Domestic violence encompasses a wide umbrella and includes accusations that can tear you and your family apart for years. This broad area of the law generally concerns matters where one partner in an intimate or familial relationship abuses another partner. The relationship itself, however, does not need to be by blood or even romantic. Rather, domestic violence charges also encompass abuse between in-laws, children, roommates, or ex-partners.
Often, a domestic violence investigation will begin where one individual in the relationship calls law enforcement and alleges abuse by another. Following this initial report, domestic violence officers will collect evidence by way of witness statements, medical records, communications, documentation concerning past abuse, photographs, and video surveillance.
In New York, once one individual in a domestic partnership makes a report, officers will issue an arrest warrant for the other person. This takes place even where much of the investigation and facts are still unfolding. If you are contacted by a domestic violence detective to “speak” about these accusations, rest assured that an arrest warrant exists and that your statements will be used against you when prosecuted. Instead, contact and hire a high-level defense attorney immediately to represent you at this early juncture.
Domestic violence charges may be based on an alleged assault, sexual assault, harassment, stalking, kidnapping, obstruction of breathing, or other verbal and physical abuse. Even a threat or menacing can lead to serious charges carrying prison time.
If you are accused of committing a domestic violence crime, the family court or criminal court that handles your case will issue an order of protection, also known as a restraining order. This will require a person to limit certain activities. You may be legally barred from contacting or being physically close to another person or space. This order will remain in effect during the pendency of the case and may be extended up to five years as the matter comes to a resolution. Only an experienced domestic violence lawyer can help you with domestic violence charges.
Domestic violence accusations, perhaps above all other areas of criminal law, requires a careful yet aggressive counter-investigation. The moment you realize you are being investigated for domestic violence, hire an experienced defense attorney to protect you and to begin fighting back. Crucially, at the earliest stages, your attorney will be able to interview key witnesses, find exculpatory communications between you and your accuser, and gather other critical evidence to strategically release to a prosecutor or even a jury deciding your fate.
If you are being prosecuted for domestic violence charges, hire a former prosecutor and seasoned defense attorney who has dealt with these accusations on both sides of the courtroom. Being charged within the domestic violence umbrella is extremely serious, and if mishandled, you and your family may be impacted for years.
What your defense attorney does in the face of these accusations, by way of investigation and creative advocacy, will both increase your chances of successfully walking away from these accusations and shape the rest of your life.
The sooner you put your case in the hands of an experienced criminal defense lawyer, the more likely your matter will end favorably.