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Last Updated on: 15th December 2023, 08:23 pm
How Long Island Criminal Defense Lawyers Can Help Reduce or Dismiss Domestic Violence Charges
Domestic violence charges are no joke. They carry heavy penalties like jail time, fines, probation, restraining orders – the works. And even if you aren’t convicted, just being arrested can seriously impact your life with effects on jobs, housing, child custody, and more.
Luckily, experienced Long Island criminal defense lawyers know how to mount an aggressive defense against these allegations. With smart legal strategies, there are often good options for getting charges reduced or even dismissed. This article will break down some of the best ways lawyers help clients in domestic violence cases.
First Things First – The 911 Call
A domestic dispute boiling over into a 911 call sets this legal rollercoaster in motion. But right from the start, there may be opportunities to reduce or dismiss the charges.
For one, lawyers can challenge the accuracy of statements made during the call. In the heat of the moment, facts get blurred. The alleged victim may exaggerate claims of violence due to anger, confusion, misinterpretation, or intoxication.
By analyzing the 911 call and police reports, lawyers can highlight inconsistencies and question the reliability of accusations. If the alleged victim made clearly false statements, it undermines their credibility, making dismissal more likely.
The Victim Wants to Drop Charges
Often with domestic cases, tempers cool and parties reconcile quickly. The alleged victim may regret calling the police or never intended their partner to get arrested. They simply wanted to diffuse the argument in the moment.
In calmer states of mind, the victim may want to drop charges. But that’s not so simple. The government views domestic violence seriously and pursues prosecution even without victim cooperation.
Still, when victims recant accusations or refuse to testify, the case against defendants weakens drastically. Skilled lawyers use this to argue for dismissal, highlighting how continued prosecution defies victims’ wishes.
No Visible Injuries
Domestic violence charges require the prosecution to prove the defendant used physical force against their partner. But frequently there’s little evidence of actual violence.
Law enforcement takes accusations of domestic abuse at face value. They’ll make arrests even without signs of injury, property damage, or independent witnesses.
When the alleged victim has no visible wounds, photos, medical records, or other proof they suffered harm, lawyers can argue the physical force element is unmet. With reasonable doubt of violence, charges often get dismissed.
Even when an altercation did turn physical, defendants may have legal justifications like self-defense. Under self-defense laws, you can use reasonable force to protect yourself from imminent harm.
To succeed with this defense and get charges dismissed, lawyers must show:
- Defendants reasonably feared physical injury
- Imminent danger existed
- Defendants used necessary force
By interviewing witnesses and scrutinizing the alleged victim’s size, strength and aggression levels compared to defendants, lawyers build strong self-defense claims.
If evidence shows defendants faced credible threats of harm and reacted instinctively to protect themselves, charges should be dropped.
Mental Health & Substance Abuse Factors
Many domestic incidents involve mental health issues like PTSD, anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder. There may also be alcohol or drug abuse influencing behaviors.
When psychiatric problems or substance use are significant factors, lawyers can advocate for counseling, therapy or rehab instead of jail and fines.
By presenting evidence of defendants’ mental health struggles and showing treatment better serves justice, reduced or dismissed charges become realistic outcomes.
Weak Police Investigations
Sloppy police work is another avenue for getting domestic charges dropped. Due to biases around domestic violence, officers sometimes rush investigations, failing to gather exculpatory evidence.
When police don’t interview witnesses, don’t collect physical evidence properly, or write inadequate reports, lawyers can challenge the quality of the state’s case.
By exposing doubts raised by incomplete police investigations, dismissal motions become stronger.
Statute of Limitations Expired
In New York, prosecutors have just two years to file misdemeanor charges and five years for felony domestic violence charges after alleged incidents.
When arrests happen well after the fact, the statute of limitations may already be up. Defense lawyers can then file motions to dismiss based on expired statutes.
If charges won’t get dropped completely, diversion programs provide alternative paths to dismissal.
These programs allow defendants to take rehabilitative steps like counseling, community service, or probation in exchange for avoiding conviction. By completing diversion requirements, charges then get dismissed and sealed from public records.
While diversion programs still demand significant commitments from defendants, they allow avoidance of harsher penalties.
The Importance of an Experienced Lawyer
As shown above, skilled criminal defense lawyers have many strategies for dismissing, reducing, or diverting domestic violence charges. But achieving positive outcomes requires in-depth legal knowledge and negotiating tact.
That’s why anyone facing accusations of domestic violence needs an experienced attorney in their corner.
At [insert firm name], our Long Island criminal defense lawyers offer sharp legal minds, tough negotiating skills, and compassion for clients. We dig deep into the details of each unique case, seeking every opportunity to get charges dropped or reduced.
Domestic violence allegations often arise from complex relationship issues and mental health struggles rather than criminal intentions. So we advocate passionately for diversion programs and counseling-based resolutions tailored to our clients’ situations.
If you or a loved one faces accusations of domestic abuse, don’t go it alone. Call [insert phone #] or contact us online for a free consultation with our defense lawyers. During this strategy session, we’ll assess your case factors and lay out a detailed plan for overcoming the charges.
With an aggressive defense from our legal team, many options exist for diffusing domestic violence cases favorably. Don’t wait to give yourself the best chance at a positive outcome.