If there's a 911 domestic violence call someone is almost always going to go to jail.
If the police get a 911 call that involves domestic violence the end result usually is that someone is going to jail. More often than not, if the case involves a man and the woman, it's the man who goes to jail.
While you may not agree with the way many police officers think on the issue, their logic is often practical – if not always legally correct. When a police officer goes out on a domestic violence call one of his concerns is preventing any further potential danger to the parties. The law allows a law enforcement officer to make a determination as to who he thinks may be the initial or primary aggressor and, he can take that person to jail if he has reasonable grounds to suspect this. If one party has injuries and the other one does not it is often the person who does not have injuries who will wind up going to jail. Most officers recognize that if one of the two people involved in a domestic violence incident goes to jail, no further violence can occur between the parties at least during the time that person is in jail. If an officer does not arrest either party, with the end result being that one of the people who was involved in the incident winds up being seriously injured or killed, the officer is going to get blamed for not having removed one of the potential combatants. It is just easier and safer for the officers to take someone to jail. Of course, the “someone” is not always the right person.
In most cases, the complaining witness or “victim” cannot simply call up the prosecutor or go to court and have the charges dropped.
One reason for this is that prosecutors are concerned the person requesting the case be dismissed maybe only doing so because of some form of duress or coercion. In some instances, this is true. A prosecutor does not want a person to be bullied into dropping charges only to face further bullying and further domestic violence. Of course, this is not always the case and a blanket rule does not always result in justice. The other reason is that, outside of a courtroom, the prosecutor has no idea whether not the person who is making a telephone call is the actual victim or some imposter that the accused person asked to call to try to get out of the charges.
It is often easier for lawyers to successfully prevent a person who is willing to admit their guilt from getting a conviction-yes, you read that correctly.
At first blush, it seems a bit insane that a person who is guilty is often easier to defend in a domestic violence case than one who is not. This is because at least in first-time offenses- prosecutors and the courts are often willing to allow an individual who admits guilt and accepts responsibility to attend a counseling program which, if successfully completed, will result in the charges being dismissed.
If a person is not guilty or does not want to admit guilt, the answer is often a trial.
Do I need a lawyer?
Of course, I'm biased in this because, after all, I am a lawyer and this is how I make my money. I'm also not there when a person doesn't hire a lawyer so I have no idea of how successful those people are.
In my view when you are facing something as serious as a criminal charge and something which could affect your future in many ways such as employability, custody of children, reputation within the community, security clearance issues and multiple other issues, it is best to seek legal counsel.
For many people, this is their first and only encounter with the legal system. For those of us lawyers who regularly practice in the criminal law, the courtroom is almost a second home. An experienced local lawyer will be familiar not only with the law but also with the various parties involved and their personalities and outlooks. While legal matters should not be determined based on personalities, the reality is that in close cases, the manner in which all of these things come together can make a difference as to how a case is resolved.
While I can't recommend hiring any particular lawyer over any other lawyer, I think it is best that a person considering hiring a lawyer feel comfortable with that lawyer and, since at Segal and Segal, we don't believe that you should have to pay a lawyer to decide if you want to hire them, we offer a free initial consultation.
If you or someone you love is in a legal jam and you think you need our help, just give us a call. Here's the number: