The biggest one is that it involves very serious physical confrontations, where someone is getting beat up or punched or severely abused. In reality, the vast majority of the cases involve relatively minor skirmishes, where one person calls the police and usually the person who calls doesn’t even want the other person arrested, they just want the police to make them go away for a while. The police don’t do that anymore, so then somebody gets arrested and that opens up a whole new can of worms for the people and their families and everything else.
What Are Some Unintentional Mistakes that Clients Commit in Domestic Violence Cases?
A common mistake is admitting to the police at the scene that there was any type of physical altercation. Oftentimes, their statements are used against them in the prosecution, because it does not take a lot to prove somebody’s guilt. Many times, people are comfortable talking to the police at the scene because they don’t think what happened was anything major and they think they can explain it to the police and the police will understand and be reasonable in how they treat the situation.
Unfortunately, in reality, the police are just gathering evidence to use against you and they are going to prosecute you if they can. That’s the first mistake.
What happens later is that people think that by taking a deal or pleading guilty that it would just be easier than fighting the case. The truth is in some situations taking a deal is the right way to resolve the case, but in other situations, fighting the case is the right way to resolve it. The court will treat these matters very seriously with the punishment that they give, and people who think they are taking the easy way out of a situation often find that they have just made their lives a lot more complicated by making a deal that they should not have.
What Are the Differences Between Domestic Violence, Domestic Battery, Battery, and Family Violence?
Typically, the only difference has to do with who is involved, but they all basically involve assaults or assault battery. Battery is where there is an actual touching of some sort that occurs. Assault doesn’t have to have a touching; it can be where you just placed somebody in fear that they are going to be hit or injured.
Domestic versus family, or versus a regular assault and battery, really just has to do with who are the parties that are involved; domestic violence involves parties that share some type of living arrangements. Family assault could be just between family members and regular assault and battery would be charged when the people don’t have any direct relationship other than maybe their acquaintances or they just met that night. The crimes are typically the same, it just has to do with who is involved.
Can the Alleged Victim in a Domestic Violence Case Retract Allegations of Abuse?
Actually, that’s another common misconception. In these situations, people think that if they called the police, they can drop the charge. Unfortunately, the police will not allow people to drop the charge in almost all situations. Largely, that’s due to them being afraid that somebody might be trying to cover up for the other spouse because they are afraid of them, and so the prosecutor really doesn’t allow the person to drop the case.
Legally speaking, once you’ve made that report, you are not in charge of the case; the prosecutor and the police are in-charge of the case, you are just a witness, you are what’s known as the complaining witness in the domestic assault case, so the prosecutor is the one who makes the decisions whether to proceed with the case or drop a case and they usually won’t drop it just because somebody wants it dropped.
Occasionally, we have been able to persuade prosecutors to drop cases where there were extenuating circumstances or factual situations that helped the defense and we were able to convince the prosecutor that it was in their best interests to drop a case but in your average every day run of the mill case where the person is still saying, “Yes, it occurred but I don’t want to prosecute,” they will not drop that case.
What Are Some Typical Conditions for a Plea Agreement in a Domestic Violence Case?
It depends on the facts of that particular case. Generally speaking, if a client says, “I didn’t do it” or “I was only defending myself,” then that is a case that you want to fight, because you don’t want to get convicted if you can help it.
In many situations, the clients admits or admitted to the police what happened and maybe even wrote a statement, so in some of those situations, if the police did their job properly and the client confessed, then making a deal is often the best way to go and then we try to come up with some sort of deal where the client will not end up with a conviction on their record so that we can protect their employability and their future prospects.
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