From the moment you are arrested for domestic violence, every choice you make has the potential to influence the outcome of your case. It is important that you act quickly and take the following steps so you can have the best possible chance to successfully defend yourself against these serious criminal charges.
1. Do Not Resist Arrest
If you are being arrested, you may have an urge to resist the police attempting to put you in custody. You must put those feelings aside and cooperate. If you resist arrest, you could face additional charges against you that might result in a jail sentence even if you are found not guilty of domestic violence charges.
2. Remain Silent and Hire an Attorney
Few events in life are as stressful and confusing as being arrested for a serious crime. People under that stress have a tendency to speak too freely to law enforcement because they are convinced that they can show they are innocent.
Do not fall into this trap. You should never speak to a law enforcement officer about the facts of a case unless your experienced criminal defense attorney tells you to do so. Instead, exercise your right to remain silent and hire an attorney. The sooner you hire an attorney to act on your behalf, the more effective your attorney can be.
3. Obey Any Restraining Order Against You
It is common for the alleged victim in a domestic violence case to seek a restraining order against the defendant. If the court issues such an order, you could be required to immediately stay away from the alleged victim. You can be required to have no communication at all with the alleged victim or other persons – such as your children – who may be included in the restraining order.
Failing to abide by a restraining order is a separate crime. The consequences of violating a restraining order include:
- Time in jail or prison
- Fines; and
- Loss of custody or visitation rights with your children
You must obey the restraining order until the court determines you do not have to.
4. Work With Your Attorney to Terminate the Restraining Order
The best way to fight a domestic violence restraining order is to challenge it in court. The same court that issued the restraining order can terminate that order. For that to happen, your attorney must show:
- The law upon which the injunction was granted has changed;
- There is a material change in the circumstances of the case; or
- Justice would be served by terminating the restraining order
There could be changes in the case that warrant the court to reconsider the restraining order. For example, the restraining order is affecting your employment or the alleged victim has indicated he or she wants to reconcile with you and does not feel threatened by your presence. Your attorney can use these facts to show the court that the restraining order should be terminated.
However, in many cases before a judge will lift a restraining order against you, you will have to prove you have attended anger-management classes. In addition, some judges will want to see proof that the alleged victim has attended victim protection classes.
5. Speak Freely With Your Attorney
Many criminal defendants have been convicted because they did not tell their attorney the “full story.” In domestic violence cases, this lack of trust in the attorney is often caused by embarrassment over the charges. In cases where the domestic violence charge is a result of self-defense, the defendant believes that if he or she tells the whole story, their “victim” could be charged with a crime, and they want to protect him or her.
It is often a mistake to withhold information from your lawyer. By not providing your lawyer with the facts of your case, you run the risk of your attorney not being able to prepare a strong defense for you. Remember, your attorney is bound to keep communications with you confidential, so there is no danger that your conversation will become public unless you and your lawyer belief it is in your best interest to reveal those facts to the prosecution in an attempt to have the charges reduced or dismissed.
Contact the Domestic Violence Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich Right Away
A domestic violence arrest can make your life extremely difficult. That is why you should speak to a skilled attorney immediately if you are accused of domestic violence. At Wallin & Klarich, we have more than 35 years of experience successfully defending people facing domestic violence charges. Let us help you now.
With offices in Orange County, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Riverside, Victorville, West Covina, San Diego and Torrance, there is a Wallin & Klarich attorney experienced in domestic violence defense available near you no matter where you work or live.
Call us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will get through this together.