Interviewer: If someone says, ‘Hey look, I’m guilty, it happened, I lost control.’ What are some things that could help him, could they voluntarily go into anger management?
Paul Tafelski: We do a lot of counseling with our clients as far as trying to come up with a strategy that will best suit them and get the best result depending upon which judge that they have in their case. So sometimes gathering up statements from other people, attesting to the fact that this is not normally a violent person or getting counseling, getting an assessment done, if alcohol was involved, getting an alcohol assessment to try and demonstrate you don’t have a problem.
It is Important to Customize the Available Programs According to the Needs of the Defendant
There’s a lot of different tools that we can use but it is important to customize it to your unique situation rather than just saying everybody go do A B and C. We always want to talk to the client, think about what will work to impress the court the most but also what might help them the most in having to go back and deal with this spouse again if that’s what they choose to do which is what happens in most cases. Like we were just discussing, it’s critically important to make sure that something like this never happens again, if it did happen, because the penalties get worse and worse.
The Immediate Needs of A Client When Meeting with an Attorney for a Domestic Violence Case
Interviewer: When you meet with a client, typically what are their immediate needs?
Paul Tafelski: Usually the first thing is preparing for the arraignment to make sure that we can try and keep a personal bond so they don’t have to post any money to stay out of jail, to make sure that if they need to travel for work that we address that with the court so that they have permission to leave the state while the case is pending, trying to minimize any kind of testing requirements, things like that. So first thing is usually preparing for the arraignment and then the second thing is just reviewing the entire case with them so that we can make sure we know all the pertinent facts and then pursue whatever discovery is needed by us to evaluate the case and get ready for the pre-trial so that we can give the client a good honest assessment of what he should do and what his chances are for success if he wants to fight, things like that.
The Role of Expert Witnesses in a Domestic Violence Case
Interviewer: What sort of expert witnesses could be utilized, if the case went to trial and it’s something along the lines of a domestic violence case?
Paul Tafelski: Most of the time we don’t end up needing expert witnesses. Sometimes you might have a situation where maybe that there is claiming that what they said happened was physically impossible so you might want some type of expert to speak to. Maybe the location of an injury and whether or not somebody could have hit you with their right hand at that spot vs. having to use their left hand, just some type of situation where you think you can prove something was impossible based upon the use of an expert. But most of the time these cases just involve whoever was there or whoever saw something happen.
A Person Having Only One Conviction on his Record Can get it Expunged 5 Years After They Were Sentenced in Michigan
Interviewer: Could an assault charge be dismissed at any point? Expunged?
Paul Tafelski: Right now in Michigan, 2014, the law basically says that if a person has only one conviction on their record for one count of one crime that they would be eligible for expungement 5 years after they were sentenced. For example if you have one count of assault and battery, one count of domestic violence on your record, and you have nothing else, no driving license suspended, no possession of marijuana, no drunk driving, no other criminal offenses on your record, then 5 years after you’re sentenced you can bring in your own separate action to expunge that crime.
An Attorney Can Expedite The Process of Expungement For a Client
We definitely help people with that, sometimes usually involves filing a petition with the court for expungement and demonstrating to the court why you are somebody who deserves to have that expunged. I would certainly recommend that anybody who has a single count of any crime on their record and it’s been more than 5 years that they pursue an expungement because like I said earlier, with technology nowadays these convictions follow people all over the place for decades. And if you can get rid of it, then get rid of it.