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Loudoun County Attorneys > Blog > Criminal Defense > Defense Strategies In Domestic Violence Cases

Defense Strategies In Domestic Violence Cases


During coronavirus lockdowns, domestic violence incidents, which were already high, increased significantly. Pandemic stress was too much for some people, especially when other outlets, like going out with friends, were unavailable. These facts don’t excuse their behavior, but they do explain it. Due to various delays, many of these lockdown-era cases are just now winding their way through criminal courts in Loudoun County.

In many ways, a pandemic-era domestic assault case is no different from any other domestic assault case. So, the techniques that a Winchester criminal defense attorney used in 2020 and 2021 are still valid today. In the old days, if the husband and wife made up, prosecutors dropped the case. Those days are long gone. Today, only an aggressive defense saves people from the harsh direct and indirect consequences of a domestic violence conviction.

Jail Release

Most law enforcement departments in Loudoun County have mandatory domestic violence arrest policies. If officers or deputies respond to a domestic disturbance call and they verify that physical violence occurred, someone goes to jail immediately, and must usually stay there for at least twenty-four hours.

Since they are already in jail, many domestic violence defendants simply wait until their arraignments, plead guilty, stay in jail a few more days, then go home.. These individuals aren’t thinking about the collateral consequences of a domestic violence conviction. Family court is a good example. People with prior domestic violence convictions can almost forget about the possibility of fair treatment in that forum.

However, jail release in domestic violence cases isn’t easy. Therefore, a Winchester criminal defense attorney must work extra hard to reduce the bail amount or otherwise secure pretrial release. That release sets the stage for a successful defense.

Lack of Evidence

This defense, which is usually effective in all criminal cases, is especially effective in domestic assault matters. These cases usually require the alleged victim’s testimony. So, the alleged victim must be available to testify, and that testimony must also be credible.

Many domestic assault cases go to trial more than a year after the incident occurred. By that time, many alleged victims have lost interest in the case. Legally, prosecutors can subpoena reluctant witnesses and force them to testify against their will. However, prosecutors only take such extreme measures in extreme cases.

Additionally, this testimony must be credible. If the alleged victim was drinking at the time, the alleged victim’s memory was impaired. Additionally, there are no statistics as to how many alleged victims fabricate these stories, often to gain an advantage in family court. However, it is certain that alleged victims have fabricated these stories before, and they will do so again.

All witnesses in criminal court must have high credibility. The high burden of proof (beyond any reasonable doubt) requires nothing less.

Self Defense

This defense often goes back to the aforementioned police investigation to determine, in simple terms, who started it. Patrol officers aren’t trained investigators. They have limited skills and experience in this area. So, their conclusions are often suspect, or downright wrong.

In Virginia, defendants may use a proportional amount of force to defend themselves, their property, or other people. If Ralph hits Alice, she can hit back. If Ralph yells at Alice, she can only yell back.

Work With a Passionate Loudoun County Lawyer

There’s a big difference between an arrest and a conviction in criminal law. For a free consultation with an experienced criminal defense attorney in Winchester, contact Simms Showers, LLP, Attorneys at Law. We have several office locations in Northern Virginia.



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