Top 5 Mistakes Defendants Make After an Arrest for Domestic Violence
The laws in New York are designed to harshly and forcefully deal with an individual charged with domestic violence. This isn’t always fair to the defendant, but it is considered necessary to protect victims. Therefore, providing a strong defense to domestic violence is necessary and missteps by a defendant can be difficult for a defense lawyer to overcome.
When arrested and charged with domestic violence, help your own case by avoiding these 5 common mistakes that defendants make after arrest for domestic violence.
Pleading Guilty Just to Leave Jail
Many defendants will enter a plea of guilty or no contest in order to leave jail the morning after an arrest for domestic violence. In New York a guilty plea an only be withdrawn under limited circumstances. These instances are few and far between when it comes to domestic violence. Therefore, a determination to plead no contest or guilty when charged with domestic violence should only be made upon consultation with a criminal defense lawyer.
Speaking with a Detective or Officer without a Lawyer
After arresting an individual for domestic violence, a police officer or detective sometimes offers to hear the defendant’s side of the story. This can be an informal invitation to visit the station or more formally a request to make a statement. Anything said to the police between an arrest and trial should be done in the presence of a lawyer. The police and prosecutor will only use information provided by the defendant to augment a victim’s statement or support physical evidence of the incident. There is no positive outcome for the defendant.
Under no circumstance, should you ever agree to speak with a police officer from the NYPD or a detective without your lawyer present and able to consult with you prior to, and during, any questioning.
Breaking an Order of Protection
At the time of your arraignment, or afterwards by request of a victim, an Order of Protection WILL be put in place that limits the contact a defendant can have with the victim. The restrictions in an Order of Protection can vary based on the request of the victim and other circumstances surrounding the domestic violence charges.
In many instances in NYC, a defendant is prohibited from contacting the victim at all. This applies to all forms of communication, including email, phone, letter, text message, or messages sent by other people. Other orders will restrict a defendant from entering the home or property where the victim lives, even if that is also the defendant’s home. This can seem unfair, but breaking an Order of Protection is a huge mistake that can have negative consequences at a trial, in sentencing, and carry additional charges against a defendant. In NYC, if you are caught violating a protective order, you will be charged with a Contempt of Court for violating the protective order.
Believing the Charges Will Go Away
After an arrest for domestic violence it is a common occurrence for the victim to decide not to press charges. When this happens, the person charged with domestic violence may believe that the charges will go away. This is not the case. Even if a defendant’s partner or spouse has decided not to press charges, in New York the police or prosecutor can decide not to dismiss the case. The case may continue without the victim’s agreement to testify or cooperate with the police, and if the case is strong enough through other evidence the defendant will still be convicted of domestic violence.
In Queens, to help streamline the cooperation of an alleged victim, the prosecutor will email a document to the alleged victim asking them to read the document sent by email and if they agree with it, they can check a box. This “checking” of the box is enough to constitute a desire to go forward with the prosecution of the defendant.
Ignore Issues Underlying the Charges
Often a defendant will say things such as, “I just want the trial to be over and move on,” or, “once this is over, it will be like it never happened.” While this thinking can help a defendant remain collected during trial and sentencing, it is the wrong approach for solving the issues that caused a domestic disturbance to occur, even if the defendant is not guilty of the domestic violence charges.
After an arrest it is important to consider ending a relationship, setting different boundaries with your partner, or taking an anger management class. Any steps that will prevent another incident in the future are helpful and should be considered.
However, the main issue that needs to be dealt with is the underlying criminal case at hand. This is the thing that will continue to haunt you both professionally, and personally, if the case is not handled properly.
Contact a Defense Lawyer
If you were arrested for domestic violence in New York, it is necessary to hire a qualified defense lawyer. At Greco Neyland Attorneys at Law, our lawyers and legal team are prepared to provide a strong defense to charges of domestic violence. Contact our office 24 hours a day at (212) 951-1300.
The information in this blog post (“Post”) is provided for general informational purposes only, and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information contained in this Post should be construed as legal advice from Greco Neyland Attorneys at Law or the individual author, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter.
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