Far too often, we see clients who are in more trouble than they need to be because they believed they could talk their way out of a domestic assault charge. It might be hard to accept that a partner or spouse has accused you of assaulting them, but it is vital that you take the accusation seriously and talk to a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. In the Chesapeake area, call James E. Short, PLC, to learn about your rights and the possible defenses we will consider to get the charges dismissed or reduced. You owe it to your future to aggressively defend yourself when you have been accused of domestic violence.
Possible Defenses in Domestic Violence Cases
Even if you are certain of your innocence, once charges have been filed, you would be smart to hire a lawyer and defend yourself. People charged with domestic violence often think they can talk their partner into dropping the charges, but this is a mistake. Once the complaint has been made to the police, it doesn’t matter if the accuser changes their mind. The ball is already rolling. Instead, you should start working with your attorney on a defense. Possibilities include:
- False allegations. In some of the cases we see, there was no altercation at all, and the accusation is completely fabricated. If your partner has falsely accused you of assault, we will build a case to prove it. Evidence such as text messages and witness statements, along with a lack of evidence of physical or emotional injury, will help us prove a false allegation.
- Lack of evidence. The burden is on the prosecutor to prove that you assaulted your partner. If the Commonwealth lacks medical records, eyewitness statements, threatening text messages, and other convincing evidence, we will make that argument in court. In Virginia, threats and harassment can be considered assault, but these claims are much harder to prove. We will hold the prosecutor to his burden of proof.
- Unlawful arrest. If the arresting officers violated your constitutional rights during the investigation and arrest, we will make this case. Searching your home without probable cause, failing to inform you of your rights, and using undue force could render an arrest unconstitutional. When we take your case, we will go through the arrest procedures with a fine-toothed comb to look for violations.
- Self-defense. If your partner attacked you in the incident and you fought back to defend yourself, you can make a claim of self-defense if your response was proportional and reasonable and you were not acting in retaliation. If you are bigger and physically stronger than your partner, this may not be an easy claim to make, but it is not impossible.
- Defense of others. If there were children or other vulnerable people in the home whom you were protecting from your partner, you might be able to make a defense-of-others claim. Again, your defensive actions must have been proportional to the threat against the child or other defenseless person.
An experienced defense attorney will listen to your story, investigate the incident, and develop the best possible defense for the circumstances. Even if we can’t make an argument for dismissal, it’s possible that we can get the charges reduced so that you are facing less severe penalties. Either way, the outcome we can secure is almost always preferable to what an unrepresented defendant can do on their own.
Don’t Underestimate Domestic Assault Charges
If you are found guilty of domestic violence, you are facing jail time and hefty fines, not to mention a mark on your record that could permanently impact your future. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you can talk your partner out of pressing charges or that a judge will believe your claim of self-defense without hard evidence. Instead, trust an experienced criminal defense attorney to get the best possible outcome for you. In the Chesapeake region, contact James E. Short, PLC, at 757-410-5042. He will get to work on your defense right away.