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Building a Defense For New Haven Domestic Violence Charges

The very first thing someone charged with domestic violence needs to do is fully comply with any protective order put in place by the court. As a result of any domestic violence offense, the court will immediately issue a protective order. If the defendant violates that protective order, it harms their original case because it is an additional offense. As a result, it is important not to make the situation any worse than it already is by violating the protective order.

With that said, the next thing someone should do is hire a New Haven domestic violence attorney who will aggressively fight for them, challenge the allegations, and establish a plan suited to that particular courthouse to obtain the best possible outcome, whether that is reached through a trial or a plea bargain. The goal is to minimize the consequences as quickly and as easily as possible and an attorney who is experienced with these types of cases in New Haven can take a number of steps to ensure the strongest defense possible is being put forward.

Steps An Attorney Will Take

The very first thing that an attorney would obtain is the police reports and the statements provided to the police during the arrest and investigation, as these documents are essentially the state’s version of the case. A defense attorney will review the reports in terms of the details of what the state and complainant are claiming happened, and then begin putting together a defense.

The defense for each case is going to vary depending on the facts of each case. For example, if someone is claiming that an assault happened at 9:30 at night, but the client was at a movie theater watching a movie with another person during that time, the first thing a lawyer will want to do is get proof that the client was at that movie with another person. This may include collecting credit card statements or receipts from the movie, in addition to getting a statement from the other individual. By taking these steps the defense is able to poke holes in the complainant’s version of events, thereby demonstrating that their version did not happen.

What if There is Overwhelming Evidence Against the Defendant?

In the alternative, if this is a case where the client simply has made a mistake and the evidence is sufficient to meet the state’s burden to sustain a conviction, what an experienced attorney will do is minimize the consequences. This can be done by presenting the individual in the light most favorable to the court and the prosecutor. Very often, an attorney will recommend people engage in counseling or classes to address the underlying issue. Whether it be an anger management situation or some sort of substance abuse, a lawyer will make recommendations for the client to undergo counseling and classes so they can show how seriously they are taking the charge.

The type of case will dictate the approach we take to the defense, whatever situation it may be.

Common Defenses For Domestic Violence Cases

Every defense will dependent on the specific facts of the case.  However, the way our firm approaches any case, whether it be domestic violence or criminal in general, is a three step approach:

  • First, we determine if there are any legal defenses such as whether there a legal mechanism we can use to prevent the state from introducing a particular piece of evidence. For example, whether law enforcement had a search warrant or read the defendant their Miranda Rights.
  • The second step to any defense we put together is to check whether there are factual defenses. If a complainant is alleging that they were assaulted and we dispute those facts, we would want to put together a defense that challenges that allegation of assault. If there are witnesses or if there is an alibi defense, we work with our clients and our investigator to develop and/or find those factual defenses.  The goal is to demonstrate to the state’s attorney and court that the complainant’s version is not in fact what happened.
  • And lastly, if in fact there are no legal or factual defenses, we work with our clients to develop a social defense. The idea is to paint our clients in the light most favorable to the State’s Attorney and Court. We want to show the prosecutor and judge that our clients have addressed some of the underlying issues, and show the court that this is a one time mistake: it is not going to happen again.

Importance of a Local Attorney

By hiring a local attorney, someone charged with domestic violence is gaining an advocate who knows the court, appears in the court on a regular basis, and knows the prosecutors, judges, staff, and inner workings of the courthouse.

This allows the attorney to provide advice and knowledge about each prosecutor, thereby preparing the defendant for what they should expect in terms of procedure and pretrial resolution. Some prosecutors are better to work with than others on particular types of cases. That knowledge allows your attorney to tailor the negotiations to the case, prosecutor and judge in order to obtain a favorable outcome.

It also allows the attorney to explain what the client can expect. This insight will range from what time the particular typically takes the bench to what is a realistic outcome in your case.