Legal Blog

What Happens After a Domestic Violence Arrest

31 October 2019 | Assault & Domestic Violence,  Battery,  Criminal Defense,  Felony Charges,  Legal Blog,  

Attorney Sean Hessler

Written by
Sean Hessler

31 October 2019

Assault & Domestic Violence,  Battery,  Criminal Defense,  Felony Charges,  Legal Blog,  

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A domestic violence arrest can be a traumatic experience. When the government interferes with your home life, arrests you in front of your family, and accuses you of hurting those you love, you will feel understandably angry and confused. But this is the time to remain calm and collected. At this point, you won’t be able to talk yourself out of trouble, and anything you say might be used against you in court. So your best option is to exercise your right to remain silent, know the ways to get any charges dismissed and call a lawyer as soon as possible.

At Hessler Law, our Indianapolis criminal defense lawyers understand how tough your situation is. When you are accused of domestic violence, you may feel like you have no one you can trust or rely on. We will closely review your case and determine what legal defenses apply. From there, we will fight for your rights at every stage of the criminal justice process.

For a free consultation, call us today at (317) 886-8800.

Domestic Violence Calls Usually Result in Arrests

When the police respond to a domestic violence call, their first priority is to separate you from the alleged victim. They do this not only to stop the supposed violence but to question each person separately. If what you and the complainant told the police leads them to believe domestic violence has taken place, they will arrest you. This is especially true if the complaining witness has physical injuries.

You may think that at this stage you can talk yourself out of trouble, but this is very unlikely. As long as the complainant makes a credible accusation, the police will probably make an arrest and book you in jail–no matter what you tell them.

To make matters worse, the fact that your story is different from the complainant’s may be held against you. The standard for making a domestic violence arrest is extremely low, but fortunately, the standard that a prosecutor needs to secure a conviction is much higher.

You May Have Your Weapons Confiscated and Face a Restraining Order

The arresting officer has the authority to confiscate your firearms, ammunition, and any deadly weapons if they have probable cause to believe domestic violence has taken place, and any of the following apply:

  • The weapon exposes the alleged victim to the risk of injury
  • You used the weapon in the course of committing domestic violence
  • The police observed the weapon at the scene

If the victim can make a showing to the court that you pose a risk to them, a court may be willing to issue a temporary restraining order against you. In this case, you may be prohibited from coming into contact with the victim until your lawyer can contest the restraining order at a hearing, or until the complainant voluntarily requests the order to be revoked.

How to Fight Against a Domestic Violence Accusation

To convict you of domestic battery charges, a prosecutor needs to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The bulk of the evidence used will be statements from the responding officers and witnesses (including the complainant). In some cases, the prosecutor may also present photos of the alleged victim’s injuries and medical records of the treatment they received.

The less you say to the police, the less evidence the prosecutor can use. And, this puts your lawyer in a good position to cross-examine the witnesses to reveal inconsistencies in their story, which may show that there is some doubt as to whether you committed the offense. Your lawyer can also present evidence that the complainant had a motive to make a false accusation, such as custody battle or an affair.

Alternatively, you may be able to assert an affirmative defense against domestic violence charges. This involves admitting that you used force against, but that you were justified in doing so. If you claim self-defense, it means that you used physical violence against the alleged victim in order to protect yourself. Similarly, you may claim that you acted in defense of others if you used force to protect another person from the alleged victim.

Get Help From an Indianapolis Domestic Violence Lawyer

You may feel helpless after a domestic violence arrest, but if you can remain calm, quiet, and enlist help from an experienced Indianapolis domestic violence lawyer from Hessler Law, you stand a good chance of avoiding a criminal conviction. To learn more about your options after a domestic violence arrest, call Hessler Law today at (317) 886-8800 for a free and confidential consultation.