Being charged with a Domestic Violence Battery can be a scary experience for several reasons. For one, the allegation alone carries with it a negative moral stigma. People immediately assume that the accused is a “wife beater,” when in fact that is very often not the case. Secondly, the accused may have to deal with negative consequences from their employer or profession. Lastly, the accused is put at risk of losing their constitutional right to own or possess a gun.
But isn’t the accused presumed innocent by the constitution? Of course. However, the reality felt by many is that they are presumed guilty and have to then prove their innocence. This is where a good defense team comes into play. The Defense lawyer, along with the help of their client and sometimes even a criminal investigator have to diligently prepare their case by gathering the facts and evidence necessary to show that the accused is innocent.
There are many defenses to a Domestic Violence Battery: 1) the accused was acting in self-defense, 2) the accused never physically touched the alleged victim, 3) if there was physical touching, it was accidental, 4) the accused put their hands on another family member or romantic partner in order to protect another person- this is called the defense of others, or 4) no domestic relationship existed between the accused and the alleged victim. Every case is different than the next and so the facts of each particular case will ultimately reveal the defense that needs to be used.
The goal with every Domestic Violence Battery case we get is to fight to get the case dismissed or reduced to a lesser charge of some sort, like “Disturbing the Peace,” for example. Often times this can be done without having to take the case to trial by negotiating with the prosecutor that is on the case. However, sometimes the negotiations may fail. At this point the case will usually proceed trial, where the prosecutor will have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that accused is guilty. It is at this time that the Defense may cross examine the prosecution’s witnesses as well as call their own witnesses. Additionally, the accused himself has the right to testify if they so choose. And in the end, the goal is to have the accused found not guilty.
People often ask me the question, “what if the alleged victim doesn’t want to press charges anymore, can the case just be dropped?” Unfortunately, the answer is no because it is not the alleged victim that is pressing charges or better yet prosecuting the accused, it is the State of Nevada through the prosecutor’s office. They are prosecuting an alleged crime that is unlawful to the State. In short, once the police get involved and someone is arrested, there is not much the alleged victim can do to stop the process.
The best defense lies in not just defending the case but rather attacking the case as well and showing the judge/jury the story about what really took place. If you or a loved one has been charged with Domestic Violence, it is important that you hire a criminal defense attorney who has not only has experience in dealing with these cases but also cares about you and the outcome of your case.
These charges aren’t to be taken lightly. They are serious and require the attention of a criminal defense lawyer who will relentlessly prepare your case so that they know it better than anyone else in the courtroom. And it is the most prepared lawyer in the courtroom that almost always prevails.
K. Ryan Helmick Esq.