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Law Firm of Aaron Bortel

Explaining The Domestic Violence Process


The nature of domestic violence is that of a serious violent crime coupled with aggressive behavior from one person injuring another repeatedly. Bodily harm to various degrees is the outcome of these crimes, and as a consequence thereof the perpetrator may be arrested, charged with a violent crime and possibly convicted.

Compensation may be obtained by victims that can prove a personal claim or domestic violence case because domestic violence is considered an intentional crime in nature. Though criminal cases may convict the accused person, this only punishes him or her by law and does not ensure compensation is obtained for any injuries or treatment that is needed by the victim.

In the instance wherein a person is charged with domestic violence, he or she is usually subjected to a protective order being placed on the reset of the family or those residing in the same household. This is issued by the court and may be modified if necessary. New charges are often the outcome if the court ordered protection is violated. It is important to maintain distance from those protected, and the accused should not have any contact with those in the home unless executed by a lawyer.

First Steps after Arrest

After an arrest has been made to the accuse person, the arraignment then takes place. This is where allegations are issued and the person on trial issues a plea. After consulting with a criminal defense lawyer, a guilty or not guilty plea is entered. At any point in the process, the defendant can decide to change his or her plea from not guilty to guilty. A criminal defense lawyer is best to be hired as counsel in order to assist with these proceedings and to help as to what to do at each step.

After the arraignment, new court dates are set and then the criminal defense lawyer will start taking all necessary steps in defending the accused. The first date that comes to pass will be set as pre-trial negotiations. This is where the hired legal representative discusses the case facts, criminal history of the defendant, the victim’s history, any injuries that were sustained and other factors related to the case.

Facts of the case may need to be investigated by the lawyer in order to determine potential defenses. Witnesses are contacted that understand the relationship of the accused and the victim, those with personal relationships with the defendant, persons who witness the alleged crimes and anyone that may have favorable comments about the accused party’s character are all usually interviewed for the defense.

What to Provide the Lawyer

It is always best to provide any and all possible favorable information that may be used in negotiations when counseling with the criminal defense lawyer. This includes any history of violence the victim has against the defendant, any false accusations that were made by the alleged victim, psychological illnesses or drug addictions and other similar behaviors that may explain the events in a different context. False accusations, in some cases, may have been lodged against the defendant. In order to immediately defend against them, it is vital to know about these concerns. Any additional information that has not been shared up to this point should be explained to legal counsel to ensure a better outcome.

Jury Trial

The accused of domestic violence crimes have the right to a jury trial. When various jury members hear evidence and testimony both against and for the defendant, jury trials may take several days to weeks. The officer that arrested the defending party as well as any other law enforcement that investigated the accused is used to testify along with the party considered the victim or victims. Those persons present at the scene are called to testify, and the criminal defense lawyer uses others to assist in testimony on the defendant’s behalf. Evidence may be submitted, including police reports, photos of the injuries and scientific evidence.

Before, during or after the jury trial, a plea bargain offer may be made. It is vital to understand any such offers and whether jail or prison time will be issued, if probation will be required and whether there are any other consequences such as immigration consequences.

Potential Penalties

The defendant may be subject to a number of criminal penalties if a plea agreement is not accepted and if the defendant is convicted. These include jail time, domestic violence counseling, fines, various fees, probation and the issuance of a protective order. Additionally, the defendant will likely lose his or her Second Amendment rights and be required to forfeit all firearms.

There may be custody issues involving his or her children. For more severe cases some states may involve the Department of Child and Family Services when children are involved, and the convicted person usually has to appear in a family court that has additional penalties or punishments available.

About the Author:

Andrew Emerson of Emerson Law is one of the top family law & divorce attorneys in St. Petersburg, Florida. He offers free initial consultations on matters such as divorce, child custody, and domestic violence.

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About the Author

Aaron Bortel is a Lawyer in the San Francisco Bay Area. He’s been a Criminal Defense attorney for over 25 years whose practice is dedicated exclusively to DUI law. He has offices in Marin County and San Francisco and defends his clients in all Bay Area Courts and at DMV.