Whether it’s harassment, assault/battery, stalking, terroristic threats or other domestic violence related charges, criminal defense attorneys often find themselves in tough positions handling these sensitive matters. Domestic violence comes in all forms and the defendant is often facing serious consequences. These matters require great knowledge of the law along with concern and care for the defendant and their family situation.
Often times the defendant will need anger management/behavior counseling. They can lose their employment and if they are the primary or only financial provider for their family, it puts the entire family in an unfortunate position. It is not uncommon for the alleged victim to file for a restraining order that removes the defendant from the home and prevents them from seeing their children. Domestic violence as a whole is tough for families to deal with and can be a reoccurring cycle that gets worse over time.
That is why it is important for attorneys to collect and review discovery carefully and make decisions based on what is best for the defendant and often their family as a whole. Dispositions in these cases vary and many matters never see a trial. If all parties agree to the terms, these matters can often be resolved with counseling for an extended period of time and an eventual dismissal. In some states diversion programs are offered where the charges are dismissed if the defendant completes a period of successful probation. Some courts offer abeyances in minor domestic violence matters where the charges will be amended or dismissed if after a “cooling off” period of 90-180 days there are no further incidents between the parties.
Keep in mind that many people charged with domestic violence are first time offenders and have never been in trouble a day in their life. One argument between spouses, one wrong decision, one moment where someone acts out of character is all it takes to be charged criminally in a domestic violence related matter. On the other hand, there are often persistent offenders where a dismissal is completely off the table and serious jail-time is at stake. These matters often go to trial and it is important to review police dispatch audio, police reports, photos, and witness statements before determining if a trial is the route to go.
It is an attorney’s duty not only to get the best possible result for their client in their criminal matter, but to also have their client rehabilitated in matters where it is clear the defendant needs help/counseling. Consult with an experienced professional to represent you such as the Criminal Defense Attorney Somerset NJ locals have been turning to for years.
Thanks to authors at Roberts & Teeter LLC for their insight into criminal defense law.