DC Domestic Violence Defense Strategies

Due to the impact that this offense can have on both your personal and professional life, it is important to have a strong defense strategy when facing domestic violence charges. When a person has been charged with a domestic violence offense, there are inherent complications to facing these kinds of charges because there is sometimes a lengthy history between a defendant and the accuser or the defendant and the accuser’s family, and those relationships and that history can make these cases very complicated.

This strategy begins with exercising your right to remain silent, to avoid incriminating yourself, and then involves consulting with an attorney as soon as possible after an accusation or arrest has taken place. Once these preliminary steps are taken, an experienced DC domestic violence lawyer can then begin to look at the specific facts and circumstances surrounding your case and help build a strong defense.

Important Background Information

When an attorney understands the background between people, it can help them understand the motivations of the parties involved and it can help them get a full context for the criminal charges. The one thing that an attorney will always have to do is help guide a person to ensure that they are focusing on challenging the criminal allegations made against them as opposed to challenging or litigating their history with an accuser. This is one defense strategy in a DC domestic violence case.

In many domestic violence cases, people want to have conversations discussing the entirety of the history between them and their significant other who is the complainant in their case. People want to talk about unfaithfulness from their partner or any number of other unfaithful characteristics of their accuser.

These factors and these facts are riddled into their case but sometimes they are just stressed out. They are stressed out because of the history with their accuser. They are stressed out because of the situation that they are being put in. They are confused and they are scared, and they need someone to hear them out. That can be important but sometimes it can also be a distraction from the real situation at hand, which is defending against the allegations made by the prosecutor, not defending against or litigating the history between the parties. It is important for an attorney to try and keep individuals focused and be there to keep them oriented towards minimizing potential consequences.

Common Defenses in Domestic Violence Cases

Self-defense is a very common defense in criminal cases, especially domestic violence cases. In DC a person is entitled to use self-defense if they have a reasonable belief that they are in imminent danger of bodily harm. However, the amount of force must be reasonable in relation to the danger.

For instance, if two guys are yelling back and forth at each other in a bar over a football game and one guy gets so frustrated that he punches the other guy in a face, this is not a situation where he can claim self-defense. A verbal argument does not give the person reasonable ground to believe that he is in imminent danger of bodily harm from the other person. Therefore, the guy who punched the second guy would not be entitled to a self-defense argument.

However, if during the argument at the bar, one guy picked up a beer bottle and lunged at the second guy, the second guy would be entitled to use a reasonable amount of force, so long as he believes that he was in imminent danger of bodily harm.

Defense of Others

In addition to self-defense, defense of others is another available defense in DC. To be entitled to a “defense of others” defense, you must have reasonable grounds to believe that the other person is in imminent danger of bodily harm. Just like self-defense, even if the person has reasonable grounds, they can only use a reasonable amount of force. In other words, the amount of force must be reasonable in relation to the threat.

Evidence for a Domestic Violence Defense

Any evidence that reveals bias of the complaining witness or cuts against the complaining witnesses’ credibility is very helpful in preparing a defense because the complaining witness is the crucial witness in the prosecution’s case. If the complaining witness is the only witness in the prosecution’s case, then evidence of bias or evidence showing that a witness is not credible becomes even more important. Witnesses who can provide evidence that corroborate their story of what happened are also extremely important.

Benefits of a Lawyer in Defense Preparation

A local attorney will be in the best position to help prepare a defense in a domestic violence case. A local attorney will have experience defending domestic violence in DC Superior Court, in front of DC judges, and experience negotiating with the local prosecutors. An attorney may also be able to explain what to expect during the legal process and advise their client during an investigation.