DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, part 2: What could have been dismissed as a simple family argument could now have serious consequences, because of that allegation of domestic violence. You probably are worried sick, thinking “domestic violence? I had no intention of doing that — ever.”
When a family dispute turns into a visit by the police – which then ends in an arrest or arrests — an allegation of domestic violence may accompany the underlying charge based on many different factors: If you have ever lived with someone, have a child in common, lived with a child who is alleged to be a victim, if you are related to the alleged victim by blood, or if the relationship between you and the alleged victim is currently or was previously a romantic or sexual relationship.
What can you do?
1) Obey the court orders. If a judge has ordered the parties to not have any contact, then do not have contact. That includes passing messages through a “neutral party.” Passing messages is normal during everyday life, i.e. “Tell your mom we need eggs at the grocery store.” However, in this context it is communication through a third party and a violation of the court’s “no contact order.” This gets even more complicated where children are involved. Those court orders can be changed, though, so be thoughtful about how that can be done. It is a good idea to …
2) Consult with an attorney who has a lot of experience with domestic violence cases. This experience must include how different prosecutors and judges handle these cases. The way the cases are handled is not uniform in the various jurisdictions within Yavapai County. It is vital that the attorney be knowledgeable about the different prosecutors and judges.
3) Observe your Constitutional right to remain silent. You can make a bad situation worse by trying to talk your way out of it. Each of these statements can and will be used against you. Each of these statements will be misquoted and then used against you.
4) Take the long-view. It is important to not feel that it is an obligation to settle your case in a hurry. The prosecution has an obligation to supply the evidence they have against you. Going through the evidence is very important before any decisions are made about resolving your case. You may be surprised to learn what witnesses or alleged victims told the police about you. The prosecution’s evidence should be examined with an eye to the future, prevention, and reconciliation. However, sometimes there can be no reconciliation, which could be something you have to come to grips with. In any event, you certainly do not want to repeat this experience.
5) Defend yourself. The prosecutor is responsible for bringing your case before the court. In MOST cases they will NOT simply drop the case because an alleged victim asks them to. It is a common misconception that the alleged victim has “to bring charges.” It is the police and the ultimately the prosecutor who responsible for that. It is up to an experienced defense attorney to educate the prosecutor and the judge about what really happened — a complete picture of the incident. A thorough investigation is a must in order to expose the truth.
6) Explore ways to resolve your case and avoid another incident. An attorney who has a experience with domestic violence cases can guide you through your case in ways that can relieve your stress about the present and your future. Contact an attorney.