When you face domestic violence charges, you must choose your response very carefully. Domestic violence convictions not only affect your freedoms, they may also impact your reputation in devastating ways.
It is crucial to choose your defense carefully. The legal grounds you can use for your defense may vary greatly depending on the nature of the allegations against you, but it is necessary to begin building this defense as soon as you can, to protect your rights and freedoms.
Can you plausibly deny the allegations?
In some instances, you may have grounds to claim that you did not actually commit any or some of the acts alleged in your charges. If your accuser claimed that you attacked him or her, when you did not, you may be able to build a strong defense by demonstrating why the accuser told the lie. For instance, your accuser may have confused you with someone else, or lied to get revenge on you over a personal conflict.
Consider any evidence that you can think of to indicate that your accuser's claims are not factual, including:
- Documentation that proves you were elsewhere when the attack occurred
- Witness testimony
- Inconsistencies in the accuser's claims
Were your actions justified?
It is also possible that you did commit some act of violence, but believe that your actions were legally justified. This may include actions taken in self defense, or in the defense of others, or violence committed with the other party's consent.
Self-defense or the defense of others is a viable option, but only if it meets certain standards. A strong defense claim should:
- Prove that you feared an imminent threat
- Prove that you used proportional force
- Prove that you were not the initial aggressor in the conflict
It is also possible that your act of domestic violence was a part of consensual interaction with the other party. If you and the other party had an agreement that included consensual physical violence, you must find a way to demonstrate the existence of this agreement.
Use all the tools you have
You must begin building your defense as soon as possible, regardless of the substance of the charges, because the prosecution is certainly already building its case against you. Your future rights and freedom, as well as many of your personal and professional relationships, may depend on the strength of the defense that you build.