Interviewer: I’m pretty sure you’ve seen social media come into play as well, like Facebook and things like that?
Paul Tafelski: Yes, we’ve had cases where we’ve used Facebook postings in our cases to help prove that the person was lying or help prove how one minute they’re acting like a victim and the next minute they’re having a huge party and acting all tough and flashing, getting drunk and putting it on Facebook, so there’s a lot of opportunity to help your case through social media.
Self-Representation is Not A Viable Option in a Domestic Violence Case
Interviewer: In a domestic violence situation where someone gets arrested because of an alleged assault that occurred. What’s going to happen if that person tries to go at it by themselves compared to them hiring an attorney?
Paul Tafelski: It comes back to a question I’m asked a lot by people in trouble or having different legal situations, ‘do I really need an attorney?’ The truth is, you can’t really, every single case is different and every judge is different, every court is different, every prosecutor is different about their attitudes and how they will treat people who are there by themselves. In my opinion this is a serious matter. Hopefully it’s the only times in your life you’re ever going to be charged with domestic violence or assault and battery and you want to make sure you do everything in your power to either A, beat the case or B, minimize your damage, minimize your terms of probation, minimize your conditions of probation, avoid jail, all those things.
The Major Problem With Self-Representation Is that If It Goes Awry there is No Way to Fix It
The problem with representing yourself is, once you blow it, it’s too late to fix it. You’ve blown it. And you might not even ever know that you got a bad deal or bad result because you’ve never been in this situation before, never had to deal with what you’re facing. So to me, if you can afford to retain somebody you definitely want help in a case where you’re accused of assaultive conduct. What I’m amazed by nowadays is how fast things like criminal records spread with the Internet and technology and stuff, and so you might be 20 years old and dealing with an assault and battery charge and thinking, what’s the big deal, it’s just a fight outside a bar, but when you’re 35 and you’re applying for a good job and you’re still answering questions about ‘why do you have an assaultive conviction on your record?’ you probably will wish that you had dealt with it in the most serious possible way. Not to say some people would not do a good job explaining themselves or presenting themselves but more people will do a poor job than will do a good job.
The State of Michigan Does Not Allow For Permanent Protection Orders
Interviewer: How do about long term or permanent protection orders or restraining orders work?
Paul Tafelski: In a criminal case, whether it be assault and battery or domestic violence, if it’s a misdemeanor the maximum time you can be on probation is 2 years. If it’s a felony the maximum you can be on probation is 5 years and so any order that the court puts in place about no-contact or restraining order in a criminal case can only last as long as the court has jurisdiction over you through probation. So they can’t do any permanent things like that in Michigan. The personal protection orders are issued for one year and can be renewed for another year. So around here you really don’t see permanent restraining orders like what you’re mentioning.