Divorce can bring up all kinds of intense emotions and situations. When one spouse is arrested for domestic violence as divorce is proceeding, it often requires the experience of a seasoned family law and criminal defense attorney, like a criminal defense attorney in Fairfax, VA, to protect the accused. Perhaps something happened that was a complete misunderstanding or one spouse falsely accused the other of harming them as a way to seek revenge. Winning a domestic violence case necessitates skilled legal representation.
Domestic Violence Laws
The laws for domestic violence can vary by state, so it’s key that you consult with a lawyer for information about how your state laws can impact the charge against you. For instance, there may not be just a single statute that deems domestic violence a crime. Behavior that may be categorized as domestic violence can include pushing, shoving, grabbing someone by the wrist, threats, intimidation, blocking a door during an argument, and harassment. Domestic violence may be defined as:
- Crimes against an elder or adults that are dependent
- Crimes against children (under the age of 18)
- Crimes against current or past partners
- Crimes against a co-habitant
File a Motion to Dismiss Case
With a legal motion, this is a formal request for the judge to take action by law. Based on the circumstances of what happened, your lawyer may recommend filing a motion to dismiss, motion to limit liability of client, or motion to suppress evidence. It is imperative to the outcome of your case that you respond immediately to the domestic violence accusation, versus waiting to see how this may impact your divorce settlement.
Create a Character Packet
Your lawyer may feel that it is influential to prepare a character packet that persuades the judge into viewing you in a different light. After hearing about the arrest, the judge may view you as unsafe and unfit to parent if you have shared children. The repercussions for this judgement of character can be detrimental to your case.
A character packet will highlight your good behavior, lack of criminal record, and facts about the incident that question the validity of the other spouse’s claims. The intention of a character packet is to show that the accused is not a criminal and doesn’t deserve the repercussions associated with a domestic violence charge.
Challenging Evidence from the Prosecution
Charges of a criminal nature are commonly filed with only one side of the story. Your lawyer can scrutinize the facts the prosecution has provided, along with investigating the incident further to see if any evidence that supports your side of the story can be uncovered. Your lawyer may also hire expert witnesses or medical professionals if they feel this can help discredit the claims that your soon-to-be ex spouse has filed against you. The sooner you hire a lawyer, the more time they will have to work on your case before having to show up in front of a judge about the domestic violence arrest.
Thanks to May Law, LLP for their insight into how your lawyer can help with a false domestic violence claim during your divorce.