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Categories of Defense in a Domestic Violence Case

Categories of Defense in a Domestic Violence Case

Domestic violence, domestic abuse and intimate partner violence all refer to the same type of behavior that has been defined in law as criminal, involving the use of violence or threat of it to control an intimate partner. The abuse is not always physical. It can be financial, emotional, sexual, psychological and similar. Victims tend to be affected by fear, shame, humiliation, physical injury, manipulation and coercion. In some cases, domestic violence can involve a third party, such as a child, forcing the victim to comply under threat to the child’s wellbeing.

However, being a type of crime, domestic violence also has to be proven in court for someone to be convicted of the act. And that requires law enforcement and the prosecution to make a solid case that such a crime did occur and was done by the accused. In this regard, the defendant has the ability to make effective arguments against such a charge through a criminal defense attorney Michigan resource.

With an effective legal defense, a good amount of work can be done to raise questions about the prosecution’s case. That’s critical because it takes a full jury to convict someone of a crime; conviction should never be something decided lightly. An experienced defense attorney can review and confirm whether the police performed a proper investigation, whether alleged injuries actually occurred, what led up to the incident and who was involved, what was said to the police, and was someone or everyone intoxicated during the event, which can impact intent, the needed element in a crime.

 Defenses asserted in court by criminal defense lawyers in Michigan can include the following:

  • Innocence – the allegations have identified the wrong person and the defendant never committed the acts charged in the first place. This is usually confirmed when an alibi can be proven, i.e. the defendant was literally somewhere else and couldn’t have physically committed the crime.
  • The Accuser is Lying – This defense argues that the main victim or witnesses lied about what they saw, questioning the credibility of the prosecution’s case. This can be a challenging defense as it sets one spouse against the other in some cases, but it can be effective if there’s evidence to prove the lie occurred.
  • An Accident – The injuries suffered by the victim or victims occurred by accident and were never intentional or planned. Again, evidence matters here, possibly showing that the accident could happen to anyone with the right conditions, discrediting the argument that it was a crime.
  • Self-Defense – For this argument to work, one must admit there was violence or threat of it. In this approach, the defendant is arguing he or she had to commit an act of aggression because he or she was under immediate threat of personal harm. The key factor is the presence of immediate threat; a concern about being harmed a week in the future, for example, will not work.
  • Reasonable Doubt – This argument runs along the lines of innocence, but it argues more along the lines that the prosecution hasn’t made a good case and there is too much doubt to conclude the charges are indeed true. It’s a one-sided defense, focusing entirely in disproving the prosecution.
  • Involvement, But It was Mutual – Sometimes a defense tack will involve admission of the engagement but that it was mutual and both spouses or partners were involved. In a normal street situation, this would be known as mutual combat. However, being intimate and in the home, the actions are domestic violence instead. This is probably the weakest of the defenses and doesn’t absolve one of guilt; it just means all parties are guilty.  
  • The Technical Defense – This approach focuses a criminal defense attorney in Michigan on mistakes made by the police. A famous one is failing to read one his or her Miranda rights on arrest. Being denied access to a lawyer is another. Essentially, this defense argues about technical mistakes that can cause the case to be thrown out. However, it doesn’t prevent the prosecution from bringing the case forward again in the future with a new arrest.

The key point in all the above is that if charged with domestic violence, a defendant needs a well-experienced attorney at his or her side. Each case is different and usually an applicable defense strategy could include a combination of the above possibilities. If you or someone you know needs a Traverse City criminal defense lawyer, Patrick S. Fragel is a key resource in domestic violence defense. Among Traverse City criminal attorneys, Patrick S. Fragel is a standout specializing in domestic violence defense as well as an accomplished Traverse City drug crime attorney. Call and set up an appointment today. The earlier a defense attorney can get involved, the better a defense can be provided.