Domestic Violence Lawyers
Domestic Violence is a unique crime known as a “wobbler”. Crimes that are known as “wobblers” may be treated as minor misdemeanors that may result in probation and/or anger management classes, or may be treated as serious felonies that may entail substantial state prison time. The severity of the punishment depends on the factors surrounding the events that may have taken place during the alleged commission of the domestic violence crime. Such factors include the seriousness of the injuries involved, the necessity of hospitalization, whether self-defense was used, prior criminal history as well as other factors including the particular courthouse’s policy on sentencing for domestic violence offenses.
There are two major differences between domestic violence crimes and other kinds of crimes such as petty theft, drunk driving, drug possession or even juvenile crimes. The first difference is in the lack of discretion used by police and prosecutors in a domestic violence case. With most crimes, after the police arrive at the scene of the crime, they conduct an investigation and determine whether or not the events that took place warrant an arrest and prosecution thereafter. On the other hand, in most domestic violence cases, as soon as the police get involved and there is only a hint of domestic violence having taken place, prosecution will ensue. It does not matter that the alleged victim desperately wishes that you are set free without any punishment or the alleged victim changes her story and admits that nothing really happened.
The other main difference in domestic violence cases is witness or victim testimony. In other criminal cases, if a witness changes his/her story, that seriously affects the outcome of the case. However, with domestic violence crimes, it is extremely common for the alleged victim, who is usually the only witness to the crime, to change his/her story because of the love they may have for the defendant. Therefore, the prosecutor finds it irrelevant that the alleged victim later changes his/her initial statement that was made to the police.
In most instances of domestic violence, a husband and wife, or boyfriend and girlfriend or two relatives get into a heated argument and when the police arrive, the alleged victim makes a damaging statement that results in the other’s arrest. The alleged victim is usually very emotional when speaking to the police and provides police with an exaggerated statement. As time passes and the alleged victim later calms down, they usually wish to reconcile with the defendant. Unfortunately, once the police and prosecutor are involved, the victim’s change of heart becomes irrelevant and the defendant is potentially facing county jail or state prison time. Therefore, it is crucial that the defendant hire a domestic violence attorney immediately in an effort to contact the prosecution’s office and bring light to the situation and raise the proper defenses. Although it is not in the discretion of the alleged victim to drop the charges, a skilled criminal lawyer should be able to formulate a persuasive argument showing that incarceration is not a desired outcome under the circumstances and an informal resolution should be sought.
Although each criminal case is unique and gives rise to specific defenses, the criminal court remains extremely tough on domestic violence crimes and treats them all the same, trying to prosecute the defendant to the maximum extent of the law. The Stewart & Schmidlin Law Firm’s criminal defense lawyers are fully aware of the court’s approach and we fight very aggressively to protect your rights and your freedom. There are so many emotions involved and so much history between husbands and wives, boyfriends and girlfriends or relatives, and it is crucial that the court is made aware of all the specifics in order to reach a fair decision. Our domestic violence lawyers will do everything possible to defend you in these tough cases.
Domestic violence is a damaging crime to have on your criminal record because of the stigma that comes with it. Employers, members of the community or anyone else who may look into your background will not know that you may have been innocent, or you may have just been defending yourself. Instead, they will simply be informed of the domestic violence conviction and stereotype you as a spouse beater. That is why the expert criminal defense attorneys at the Stewart & Schmidlin Law Firm will fully dedicate themselves to your case in order to minimize the damage and do everything possible to avoid a domestic violence conviction. If you are charged with domestic violence, call our criminal law firm immediately so that we may give you a free consultation and guide you in the right direction and help you avoid a tragic outcome in your case.
If you want the best in knowledgeable legal representation & a criminal law firm that will treat your case with consideration and concern, please contact us at 919-300-6494 for a FREE confidential consultation.