What Are The Potential Defenses Available In A Domestic Violence Case?
There are a lot of defenses in these types of cases, and most of the time, the state or the city’s case is fairly weak because they generally do not have a lot of witnesses who can assist them in their prosecution. For example, if somebody gets a DUI, the police officer sees them driving poorly, conducts a traffic stop, conducts field sobriety tests and basically monitors the case from beginning to end. In a domestic violence situation, it can be quite different. Oftentimes, by the time the police arrive at the scene of the crime, whether a residence, a bar or wherever the situation occurred, most of the time the intensity of the situation has subsided so it’s no longer an active crime, and the police don’t have a whole lot to observe firsthand.
When they write their report and as the case progresses, they generally do not have a lot of witnesses. Now, depending on the relationship between the parties, oftentimes the victim and the client really just want the whole thing to go away and don’t want anything to do with it. And that can be beneficial for the client’s case because the state is going to need the other party to be active and involved in the case; and if they are not interested in having it go forward, they’ll lose their key witness. Many cases will revolve around reunification between the parties and using that to negotiate a reduction down to a diversion program or negotiate it down to a dismissal.
Self-defense can be a good defense; it is a defense where basically the client needs to admit that something happened, but the reason was due to self-defense. This is called an affirmative defense and is less commonly used; in fact, most of the time, these cases don’t actually progress that far to invoke an affirmative defense. That would happen in a more serious case where the parties are very vitriolic towards one another and can become very vindictive, but more often than not, just based on the report and based on the way that these situations unfold, there is not a lot of evidence that the state has in their possession due to the fact that the police were not able to observe anything. There may not even be 911 calls; there may be neighbors who called but didn’t actually witness anything or can’t identify the voices that they heard in a disorderly conduct case, so it’s more centered around what evidence the state can prove. And most of the time, the lack of evidence is where our best defense lies.
Why Is It Imperative To Hire An Experienced Attorney For A Domestic Violence Case?
It really comes down to having experience in different types of cases: in different courts, in different jurisdictions throughout the state. Different cities and different prosecutors have different policies, and they prosecute these cases in very different manners. For example, the city of Scottsdale can be very aggressive with these cases. They will threaten to serve clients or serve victims with subpoenas; they’ll threaten to have victims arrested and thrown in jail until the day of trial. They can be very, very aggressive with how they choose to move forward on these cases, which can be very different than in another jurisdiction, such as the city of Tempe or Phoenix where they’re not nearly as aggressive with how they treat people that come through there.
If you don’t know what prosecutor policies are in between the different jurisdictions, it’s very easy for an attorney to get bullied into taking a certain deal or encouraging their client to accept a plea of guilty or dissuade them from going to trial when, in reality, the rules of evidence and what may or may not constitute hearsay is shrouded by the prosecutors’ threats. It’s almost like a game of poker with a lot of these different jurisdictions, where they’ll claim that they’ve got all the evidence in the world and that they are going to make life very difficult for everybody involved.
But when it really comes down to it, when you’ve had enough experience with these types of cases, you know that that’s just simply not the case, so an experienced attorney is going to be able to read through these issues to make sure that nobody’s getting pushed around so their clients are not taking a deal that they shouldn’t take. Our clients can, eventually, put this all behind them, move on with their lives and not end up with a domestic violence conviction.
For more information on Defenses In A Domestic Violence Case, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (602) 833-5280 today.