Domestic violence cases need an attorney experienced with family troubles. It isn’t rare that things get out of hand and lead to police at the doorstep. Whether your spouse called the police or someone else, it’s essential to know what happens in domestic violence cases. Here’s what to expect:
- The timeline of events;
- Possible outcomes; And
- How a domestic violence attorney can help and why you shouldn’t take the chance without one.
A Domestic Violence Timeline of Events
Couples often get into arguments, especially true when there’s alcohol involved. These arguments range from a minor disagreement over what’s for dinner to more severe events involving violence.
Someone ends up calling the police. Maybe a spouse, yourself, or a neighbor. Most of the time, if the police come to your house for a domestic violence report, then they’re usually going to arrest someone.
When law enforcement is called to a residence for domestic violence, police separate the parties and speak to all present witnesses. They look for bruising, injuries, or anything that will support the victim’s story. When police find bruising or injuries, they will arrest the other party and charge them with domestic assault.
The police will then transport the defendant to their initial appearance to determine if they will release them pending trial. However, the Commissioners are generally instructed not to release a criminal defendant facing domestic violence charges.
If the defendant is not released, a bail review hearing is held in District Court the next business day.
Please remember that you have a right to have an attorney present whenever you’re in front of a judge. Domestic violence cases have higher stakes for the sake of public safety.
Possible Consequences to a Domestic Violence Charge
A domestic violence conviction can result in numerous consequences, such as:
- Restitution payments (monetary compensation to plaintiff)
- Deportation for immigrants
- Inability to carry firearms
- Loss of professional licenses
- Loss of reputation
Charges related to domestic violence stem from assault. A defendant faces two types of charges: first-degree assault, intentionally causing serious physical injury, strangulation, or committing assault with a firearm. Second-degree assault is less severe but still involves harming the victim. Punishments are harsher for those accused of domestic violence when a child is present.
First-degree assault is punishable by up to 25 years in jail. Second-degree assault, which is technically a misdemeanor, is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $2,500 fine. The court will look at injuries, hospital stays, medical treatments, and any disabilities to determine the type of sentencing the accused will face.
If accused of domestic violence, many things come into play. There are groups within the courts, liaisons, who try to help victims, and it causes significant issues in marriages and families.
Domestic Violence Lawyers Are a Necessity
Domestic violence cases can be tricky. It is a public safety issue that law enforcement understandably takes very seriously. But, not everyone accused is guilty. And not every form of domestic violence is the same.
Law enforcement is known to resist allowing the defendant any freedom before a court can prove their innocence. Every step of the way, an excellent domestic violence lawyer will be on your side and fighting for you.
Whether something is wrong with your bail, the court case itself, or anything else, a good lawyer shows up every time they don’t agree with a judge, not just at a hearing or the final trial.
An experienced lawyer will likely already have a relationship with separate judges and can give you a realistic expectation of how the case will progress. Because they’ll know the judges, it may be slightly easier to have motions passed in your favor.
Since you can get so many punishments, your lawyer will need to work extra hard to prove your case.
With the extensive list of consequences for a domestic violence conviction, a lawyer needs to understand your background and anticipate what the court may institute as a consequence. Or know what they can negotiate.
Some people are okay with a fine but need to keep their job. Others are worried about deportation. Whatever the case, your lawyer is a middleman between you and a judge. They are there to speak on your behalf while ensuring that what you want is legally possible. Make sure you get a lawyer who is in it for the long haul and will work to bring you the best solution.
On a personal level, your lawyer should keep you in the loop with what’s going on to answer your questions whenever you need them to.
Good Domestic Violence Lawyers Are More of a Necessity
The difference between a successful lawyer and an unsuccessful lawyer is knowing what parts of a case they can and can’t negotiate. Many inexperienced domestic violence lawyers argue the facts and attempt to “try” the bail review case. Judges get impatient with such arguments and disregard the attorney’s statements.
An experienced domestic violence attorney knows only to argue why their client is not a flight risk nor a threat to the victim or society and that they should be released.
Trying to disprove evidence is an entirely different battle than providing past examples of character.
Most people will think of the result and not even realize how many little details there are in the law. Good lawyers will make you aware of these and catch little things early on so that a trial either doesn’t need to happen or happens as quickly as possible.
At The Law Office of James E. Crawford, Jr. & Associates, LLC, we don’t only worry about our clients but also their families. We are up to date with all of the current Maryland laws regarding domestic violence, and that’s just the starting point. Please schedule a free initial consultation to see how we can help you or your loved one get out of this situation.