Domestic Violence is an assault that is alleged to have occurred between persons who have a domestic relationship. This charge is pursued vigorously by prosecutors, often despite the wishes of a complaining witness. Domestic Violence charges can range from misdemeanor to felony charges, each carrying not only substantive penalties, but also possible collateral consequences affecting rights to own or possess firearms and the ability of non-citizens to remain in the United States.
Those charged with Domestic Violence quickly realize how differently these cases are treated by the criminal justice system. Mandatory arrests, swift and severe bond conditions, such as preventing a return to your home or having contact with your significant other or children, are common.
Domestic Violence FAQs:
My significant other wants to drop the charges. Do I even need a lawyer?
Most prosecuting agencies maintain a "go forward" policy in DV cases, meaning they will pursue and continue prosecution despite any stated desire by a complaining witness to "drop charges." The moving party in a DV case is the People of the State of Michigan, not the alleged victim. Only the prosecutor, therefore, has authority to dismiss its case. The go forward policy is rooted in the belief that most true victims of domestic assaults will be inclined to protect their batterers and, therefore, require additional guidance and protection. Many police officers, prosecutors, judges and others view domestic violence as a stepping-stone to homicide. An experienced and capable lawyer's intervention is crucial in defending these cases and withstanding the resources of the government.
I've been charged with Domestic Violence but I didn't start the altercation. Can I press charges too?
The short answer is "no." Prosecutors won't typically charge both sides of a dispute and once a charging decision has been rendered, it's extremely unlikely to be reversed. But that doesn't mean that conduct can't be used to defend your case. A person is privileged to use reasonable physical force to defend themselves from harm. Moreover, an initial aggressor may not have been truthful to the police at the time their statement was rendered and that could lead to defenses and other legal privileges.
What do the Best Domestic Violence Defense Attorneys do to defend a case?
Ethically, lawyers cannot and should not make claims about themselves such as being “the best.” Instead, lawyers should stand on their experience, ratings, reputation, and results. The best practices for Domestic Violence defense include: intimate knowledge of the local courts and participants; a thorough confidential client interview; obtaining all case discovery including in-car and body-cam police video, audio dispatch recordings, 9-1-1 audio recordings, interviewing any witnesses, preparing a client for the courtroom, and the ability to present a case in court in pretrial motion hearings and trial.
In over 35 years of criminal defense practice, Joseph A. Simon has helped hundreds of people charged with Domestic Violence charges, aggressively, ethically, and successfully defending these charges and obtaining victories at trial.
Contact our firm at 734-887-6200 to see why so many people in Washtenaw, Wayne, Lenawee and Jackson counties have chosen Ann Arbor criminal defense attorney Joseph A. Simon to be their Domestic Violence defense attorney and protect their freedom and reputation.