Getting Legal Advice in Allen County IN After a DV Charge

by | Aug 23, 2016 | Lawyers

Domestic violence or DV is a crime such as battery, assault, criminal harassment or stalking perpetrated by one family member against another. Some jurisdictions have separate statutes for DV and general assault. In other areas, a defendant is charged with general assault and battery, and punishment is enhanced if the state can document that the victim is a household member.

Defenses to DV Charges

A person facing domestic violence charges needs legal advice in Allen County IN, and they can defend themselves in two ways. They can attempt to prove that the state lacks evidence, or they and an attorney can offer a defense that absolves them of liability. These defenses are explained in detail below.

Poking Holes in the Prosecution’s Case

In all criminal cases, prosecutors must prove beyond reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the act and had the intent necessary to constitute a crime. These are the elements of a crime, and for DV, the below elements must be proven.

* The victim was a member of a protected class. For instance, most areas protect current and past spouses and household members 18 and over, those with whom the perpetrator has children or those in a dating relationship. If this defense is applied successfully, it may reduce the severity of the punishment, but it will not absolve the defendant of all liability.

* The act occurred. Sometimes, defendants and attorneys try to prove that the victim made up the entire story. This defense is unlikely to work if the victim can substantiate a claim based on physical evidence.

* The prosecutor must fulfill other elements. In areas enhancing punishments for DV, the prosecutor must prove every element of the act. Unless all elements are proven beyond reasonable doubt, the defendant may be acquitted.

Affirmative Defenses

DV defendants may claim that their actions arose from self-defense and that the alleged victim is the aggressor. EMTs and other first responders encounter this situation, and police are often left to decide on and arrest the aggressor. At trial, the defendant and his or her attorney can raise the issue and try to prove that the charges arose from a justified response to the alleged victim’s aggression. If a person is facing DV charges, they should check out to get legal advice in Allen County IN.

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