Domestic Violence and Assault

Crimes Involving Domestic Violence

It is a common misconception that domestic violence is a separate crime.  However, a domestic violence charge is not a separate crime, but rather it is a sentencing enhancer that can be added to other crimes such as assault, battery, harassment, and the like.  A domestic violence charge can be added to any crime where there is evidence of a current or previous intimate relationship between you and the alleged victim, and where the police officer or prosecutor believes the crime was committed to retaliate against the alleged victim.

Domestic violence charges often include assault, menacing/making threats, criminal mischief/damaging property, stalking, harassment, restraining order/protection order violations, and even child abuse.   In fact, simply making multiple, unwanted telephone calls or sending multiple, unwanted texts to the alleged victim may be sufficient to support a charge of harassment or domestic violence.

Crimes involving domestic violence are easy to charge, but may be very difficult for the prosecution to prove.  It does not take visible injuries, multiple witnesses, or any physical evidence for such a charge to be made.  Further, the “violence” need not be actual physical contact, and as stated above, unwanted phone calls and text messages can even be enough to warrant a domestic violence charge.  In addition, words, such as threats, or more often statements interpreted by police and district attorneys as threats, can lead to a domestic violence charge if you merely imply that physical harm is going to occur.

Adding to the complexity of domestic violence charges is the fact that crimes involving domestic violence are often alleged to have occurred behind closed doors, where there are no witnesses other than the alleged victim and the accused.  The “he said/she said” nature of these types of cases make them even more difficult for the prosecution to prove.  Not surprisingly, domestic violence is frequently overcharged, with several different charges shoehorned into the case by overzealous law enforcement officials to intimidate the accused into a quick guilty plea.

For these reasons, it is important that you hire an experienced domestic violence defense attorney to protect your rights.  Call Bloch & Chapleau today to speak to our domestic violence attorneys about your case.

Consequences of a Domestic Violence Conviction

A Domestic Violence conviction can result in long-term domestic violence treatment, with weekly classes and therapy sessions.  In addition, a Domestic Violence conviction involving assault can result in the termination of your right to possess a firearm, even for hunting.  In the event divorce proceedings are initiated and you have children, a Domestic Violence conviction can have drastic implications on your parenting rights, including limited or even costly supervised parenting time with your children.

Crimes involving domestic violence are usually processed on what is called the “fast track.”  After the mandatory arrest, the prosecutor will immediately make you a guilty plea offer that would allow you to get out of jail, but will result in years of undesirable consequences down the road.  Often the incentive of obtaining a release from jail can influence you into making an ill-advised guilty plea.  Also, a mandatory restraining order is put in place at your first appearance in Court.  This restraining order may forcibly restrain you from your home, prevent you from using any drugs or alcohol, prohibit you from possessing a firearm, and bar you from having any contact whatsoever with the alleged victim – even if the alleged victim initiates contact.  Because the “fast track” process moves quickly at the beginning of a Domestic Violence case, it is imperative that you have an experienced Domestic Violence attorney on your side from the outset.

The criminal defense attorneys at Bloch & Chapleau, LLC have years of experience defending domestic violence charges.  Contact Bloch & Chapleau immediately if you are facing a domestic violence charge to ensure your rights are protected.