You know you’re in trouble if you find yourself at the receiving end of a domestic violence accusation. After all, domestic violence is a serious crime in all states. A domestic violence charge, however, remains that: an accusation. In our justice system, the accused is innocent until proven guilty. With the help of a skilled and experienced criminal defense attorney, you stand a fair chance of beating a domestic violence charge.
Some people, however, end up representing themselves in court for one reason or another. While defendants do have a right to self-representation, it’s still important to have an experienced attorney in a domestic violence case for the following reasons:
Serious Crime Means Serious Consequences
As stated above, domestic violence is a serious crime. If a court finds you guilty, the consequences are going to radically change your life, especially if you were charged with a felony. You will go to prison and pay hefty fines, among other things. A conviction will also be in your public record, and that could impact your life on so many levels for a long time.
It’s also a fact that defendants representing themselves in court without an attorney assisting them rarely win. Your chances of beating a domestic violence charge are better with a criminal defense attorney helping you.
You Could Be Incriminating Yourself Without A Lawyer
As you were surely told during your arrest, “anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.”
If you choose not to stay silent during your interrogation and decide to answer every question police have for you, you will likely end up incriminating yourself. Some police and prosecutors are also adept at twisting your words and use them to secure your conviction.
None of that is going to happen if you have a lawyer present during your interrogation. Authorities would be careful about their line of questioning and could be admonished by your lawyer once they go overboard with their treatment of you.
Lawyers Are Good Negotiators
Court cases aren’t all about the intense courtroom action like legal dramas portray them to be. More often than not, a court case involves a lot of making deals. Defense attorneys make deals with prosecutors all the time, and vice versa. They plead with judges to drop the charges.
Lawyers do this because, depending on the circumstances of the case, they believe such deals lead to the best possible result for a defendant. And if you consider their knowledge of the law, their legal training, and their experience, attorneys are quite adept at negotiating for the best deals possible.
Your Lawyer Can Fight A Restraining Order
Representing yourself in court for your domestic violence case is one thing. Defending yourself against a restraining order that your accuser will surely file is another.
A restraining order can make your life even more difficult. If you live or work, say, 50 or 100 yards away from your accuser, a restraining order can force you to move out of your place or render you unable to report for work. Even harder is the way it impacts your ability to see your children.
An experienced criminal defense attorney can fight a restraining order and win, allowing you to live a normal life even as your domestic violence case progresses.
Lawyers Take Care of the Paper work
A criminal case—or any legal case, for that matter—involves a lot of paperwork. You need to fill out and submit a lot of forms, submit tons of documents, and file pleadings, among many other things.
If you take care of all the paperwork yourself, there is a high possibility that you’ll make a mistake somewhere along the way that could jeopardize your case. Lawyers, on the other hand, eat paperwork for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They also have competent staff to help them do it.
These are just some of the reasons why it’s important to have a lawyer represent you in a domestic violence case. Instead of representing yourself, you have to let an attorney handle the case if you want to achieve the best possible results for yourself.
About the Author
Stephanie Gordon currently works as the Content Marketing Strategist for the Arizona Criminal Law Team. Aside from spreading awareness about criminal law and defense, she enjoys reading and trail running with her family and friends.