, they really try to speed the domestic violence cases through the system and so you’ve got to be ready to deal with them quickly.
Speeding Up a Domestic Violence Case Puts Pressure on the Defendant to Negotiate a Deal
Interviewer: Why do they like to speed that up?
Paul Tafelski: Because they know that for one, it puts pressure on the defendants to make a deal but on the other hand it also helps to address the issue of people having no-contact orders and not being allowed to get in their house because they usually won’t release those until the case gets resolved so by moving the case along quicker at least the people can get to some resolution of that issue. The problem is that some situations are not best suited for speedy resolutions and those people are at a disadvantage with that kind of policy.