This is the next post in my series on the handling of domestic violence charges in Louisville, Kentucky. My last article discussed the possibility of claiming self-defense in a domestic violence case. It is important to understand that law enforcement officers sometimes arrest the wrong party and that it is possible to prove that an accused individual was simply defending themselves. In this article I will discuss the process one faces after an arrest. If you are facing charges then it is crucial that you speak with a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Contact my office today to speak with a lawyer.
If the defendant is charged with a misdemeanor (for example “Assault 4 – Domestic Violence) the case will be heard in District Court. If the defendant cannot bond out a judge will review bond at arraignment court. You can hire an attorney to represent a defendant in arraignment court to persuade the judge to lower the bond amount. A pretrial date will be set after a “not guilty” plea is entered at arraignment. The judge will also order the defendant to have “No Contact” with the “victim.” It is important that you follow this order – no phone calls, text messages, emails, or social media, including through third parties. Defense counsel will immediately begin an investigation into the case. This investigation can include visiting the scene of the incident if it is feasible to do so, interviewing any possible witnesses, obtaining any security footage or 911 calls which may exist, and more. It may be necessary to file Motions with the Court to exclude any statements which may have been obtained in violation of the defendant’s Miranda rights. If, for example, law enforcement violated the accused’s right to remain silent, and gained what might be considered a confession as a result, then it may be possible to keep such statements from being admitted in Court. The Judge will rule on any such Motions before the matter goes to trial.
Your attorney will be in contact with the prosecutors while the case is being prepared for trial. If a Diversion agreement or other favorable plea deal can be reached then the matter will be resolved without going to trial. If an agreement cannot be reached then the case will proceed to trial at which the Judge or Jury will decide the issues of guilt or innocence. A Jury may recommend a sentence and the Judge will impose a sentence in the event the defendant is convicted. It is important to understand that the process of litigating a domestic violence charge is complicated from beginning to end. It is important that work begin on your case immediately so that your case is well prepared to go to trial in the event that one is necessary.
The longer you wait to retain counsel in your case, the more you put yourself at a disadvantage as the matter moves forward. Investigating a domestic violence charge can take a significant amount of time. This is due, in part, to the fact that one issue of the investigation may prompt counsel to pursue additional areas of investigation. Those areas, in turn, may lead to other possible issues which need examined. For some situations it may even be best to hire a private investigator to work with our office and to look into the allegations. The more time that counsel has to investigate your case then the more likely it is that no stone will go unturned in developing your defense.
Contact my Louisville office today if you have been arrested for domestic violence. I have been practicing law since 2009 and I devote a substantial portion of my practice to criminal defense. I understand that you are facing a serious situation. My firm was founded on the belief that everyone is entitled to the highest level of respect and we will give your matter the attention it deserves.