How to Get Help with a Domestic Violence Charge
If you or someone you know is facing a domestic violence charge, then you will probably need help. Under our system of law, everyone is entitled to legal counsel – at least for now. So, getting a lawyer who can help to walk you through the process is important. Part of the problem with a domestic violence charge is the stigma. This is largely because it covers such a large category of disturbances. If you are faced with a situation like this, then here are some things you need to know about getting help with a domestic violence charge.
First off, our system of law classifies crimes are misdemeanors and felonies. While misdemeanors are the less serious of the two, it is not a good idea to try and handle the charges on your own. Get a lawyer and protect your rights.
Another thing you know about domestic violence is that almost every offense can be labeled as such. Domestic violence is an umbrella which covers crimes between two people who are currently, or previously had been, in a relationship. A good example of this is harassment which is considered a third-class misdemeanor in most states.
As you can imagine the laws also categorize degrees of bodily or property damage. This does not mean that throwing a rock through someone’s window is less illegal than a more violent act. However, it does mean that the law is not a one size fits all proposition.
Did you know that the court process begins the moment you are charged with a domestic violence offense? In fact, this is another reason why you should get a lawyer who knows the court where you are to be arraigned and is familiar with the laws of your state. For example, if you are facing a domestic violence charge in Nashville, then you will probably want to retain a local firm like Horst Law to help.
Don’t delay. Many counties have placed domestic violence charges on a ‘fast track’. While there are several reasons for this, the result is that your trial will start in 60 days or less. All the more reason to have a lawyer who knows the lay of the land as they can work on your behalf to work out a settlement with the prosecutor, or they can prepare you for the trial.
However, this brings up a few things you need to know. First, don’t take the first offer from the prosecutor, especially if it is your first offense. Second, follow the rules of the protective order strictly. If not, then you risk re-arrest and this would take you out of the figurative frying pan and into the fire. Even if something it not listed in the protection order, don’t assume it is ok. Instead, ask your lawyer first, or better yet, let your lawyer handle it.
Third, get pictures of any injuries as these can help to prove self-defense, which may be considered a reasonable defense depending on the specifics of your case. Lastly, don’t talk to anyone about your case. Remember your friends or family can be call as witnesses and you don’t want to tell them something which could have a negative impact on your case.
Regardless of whether you are granted bail or not, you will want to sit with your lawyer and map out your defense and how it will be presented. This include what information you lawyer will need to successfully defend you as well as reviewing the basis of the prosecution's charges for inconsistencies.
Remember you are innocent until proven guilty, but while justice is blind it is not always fair. Even if you can’t afford the most expensive lawyer in your area, you want to get a lawyer who has enough resources to properly defend you.
Domestic violence covers a wide-ranging list of offenses, so it is important to know your rights and what is in your best interest. Don’t take the prosecutor's first offer, but do follow the terms of the protective order. In addition, take photos of any personal or property damage as this will help you to prove self-defense and lastly, mums the word as you don’t want to say anything which can come back to haunt you in court.
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