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What Are Some Potential Defenses Against Domestic Violence Charges?

December 24, 2021

Although most people picture domestic violence as an incident between romantic partners, any time there is an altercation involving people who are related who reside in the same home, these charges can be filed. Domestic violence charges are especially serious, because standard policy is to book people accused of domestic violence into jail. People who are convicted of domestic violence face significant penalties that have long-lasting implications, and prosecutors can move forward with cases even if the accuser refuses to cooperate. If you are charged with domestic violence, you should immediately call a criminal defense attorney and start working on fighting your case. These are some of the defenses commonly used in domestic violence cases. 

The accusations are not true.

One of the most common defenses for domestic violence charges is that the allegations are simply not true. You may claim that the arresting officers misunderstood the situation, that the accuser fabricated the story, or that you have been mistaken for someone else. If you use this defense, your lawyer will try to find evidence that you were not at the scene or that the injuries that the accuser has does not match the complaint. This defense is most effective if you have an alibi or if your story aligns with the police report more closely than the accuser’s does. 

The injuries were an accident.

With this defense, you are confirming that the accuser was injured through your actions, but that the actions were not intentional. For instance, if you were having an argument and knocked something off a counter that hit and injured the accuser, you may claim that you didn’t intend for the item to fall. Your criminal defense attorney may consider things like the severity of the injury to show, for example, that the injuries suggest that the item from the counter fell and was not thrown with intentional force. 

I was defending myself. 

If you were not the person who started the abusive confrontation, then this is a possible defense your attorney may suggest. This defense may also apply if you claim to have been defending a minor from violence. For evidence to support this defense, your attorney will consider your injuries, the statement made by the accuser, and any statements made by witnesses. The scene of the incident may also offer evidence of your self-defense claim. It is important to realize that, even if the person who has accused you of violence also uses violence against you, if he or she can prove that they did so because you were threatening or have a history of violence, using this defense may be challenging. 

The incident cannot be proven in court. 

Although domestic violence cases can move forward in court even if the accuser refuses to take part in the prosecution, not having the accuser’s testimony may mean that the prosecutor cannot meet the burden of proof. Inconsistencies in statements, unwillingness of arresting officers to testify, and other challenges may also mean that the prosecution simply cannot prove beyond a reasonable doubt what happened, which may cause the case to be dropped before you go to trial. Your criminal defense attorney may attempt to argue that the evidence doesn’t support the charges so that the case is dismissed. 

The accuser’s behavior caused the incident.

This defense doesn’t apply in the sense that being angered by someone’s actions is an acceptable defense to violence. Rather, this defense is used when the accuser behaves in a manner that causes you to use violence due to actions against children or a medical condition that impacts behavior. This defense can be difficult to quantify in some cases and will require evidence of the accuser’s behavior that allegedly caused you to respond in a violent way. Your criminal defense attorney will look for evidence that supports that angle or evidence that the case revolves exclusively around verbal accusations without physical proof. 

The arrest violated your rights. 

If the police did something during the investigation that violated your rights, such as failing to advise you of your Miranda rights, failing to record an interrogation, or entering your home without probable cause, you don’t need a defense to the charges. The case will not proceed because your rights were not protected. This is one of the reasons it is so important to have a criminal defense attorney at your side from the very beginning of your case. 

Janet Altschuler has experience in providing powerful defenses against domestic violence, and she will fight for your rights from the moment you call her Tucson law office. When you need a criminal defense attorney, call (520) 247-1789 for a case consultation, 24 hours per day.

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