Facing a domestic violence charge is difficult, and you might have many questions. One question most people ponder when faced with the potentially life-altering consequences of a domestic violence conviction is: What can I do to get out of it? It’s perfectly natural to want to learn more about the best defenses used for domestic violence charges.
Our criminal defense lawyers understand what you’re going through. At Gerash Steiner Blanton, P.C., we have developed an impressive track record of success. Although we have proudly received many prestigious awards, that pride pales when compared to the satisfaction we derive from successfully defending our clients’ rights against the intimidating strength of the State.
Why You Should Aggressively Defend Against Domestic Violence Allegations
There are many reasons you should try to avoid a domestic violence conviction. First, if convicted, you could go to jail or prison. Even if you avoid jail, Colorado law requires the judge to put you on probation. This probation will require you to attend a mental health evaluation and complete a domestic violence treatment program—and you must pay for it out of your pocket.
Domestic violence convictions remain on your record permanently, and subsequent convictions could lead to enhanced penalties such as lengthy prison sentences.
There are also several rights you stand to lose if you get convicted. If you are not a U.S. citizen, you could face deportation regardless of whether or not you are legally in the country. You might lose your right to own or possess firearms or ammunition, and you might lose your right to vote. Moreover, you might have to abide by a restraining order which will dictate where you can live, with whom, and how often you can see your children, if at all.
What Is the Best Defense for a Domestic Violence Charge?
Every case is unique, and the best defense for one case might not be the same as another.
Therefore, there is no “best defense” for a domestic violence case. Instead, we analyze every case to find the best defense strategy.
Presumption of Innocence
The best domestic violence charge defense might be to convince the jury that the government failed to sustain its burden of proof. Remember that you enjoy the presumption of innocence. This means that you are innocent until the State proves the allegations against you beyond a reasonable doubt. The burden of proof is on the State, which means that you have no obligation to prove or disprove anything. This literally means that you could not present a case at all, and if the State has not provided proof beyond a reasonable doubt for each element of your alleged crime—then the jury would be obligated to find you not guilty. Therefore, there are times when the State’s case is so weak that the best thing to do is remain silent and not present defense evidence at all.
The reasonable doubt defense—stating that the State did not meet its burden of proof—is a catchall defense. The strategy here is to exploit every weakness in the State’s case against you. For example, suppose the alleged victim made inconsistent statements to the police and prosecutor. Drawing the jury’s attention to these inconsistencies could help convince the jury that they cannot trust the alleged victim’s testimony.
Also, we might be able to argue that the police performed a shoddy investigation. Overworked and inexperienced police officers might make critical mistakes that call the entire investigation into question. Perhaps they didn’t pull surveillance videos or didn’t interview your neighbors. We can exploit any gaps in the evidence and ask the jury to find you not guilty because the police were sloppy or failed to follow up on other leads.
Right Not to Testify
If the State provides sufficient evidence that might lead a jury to find you guilty, you might want to submit some evidence on your behalf. You never have to take the witness stand, and quite often, your lawyer will advise you not to because it would subject you to cross-examination. On cross-examination, the State would have a chance to trip you up, and they can also introduce any prior convictions once they get you on the stand. So you can elect not to testify, and the jury cannot hold that decision against you. However, you have the right to testify and tell your side of the story. Whether or not you should testify is a strategic decision that must be made by you and your attorney.
Similarly, you could choose to call witnesses to testify on your behalf. Or, you could introduce tangible evidence of your innocence, if any exists. It depends on the case.
Motive to Lie
The alleged victim might have had a motive to lie and claim you committed a crime. Saying someone lied without pointing to a reason is not a powerful argument. But, when there is a strong motive to lie, the jury could see that the alleged victim is using the criminal justice system for revenge rather than justice. Jealousy is one of the most powerful motivators that drive people to lie and attempt to get the upper hand in their relationship, divorce, or custody proceedings.
Self-Defense or Defense of Another
Colorado law permits using reasonable force to defend oneself. In a self-defense case, you essentially admit that you committed the alleged act but claim that you defended yourself or another person. You do not have to take physical abuse. Protecting yourself is perfectly legal and within your rights.
After an arrest, domestic violence victims sometimes later admit they made a mistake and recant their story. They might decide not to cooperate with the State in an attempt to have the prosecutor dismiss the case or to avoid testifying. Sometimes this works, and sometimes it does not. The prosecutor might try to compel a reluctant alleged victim to testify. But even if that fails, if a prosecutor has enough evidence against you in the absence of the alleged victim’s testimony—they could still go forward with the case.
Call Us Today
At Gerash Steiner Blanton, P.C., we keep our caseloads small, so we can give you the attention you deserve. That’s one of the reasons we have such an impressive reputation and track record of success. Call us today or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.