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If you are arrested for allegedly committing domestic violence, you could be facing serious time in jail or prison if convicted. And after serving your sentence you could be placed on probation and endure close scrutiny and loss of certain rights. Your post-imprisonment future could also be jeopardized by a conviction, such as difficulty getting a job.
Absolutely. Your first consideration must be your defense. The risk you are taking without benefit of an attorney experienced in this area of law is not worth the money saved by representing yourself.
Your attorney will assess the facts of the event and determine if criminal domestic violence under the law did occur. Sometimes an argument between partners or spouses can get out of hand and tempers can flare without elevating to criminal status, but may seem criminal to the alleged victim who had you arrested.
For example, one spouse or partner in an angry moment pushes the other off balance, and the other pushes back forcefully. That is bad behavior but it does not rise to criminal domestic violence under the law.
To earn a conviction for criminal domestic violence, the state must prove an act of violence did occur, such as an assault, criminal restraint, or stalking.
Generally, only two defenses are available to you: Self-defense, meaning you were protecting yourself, and de minimis, which means the act was so trivial it cannot be considered a criminal offense.
Your attorney, based on the facts and evidence of the event and witness testimony, can:
However, if your action during the event does meet the legal standard of criminal domestic violence, your attorney can present mitigating factors that may reduce the seriousness of the offense or the punishment.
Your attorney also can negotiate a plea bargain with the prosecutors, meaning you will be allowed to plead guilty to a lesser charge and serve a reduced sentence.