A domestic violence conviction can be a permanent stain on your record. It can limit job opportunities, require domestic violence counseling classes, and prevent the guilty party from owning a firearm. If you have been accused of a domestic violence crime, you need experienced legal defense from a knowledgeable St. Petersburg domestic battery lawyer.
In this brief article, we will discuss a few common defense strategies for individuals accused of domestic violence. Remember, this article is educational advice. For accurate legal advice from an experienced attorney, consult a criminal defense attorney in St. Petersburg with Russo, Pelletier & Sullivan.
You Did Not Have Criminal Intent
One common defense strategy for a domestic violence case is to argue that the defendant did have an intent to commit the crime. It is not enough to simply show that there is physical contact. Instead, the State must prove an intent to commit a battery. Here are some questions a St. Petersburg domestic battery lawyer will ask the defendant if they claim they did not intend to commit a crime:
- Was the touching or striking accidental?
- Were you attempting to comfort or console the alleged victim in a manner consistent with the touching that normally occurs between romantic partners or family?
- Were you attempting to prevent the alleged victim from engaging in an illegal act, such as driving under the influence or destroying your property?
The prosecution will review the 911 recording, speak to witnesses, and rely on physical evidence (such as photographs) in order to try and prove an intent to commit a battery. A criminal defense lawyer will also assess these forms of evidence and try to establish a credible “lack of intent defense” for the defendant.
Unfortunately, many false domestic violence claims are related to divorce proceedings or child custody battles. In some cases, the alleged victim fabricated the crime to gain leverage in one of the aforementioned proceedings. If you have been wrongfully accused of a violent crime like domestic battery, a defense attorney in St. Petersburg will review the alleged victim’s statements and the police report and determine if their version of the story is consistent. They will evaluate other forms of evidence (such as eyewitness testimony) that may suggest their story isn’t accurate. It is important to any defense based on a false claim to also highlight the alleged victim’s motive to fabricate or exaggerate the incident as a means for gaining an advantage elsewhere.
You Acted in Self-Defense
In many domestic violence cases, the accused was actually not the aggressor and was merely defending themselves against the person the police ultimately decided to label the “victim.” For example, the defendant may have tried to prevent the other party from abusing their child, or the alleged victim may have a temper or were under the influence of alcohol or drugs and attacked the defendant. A St. Petersburg domestic battery lawyer will listen to your side of the story. We will review the police report and any statements you or the alleged victim made in regard to what instigated the dispute. We will also review any injuries that occurred during the interaction and determine if they suggest that you were acting in self-defense. This includes injuries that you may have sustained during the dispute.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.