Facing charges for domestic violence? Relationships can be intense, especially if you're having a heated argument. Perhaps you lost control of your emotions and acted in an aggressive manner. Maybe the other party acted out of anger and exaggerated the facts of the incident. Either way, once you're arrested, the matter is in the hands of the police and the prosecution. If they move forward with charges, you could face serious penalties, including jail time, fines, and a permanent stain on your criminal record.
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to minimize the penalties or even avoid prosecution altogether. Perhaps the two biggest steps you can take after arrest are to post bail and hire an attorney. However, there are also other things you can do. Below are a few tips to consider:
Stay away from the other party. Your initial instinct after making bail may be to see your partner and try to work things out. Perhaps you live together and you want to return to your residence. Maybe you want to apologize and move past the issue. While all of these feelings make sense, they're usually not the best course of action. The other party may have gotten a restraining order. Even if they haven't, your attempts to see them may be viewed as harassment and could be used against you in court. Give them space for a bit to see how things work it. It's possible you could reconcile, but wait to see if they contact you first.
See if the other party is willing to sign an affidavit of non-prosecution. It's common for domestic violence accusers to have a change of heart. They may feel that the whole thing was blown out of proportion or they may realize that they were also at fault in the argument. Some simply want to move on with their lives. Unfortunately, once an arrest happens, the matter is in the prosecution's hands. Even if an accuser changes their mind, the prosecution could still move forward.
However, you could have the accuser sign an affidavit of non-prosecution, which is basically a document that says they don't want the prosecution to move forward. The prosecution isn't obligated to go along with this document, but they may choose to drop charges if they know the accuser isn't open to cooperation. Have your attorney reach out to the accuser about this issue though. If you reach out yourself, it could be viewed as harassment.
Look into plea bargain options. No one wants to see a domestic violence charge go to trial, and that includes the prosecution team and the judge. If it looks like charges will move forward, consider your plea options. If you're willing to spare everyone the time and expense of a trial, the prosecution may be willing to reduce the charges. The same is true if you have strong evidence in your defense that makes a conviction less certain. Also consider a plea in abeyance, in which you plead guilty, but that plea is withheld while you complete counseling or community service. Once you complete your obligations, the charges are dropped.
Your first step should probably be to meet with a domestic violence attorney at a law firm like The Law Offices Of Jesse P Duran. They can help you navigate the charges and find the right outcome.