How Important Are Evidence And Witnesses In Domestic Violence Cases?
The witnesses and sources of evidence in these types of cases are usually the family members (parents, spouses) or girlfriends/boyfriends. Oftentimes when the police are investigating a domestic violence assault charge between a husband and wife, they’ll ask the parties to write a statement about what happened. I always advise my clients to not write a statement if they are a suspect. A lot of times things will have calmed down by the time the case makes it in front of a judge. It could be 60-90 days down the road, and oftentimes the family has gotten back together and is working through things. Because of that, a lot of these cases do end up getting dismissed. One of the reasons for that is the fact that there is a privilege in the law for spouses. Specifically, spouses don’t have to testify against each other, so if there is a case in which a spouse doesn’t want to testify, then they will dismiss the case.
In addition, since these offenses often happen inside the home, there are not a lot of third-party witnesses, and prosecutors will take that into consideration. If two months down the road the parties have filed for a divorce and they can’t resolve their relationship, then more than likely the prosecutor will keep pressing forward with the charges. But if the victim says, “Hey, we’ve gone to counseling, we’ve worked through this issue,” then the prosecutor would be more inclined to dismiss the case or make an offer to settle the case that doesn’t involve a domestic violence charge. Instead, they could push for a lesser charge, such as disorderly conduct or disturbing the peace.
Does Someone Need To Be Actually Injured For Domestic Violence Charges To Be Made?
No injuries are required for a domestic violence charge to be made. Simply making an attempt or threatening to assault a cohabitant can result in the charges being filed.
What Are The Penalties Associated With A Domestic Violence Conviction?
The penalties and the sanctions that can be imposed under the domestic violence statute as an enhancement are similar to the regular charge, whether it’s an assault, criminal mischief or domestic violence in the presence of children. A Class B misdemeanor carries a penalty of up to $1,100 in fines and six months in jail, but I don’t see that very often. What a lot of people don’t know is that there are collateral consequences that accompany domestic violence charges. The first collateral consequence is that they are enhanceable, meaning that the penalties for future offenses are stiffer. But there are also civil penalties. For example, if you are charged with domestic violence and you want to purchase a hunting rifle to go hunting or a handgun to protect your home, you would be restricted from doing so. A lot of people don’t know that and they get caught a couple of years down the road out hunting or shooting. As a result, they face a felony charge for being a restricted person with a dangerous weapon. These are some of the things that people don’t think about when they represent themselves.
We live near an air force base, and my office is outside of an air force base. There are a lot of airmen here and people coming and going. I have seen airmen represent themselves and plead guilty to domestic violence, only to receive a letter 60 days later informing them they will be terminated from service. Part of being an airman is being a soldier and carrying a weapon. But after receiving a charge for domestic violence, it would be against federal law for them to possess a weapon. As a result, they can be forced out of the military. A lot of people think they can just pay the fine and do what the judge asks of them, but they don’t think of these consequences. They don’t realize that doing something as simple as breaking a plate during a domestic violence incident could end their career.
For more information on Evidence & Witnesses In Domestic Violence Cases, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (801) 554-5220 today.