If you have been accused of domestic violence, it is imperative that you take those accusations seriously because in today’s social and legal climate, a conviction for domestic violence carries serious potential consequences with it. If you are new to the criminal justice system, you are probably feeling confused and worried about your future. The most important thing you can do for yourself and for your future if you are facing domestic violence charges is to retain the services of an experienced Nebraska criminal defense attorney. One concern you likely have is how your criminal defense lawyer will defend the charges against you. Because each prosecution involves a unique set of facts and circumstances, the only way to know exactly how your attorney plans to defend you in your specific case; however, there are some common strategies a criminal defense lawyer may use when defending accusations of domestic violence.
Domestic Violence Then and Now
It was not all that long ago that domestic violence was largely swept under the carpet. The law typically ignored accusations involving domestic abuse unless the injuries were serious and society considered it a “private affair.” In short, no one wanted to get involved unless the batterer put the victim in the hospital – and even then it was often ignored. Over the last several decades, however, a very public campaign has been underway to educate the public, law enforcement, and even the courts about the prevalence of domestic abuse in the United States. Slowly, both public opinion and law enforcement policies began to change. Now, many law enforcement agencies have policies that all but require someone to be arrested when they are called out to a domestic violence call. Moreover, an alleged victim is often required to do nothing more than sign a statement accusing someone of abuse and a protective order will be issued and criminal charges contemplated. In essence, the pendulum has swung to the other side at this point.
Defenses to Domestic Violence
The only way to know what defense strategy is likely to work in your specific case is to consult with an experienced Nebraska criminal defense lawyer; however, the following are examples of common strategies used by attorneys to defend allegations of domestic abuse:
- It didn’t happen – this one is simple enough to explain. The defendant claims that the alleged abuse never occurred. Of course, this strategy only works when there are no obvious signs of abuse and no clear injuries to the alleged victim. In other words – in a “he said – she said” case.
- It was self-defense – there is domestic abuse and then there are arguments. True domestic violence involves a batterer and a victim. An argument, on the other hand, is just that – and argument. Arguments are rarely one-sided. Arguments can get out of hand. One defense strategy is that both the alleged victim and the accused were arguing and that the alleged victim actually attacked the accused. The accused, therefore, was only protecting himself/herself from the attack, making it self-defense. This only works if it is believable that the alleged victim engaged in the fighting.
- He/she has an ulterior motive – sadly, false accusations involving domestic violence are fairly common anymore. People make these false accusations out of spite, to tip the scales in their favor in a custody battle, or for a variety of other reasons. If an ulterior motive exists, it could provide a solid defense.
- Victim recants – this is not truly a “defense.” People often think that the alleged victim has the ability to simply “drop the charges.” Not true. The State of Nebraska prosecutes cases, not victims. Therefore, the alleged victim cannot decide to drop the charges; however, if the alleged victim recants, or otherwise fails to cooperate with the prosecution, it could lead to a dismissal of the charges. DO NOT attempt to communicate with the alleged victim yourself though as it will likely violate a court order to stay away from him/her. Let your attorney handle any attempts at communication.
If you have been charged with domestic violence in the State of Nebraska it is certainly in your best interest to consult with an experienced Nebraska criminal defense lawyer right away. In Nebraska contact Petersen Criminal Defense Law 24 hours a day at 402-509-8070 to discuss your case with an experienced criminal defense attorney.