Hiring the Right Attorney is Crucial to Your Freedom!
Very few attorneys focus on fighting domestic violence allegations. Many lawyers represent clients with assault charges. These lawyers will handle such cases in addition to a general criminal defense practice. Domestic cases are different from the typical criminal charge and must be handled differently!
Consider the Following in Hiring the Right Attorney:
LENGTH of PRACTICE & EXPERIENCE
A domestic violence allegation can only be defended successfully by an attorney with significant trial experience and specifically with domestic assault cases. The accused is not in a position to have inexperienced counsel.
Unfortunately, the police, family advocacy center personnel, and the public will consider you to be guilty. For one charged with family violence, it is important to act immediately. The accused must prove their innocence! An attorney who does not begin an all out defense at the very beginning is wasting valuable time and compromising your future.
There is no “home field advantage” in a domestic violence case. Do not shy away from a good attorney who is located in a different county from where you are being charged. Judges are elected politicians. Judges do not get re-elected if the public views them as soft on domestic violence. It makes no difference how well a local attorney knows the judge; it will not be of any assistance with this type of charge. An “outsider” who does not care about making the judge or prosecutor happy, but just wants to defend you and win, is much better than a local name.
REJECT PLEA BARGAINS
A false allegation of domestic violence must be beaten through either a dismissal or an acquittal (not guilty finding) at a jury trial. There is no victory in a plea bargain with these cases. The innocent person’s life will be drastically degraded by pleading guilty. At no time in dealing with a false allegation should there ever be an admission of guilt. A plea bargain may seem an easy way out, but it will ruin the life of the falsely accused forever.
Deferred Adjudication, Straight Probation, Being Released from Jail or a Conviction All Result in a Finding of Family Violence.
A deferred adjudication or sentence, successfully served will not result in a conviction for the defendant. However, the lack of a formal conviction is meaningless. Whether the accused receives deferred, straight probation, or is released from jail, he will still have a criminal record and a finding of family violence. These records are public and the nature of the charges can and will be made known to anyone. Family violence findings may result in the loss of employment and the inability to secure future meaningful employment especially if you require a security clearance or carry a weapon in your line of work.
Community supervision for the defendant will require battering intervention program counseling. In this setting, the offender is required to admit that not only the actual charge is true, but also any extraneous charges or allegations made in police or advocacy center reports are true. It matters not that the charge is exaggerated, untrue, or only partially true. It matters not that the extraneous other charges did not occur. Failure to admit that everything alleged is true will result in a revocation of community supervision and incarceration.
The prosecution will tempt the inexperienced defense attorney with offers of deferred adjudication and “counseling” instead of incarceration. Do not fall for this pretense. Even aside from the lifetime penalties involved, it can be difficult to complete probation as the rules keep changing. Making community supervision more difficult for family violence offenders is a legislative reality. Politicians continue to enact new laws, that offer the appearance of fighting domestic violence. No lobby group exists for persons charged with domestic abuse and the legislature can make the community supervision process intolerable without significant opposition.
A Finding of Family Violence Will Often Mean That You Will Lose Your Children
The Domestic Violence Defense Team at Dunham & Jones is well aware of the costs to your future associated with a plea bargain. We are prepared to vigorously defend you at any stage of your case. Contact our office to ensure your freedom, family, and livelihood.
PREPARE A VIGOROUS PRE-CHARGE DEFENSE TO AVOID PROSECUTION
If an attorney says to wait and see if you are formally charged; walk away immediately; the best time to get a dismissal is before a formal charge.
Many times the best method of winning a false allegation case is to defeat it before it officially starts. Evidence can be collected pre-charge by the defense that does not have to meet the standards of admissible evidence at trial. The defense can produce typically inadmissible evidence such as polygraph examination results, character letters, and other forms of hearsay. The defense can also offer expert-witness reports and affidavits explaining the unreliability and tainted evidence procured by the prosecution.
Here are some common examples of evidence that can be assessed for a charge dismissal packet:
- Your Criminal History
- Honorable Discharge
- Education Records
- Polygraph Results
- Polygraph report
- Psychological and Personality Testing of Client
- A Factual Summary of the Defense Version of the Case
- Sworn Statements that the Alleged Victim has Made False Accusations in the Past
- Legal Research and Case Law to Show Reason to Not Indict
- Good character letters
- Availability of defendant and others to testify if requested.
- Recantations from alleged victims when available.
- Expert-witness testimony and affidavits regarding tainted evidence comprising the States’ case.
- Test results showing the accused does not have the psychological characteristics of a batterer.
If your attorney insists that pursuing a pre-charge defense is a waste of time, fire him.
At Dunham & Jones, we are experienced in defending Domestic Violence cases. We have successfully cleared our client’s names by presenting vigorous defenses to the Grand Jury resulting in a “no bill”. If you believe that charges might be filed against you for Domestic Violence, the best time to act is NOW! Contact Us Immediately to schedule an appointment.
PREPARE A VIGOROUS DEFENSE FOR TRIAL
If the prosecutor accepts the charge, then the case must be prepared for trial. It is rare for the state to dismiss a case once they have formally filed an assault charge. Your attorney must be prepared to try these specific types of cases to a jury.
Selection of the jury is critical for domestic violence cases.
The potential jurors come into the case with heavy emotional attachments regarding allegations of abuse to a spouse or intimate partner. Strong emotions held by jurors about domestic violence must be overcome and their attention placed on being fair and acknowledging that false allegations are made. The jury panel must understand the serious potential for injustice a false allegation can cause.
In addition, the defense attorney must educate the jury panel on how false allegations could be made. The panel needs to understand how an alleged victim can make false and exaggerated statements and what motivation exists to do so.
The attorney must be well skilled in cross-examination to show deficiencies in the state’s investigation through a preconceived assumption of guilt shared amongst the advocacy team. Cross-examination is a skill obtainable only through years of trial practice itself.
The attorney must also be prepared to offer strong defense witnesses. Contrary to many criminal cases, the accused must testify in a domestic violence case if the defense wants an acquittal. Until the jury hears it straight from the accused’s mouth that the abuse did not occur, it will convict.
Our Domestic Violence Defense Team has years of trial experience with a proven track record of obtaining acquittals for our clients. If you are facing a charge of Domestic Violence contact Dunham & Jones, Attorneys at Law today to schedule a consultation.