Domestic violence is a criminal act that the government is keen on eradicating, and it takes it seriously. However, every criminal suspect is innocent until proven guilty. Therefore, if you have been charged with domestic violence, use the following tactics to defend yourself:
Ask For a Continuance
Domestic violence cases are usually dispensed of very fast. This is good from the victim's point of view, especially if the allegations are true. Unfortunately, it isn't good for you if you are the accused. The faster you go to trial the less time you have to prepare your defense, which weakens your case. A continuance gives you the chance to gather evidence and prepare your defense.
Prove That It Was Self-Defense
Nobody has the right to beat you up, not even your spouse; you have the right to self-defense. Therefore, if your partner is accusing you of domestic violence, you can win your case by proving that you were actually defending yourself. As usual, mere claims of self-defense won't suffice; you have to prove all the elements of self-defense. This means you need to prove that
- The threat was imminent—for example, your spouse grabbed a knife to stab you.
- A reasonable person would have feared for their safety.
- You attempted to avoid the violence—although, this depends on your state's law because some states allow you to stand your ground when threatened.
- You responded with proportional force—for example, you don't shoot a person who is slapping you.
Prove that the Case Doesn't Meet the Threshold for Domestic Violence
Not every altercation at home meets the definition of domestic violence. Domestic violence is a pattern of abuse used to control an intimate partner, child, cohabiter, or family member. It includes many different forms of abuse, including emotional, psychological, and financial abuse.
Unfortunately, the protection offered to victims of domestic abuse is susceptible to abuse from those who aren't actually victims of domestic violence. For example, your partner may accuse you of domestic violence after engaging in a heated argument with you. Since courts don't require proof when domestic violence charges are being filed, you can be charged with only your spouse's word. During the hearing, however, you may be able to prove that what occurred between you doesn't meet the threshold for domestic violence definition.
Domestic violence is a serious crime; don't try to defend it on your own even if you are sure of your innocence; the ramifications of a false conviction are too serious if you lose. Consider contacting a criminal defense attorney like those at Abom & Kutulakis LLP.