Domestic violence spans a wide range of topics, a fact that many people find surprising. The commonality between cases is that they all occur between members of the same household or family. The intimate relationship between most domestic violence survivors and their abusers is key to categorizing the case.
Many individuals believe that this area of law only deals with physical violence, but this is not true. Domestic violence cases can involve other kinds of abuse and mistreatment inside the home. Common types of domestic violence cases include:
- Intimidation and emotional abuse
- Sexual abuse such as rape or assault
- Financial abuse such as withholding money
- Verbal abuse such as threats, put-downs, and coercion
- Controlling behaviors
- Physical abuse such as punching, pushing, hitting, kicking, etc.
Some of these areas are more difficult to disprove than others. For example, emotional abuse can be challenging to prove because it may happen in private, face-to-face conversations. In addition, there is often no track record of this abuse, yet the prosecution can still accuse the defendant.
Any domestic abuse is grounds for criminal charges. Even if it seems like the prosecution can’t prove the abuse, you can still be charged under the right circumstances.
Why Do I Need a Riverside Criminal Defense Lawyer?
When you face domestic violence charges in Riverside, you may be tempted to fight the case on your own. Even if you believe that the prosecution has no grounds to charge you, navigating the legal system without a lawyer is not a good idea. The prosecution often will assemble more evidence than you expect, which can lead to maximum charges if you do not have the proper attorney.
A Riverside criminal defense attorney can help you display your side of the story. So often, domestic violence cases are misinterpreted, or there is more to the situation than meets the eye. For instance, if you acted in self-defense, the prosecution should not be able to charge you. However, the prosecution will not mention how their client may have been involved in the violence as well. That is the job of your defense attorney.
Remember, the stakes for these cases are incredibly high. Along with a restraining order and divorce (if applicable), you can face jail time, loss of custody and visitation rights, and the inability to find a job or place to live. In addition, tenants and bosses do not generally look kindly on individuals charged with domestic violence, meaning they will pass over your application in search of another.
What Does a Domestic Lawyer Do?
Family law cases are complicated, especially when domestic violence is involved. Family is important to most people, and emotions run high in court. Your Riverside domestic violence attorney’s job is to make sure that you are fairly represented in court. Though the situation in question may have been questionable, when the judge hears both sides of the story, they may see that the case is more nuanced than previously thought. Your domestic lawyer is present to protect your reputation and ensure that your voice is heard.
To do this, a Riverside domestic violence attorney will speak with you about what happened. You can, and should, talk candidly with your attorney; no matter what you say, they are legally and ethically bound to keep your best interests at heart. Therefore, you must tell them the whole story so they can begin to build a case.
Your attorney will also help you keep track of paperwork and deadlines and brief you about what will happen in court. In addition, they should inform you of your rights and keep you up to date about your odds of winning your case.
What Are the Steps in a Domestic Violence Case?
Unlike many court cases, domestic violence cases often have a straightforward process to them. Of course, extenuating circumstances can alter this process a bit. However, for the most part, you can expect to see these steps in your Riverside domestic violence claim:
- Initial Claim, Investigation, and Potential ArrestThis stage is where the alleged victim may call 911 and report the alleged abuser for their actions. The police will make an initial investigation and might recommend that the alleged victim get a temporary restraining order against the alleged abuser. The police may arrest the latter individual if there is sufficient proof that they have perpetrated abuse.
- ArraignmentThis phase is usually used to inform the accused of the charges, their rights, and how they can plead. The options are “guilty” or “not guilty.” “Guilty” is not advisable because it is irreversible. The accused can later opt for a “not guilty” plea depending on the plea bargain.
- Plea BargainingDuring this phase, the defendant (the accused) and their attorney will discuss the case at length. Then, based on the evidence, the defendant’s attorney may negotiate a plea deal with the prosecution (the alleged victim). This usually occurs when the defendant has little hope in court, and a plea deal lessens the punishment without allowing the defendant to escape all consequences.
- TrialIf the attorneys do not agree on a plea deal or the defendant’s attorney is confident in their innocence, the case may go to trial. This is where a judge and jury decide the fate of the defendant.
During this process, the defendant may be held in jail, released on bail, or released on a promise to appear. This generally depends on the circumstances of the charges, the defendant’s criminal record, and their legal representation.
How Do Most Domestic Violence Cases End?
As we have established, these cases are full of nuance. In many situations, the domestic violence case is the defendant’s first encounter with the law or serious criminal charges. This means that in more cases than not, the defendant is not charged at all, and the case is dismissed.
However, in serious cases where the defendant inflicted intense damage, is a repeat offender, or has otherwise had run-ins with the law, the results can be very different. With enough proof and a good enough story, the prosecution can land the defendant with significant charges and serious consequences. Even though most domestic violence cases end without severe consequences, it is essential to understand that severe consequences are possible. Always side with caution and a good Riverside domestic violence attorney.
Talk to a Riverside Criminal Defense Attorney at My SoCal Lawyers Today
In all scenarios, it is best to protect yourself with an attorney who can help preserve your life and reputation. Here at My SoCal Lawyers, we specialize in giving defendants second chances after they’ve been accused. We understand that domestic violence cases are rarely straightforward, and we are passionate about ensuring that every client gets a fair and equal chance in court. No one should suffer lifelong consequences over a disagreement or a vindictive charge. We can help protect you.
For more information about how we can help, or schedule a consultation, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today.