There was a time in the United States when accusations of domestic abuse were largely swept under the proverbial rug, both by the authorities and by society. Today, however, accusations of domestic violence is taken very seriously. If you have been accused of domestic violence in the State of Nebraska it is imperative that take the charges seriously and that you mount a defense because a conviction could have far-reaching and long-lasting negative consequences. As the defendant in a domestic assault prosecution, you will undoubtedly want to know how a criminal attorney will defend the charges against you.
The Domestic Violence Laws in Nebraska
First, and foremost, it is important to understand what the law says is prohibited in the State of Nebraska. That, in turn, tells the prosecuting attorney what he/she must prove to secure a conviction and what your defense attorney must defend.
Nebraska Revised Statute Section 28-323 is where the crime of domestic assault can be found, reading as follows:
(1) A person commits the offense of domestic assault in the third degree if he or she:
(a) Intentionally and knowingly causes bodily injury to his or her intimate partner;
(b) Threatens an intimate partner with imminent bodily injury; or
(c) Threatens an intimate partner in a menacing manner.
(2) A person commits the offense of domestic assault in the second degree if he or she intentionally and knowingly causes bodily injury to his or her intimate partner with a dangerous instrument.
(3) A person commits the offense of domestic assault in the first degree if he or she intentionally and knowingly causes serious bodily injury to his or her intimate partner.
What Your Criminal Attorney Will Likely Consider
Although the precise facts and circumstances will be different in every domestic violence case; however, there are also often similarities. Therefore, there are some common defense tactics as well, such as:
- Is the alleged victim an “intimate partner”? The State must prove each and every element of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt, including that the alleged victim was an intimate partner at the time. In Nebraska, an intimate partner is defined as a spouse, former spouse, person with whom the abuser has children, or a person whom the abuser is dating or has dated in the past.
- Can the State prove that there was an injury or threat? If the alleged victim was physically injured, there may be visible proof of the injuries; however, the State must still prove that you caused the injury. If the charge is based on a threat, and the alleged threat was made verbally, the State may find it difficult to prove its case. Often it comes down to a “he said, she said” situation.
- What is the alleged victim’s motivation? There are numerous cases of genuine domestic abuse; however, there are also a handful of cases where the alleged victim files a false report because he/she is angry or hurt over something the accused has done. For this reason, your criminal attorney will likely explore any potential motives for the alleged victim in your case to make a false claim of abuse.
- Has the alleged victim changed his/her mind about prosecuting? Sometimes, a defendant and the alleged victim “make up” after the arrest. When that happens, the alleged victim wants to “drop the charges.” The problem with that is that the victim does not decide whether to prosecute a case or not, the State does. If the alleged victim in your case does not want to cooperate with the prosecution, however, your attorney can likely use that information to your advantage.
If you have been charged with domestic abuse in the State of Nebraska it is certainly in your best interest to consult with an experienced criminal attorney right away to discuss what defenses might be available to you. In Nebraska contact Petersen Criminal Defense Law 24 hours a day at 402-509-8070.