Interviewer: What kind of plea agreements are typically going to be offered by the prosecution?
Paul Tafelski: Depends on, each court is a little bit different, each prosecutor is a little bit different but we’ve been able in many cases of first offence situations to negotiate plea deals where if the client successfully completed a period of probation with some anger management they could avoid having a conviction on their record. That’s the most important thing, to come out of this with is no conviction because it doesn’t look too good on employers to see domestic violence convictions. They get nervous about hiring people who have domestic violence convictions or assault and battery convictions because they get scared that if the person became assaultive in the workplace they would’ve been in notice of their assaultive tendencies and therefore perhaps liable so it’s important to keep your record clean and put non assaultive convictions in these situations. We’ve often been able to achieve that, which in the plea bargain round was probably the best thing you can get out of it.
Dismissal of Assault or Domestic Violence Charges in Michigan
Interviewer: Are there any possibilities or ways that an assault charge or domestic violence charge can get dismissed?
Paul Tafelski: Yes, for one, sometimes the facts, once the evidence can be gathered and maybe there are witness statements or videos or any kind of other evidence that can be demonstrated to the prosecutor, sometimes we can convince the prosecutor that they arrested the wrong person or the person was actually innocent and then sometimes prosecutors will drop the case. More often than not though, to get a complete dismissal, you have to fight that case to the end and either go to trial or at least be prepared to go to trial and then sometimes the prosecutor will back down when they realize that they can’t or are not likely to win the case at trial.
The Difficult Aspects of Dealing With Domestic Violence Cases
Interviewer: What would you say are some of the more difficult aspects when dealing with either domestic violence or non-domestic violence related assault charges?
Paul Tafelski: One of the most difficult things is that they are usually highly emotional. You have sometimes relationships that are under a lot of stress to begin with and then you add this element in for people that are under financial pressure then you add this element in. Sometimes you have substance abuse issues that are at play. Sometimes the person who is the accuser is actually the one who is almost always the aggressor and the person who is now accused is somebody who lashed out on a rare occasion but is usually the victim.
Domestic Violence Cases Should be Handled in a Manner Sensitive to the Personal Needs of the Defendant and the Victim
There’s all sort of ways that these can be complicated cases that have to be delicately handled because most of the time, in domestic situations at least, these people want to stay together when the case is over with and so you got to handle it in a way that is sensitive to their relationship and sensitive to their own personal needs because once the case is over, the judge is gone, the defense lawyers are gone, the prosecutors are gone, these people are back, left to their own lives. So this is being able to handle all the human aspects in a way that best serves the client.