The police cannot leave a domestic violence scene without arresting at least one person. And just because you were taken away by the law enforcement officers doesn’t mean that all odds are against you, and you will be convicted.
The laws on domestic violence are dynamic, and you can be acquitted even if you were the initial aggressor. Speak to a Fairfax criminal defense attorney as soon as possible, and he can turn around your situation and ensure that you get justice.
Who Do I Have to Defend Myself Against in a Domestic Violence Case?
In a domestic violence case, the police can charge you if a specific group of people reports you. Whether you live in the same residence or not, the following people can sue you for domestic violence:
- Anyone sharing a child with the defendant, regardless of their marital status
- Anyone that has cohabited with the accused within the past 12 months, and their child
The people that can only sue you for domestic violence if you share a residence include:
Is Self-Defense Applicable in a Domestic Violence Charge?
Self-defense is a commonly used defense for domestic violence cases, but you must understand the concept well to use it to your advantage. You can use proportional force to defend yourself if:
- You were being harmed, attacked, battered, or assaulted
- You had a reason to believe that you were about to be harmed, battered, or assaulted
This argument, however, may not be valid if you escalated or started the incident. Notably, if the force used was not proportional to the other person’s trigger, you may not be able to defend yourself on these grounds successfully. For example, if you are pushed out of the door, you can resist – but pulling out a gun and shooting is not justifiable in those circumstances.
Can I Use Self-Defense to Defend Myself Even if I Started the Confrontation?
If you were provoked and needed to defend yourself, you are not required to retreat. Instead, you would be expected to stand your ground and defend yourself. But what happens if you were the initial aggressor and need to defend yourself at some point? A retreat is necessary in order to use self-defense to relieve yourself of the charges.
You may have started the fight, and when the other party attacked you back, you retreated as far as possible. Probably you even expressed a desire for peace. If the other party continues to attack you even after you had abandoned the original attack, you might be justified to defend yourself from harm.
What if I Was Defending Others?
The concept of defending others is similar to self-defense. It is expected that you put yourself in the other person’s shoes and defend them like you would defend yourself in similar circumstances. This might be necessary if the person could not defend themselves from a threat or real assault, battery, or other harm.
Remember that the prosecution will try to argue against the belief that the accuser was going to harm the other person was unreasonable. But with proper legal representation, you can provide evidence to support your stand.
What Happens if I Was Defending My Property?
You can use this defense if a family member, an in-law, someone you share a child with, or a partner you cohabited with within the last 12 months breaks or tries to break into your home, business, or car. Their intent must have been to damage your property for this argument to be successful. But if you aren’t sure about it, talk to a Fairfax domestic violence lawyer for advice.
Can Consent Be Used as a Defense?
You can argue that the contact was not unwanted if the accuser gave implied or explicit consent. But make sure that you contact a Fairfax domestic violence attorney before using this defense.
Can My Domestic Violence Be Dropped If the Arrest Was Unlawful?
Failure by the police to follow the correct procedure can be used as a defense too. You can argue that:
- Your rights were violated during the arrest
- The arrest was made without probable cause
- The search was done without probable cause
This can suppress the pieces of evidence collected, and your experienced assault and battery attorney in Fairfax, VA, can negotiate for dismissal or lesser charges.
How Can an Alibi Help in a Domestic Violence Case?
If someone who resembles you assaults or batters a person you know, they are highly likely to think it was you. Your only defense would be to produce an alibi of where you were at the time to show that it wasn’t you.
What Kinds of Threats Validate a Physical Reaction?
Your actions may not be justified if you stabbed, punched, or hit someone because they threatened future harm. Physical force to repel an attack can only be used when it is necessary. And just because you were afraid cannot justify using force against another person; there has to be fear of immediate harm on yourself or another person.
Remember, the magnitude of the threat needs to match the kind of force you used against the other party. For instance, using deadly force to counter mere threats of bodily harm may not be acceptable. You cannot lawfully use deadly force unless there was an imminent threat of death or great bodily harm.
Apart from the threat, the other party needs to have acted in a manner that implied a present danger to someone’s safety. This can then give you sufficient reason to have imminent fear of severe bodily harm. With a skillful legal defense, you can convince the jury or the prosecution that what you did was justified.
A Seasoned DV Attorney Fighting for You
Being arrested on domestic violence charges is a frightening experience for a lot of people, but you don’t have to be scared because help is just a phone call away. Failure to get skilled and experienced legal representation is risking your freedom.
You can rely on the expertise of criminal defense attorney Scott C. Nolan if you are anywhere in Northern Virginia, in Fairfax, or near Fairfax. Call (703) 223-8883 for a high-quality defense that can save you from trouble.