Following an arrest, it is crucial that an individual gets ahold of a criminal lawyer to protect the individual's rights and that nothing happens to challenge them. In the criminal system, failing to understand one's rights can have just as bad of consequences as failing to enforce them. That is why it is beneficial for the individual to have someone on his or her side that understand the law, rights afforded to the individual and how to preserve them at all times.
For example, if one speaks with law enforcement without an attorney present then the individual is waving his or her Miranda Rights. What an individual says will be used against him or her and can contribute to the conviction. If the individual explains that he or she did not understand that he or she has the right to an attorney will not typically be enough to erase what was said; unless the rights were not read at the time of arrest. Therefore, one should not wait to hire an attorney but do so immediately.
Domestic violence charges can be complicated because it often comes down to what he said versus what she said situation. Domestic violence typically takes place behind closed doors so there are very rarely witnesses or people to back up what was done. Because of this, the skill level of the attorney can directly impact the outcome of the case, as can the skill of the prosecuting attorney representing a significant other. Hiring an attorney from the beginning will give an individual the best opportunity for gathering the evidence necessary to demonstrate his or her innocence or to at least create reasonable doubt.
As a criminal attorney, we will begin by asking a variety of questions to learn everything we can about the incident in question and life leading up to it. Sometimes domestic violence charges are based on an argument that got out of control with both parties resorting to escalation and potential violence. In this case, we may want to show that the incident was simply a moment of passion, where both parties were passionate, and nothing further.
We will also call on witnesses that can speak to the client's character and past behavior. People like the client's teachers, colleagues, friends, pastor, etc.. can often speak to the client's nature and how they do not see the client as a violent person. These character witnesses are often not enough to prove innocence but they do help when it comes to sentencing. However, if there are any eye-witnesses, we will want to speak with them and potentially put them on the stand.
We work to preserve our client’s rights with the aim of proving their innocence whenever possible. However, in domestic violence cases, there is often more at stake. For example, if anyone has children and is convicted of domestic violence then the individual's visitation may be restricted or even eliminated, depending on the nature of the conviction. Since this is a criminal charge, a conviction will also go on a permanent record. Being diligent to gather evidence and build a strong case for your innocence is, therefore, critical to your future.
To discuss what happened and your rights in greater detail, call our office and meet with a criminal lawyer.