What are some common defenses to domestic violence charges?

On behalf of Brian D. Roman, Attorney at Law on Monday, February 16, 2015.

The consequences of a domestic violence conviction in Massachusetts can be potentially harmful to your reputation. You may find it difficult to remain employed at your current position or have trouble obtaining employment altogether. You may also experience a negative reaction from your community if you are convicted of domestic violence.

Fortunately, our legal system provides each criminal defendant opportunities to challenge the evidence that the prosecution is presenting against them. If you are currently facing domestic violence charges, then there are several defenses that may work to your advantage.

The wrong person defense. Typically, a wrong person defense works on the proposition that the police have misidentified you as the defendant in a domestic violence case. Perhaps the best way to prove that another person committed your alleged acts of domestic violence is to provide prosecutors with an alibi. A solid alibi will prove that you were at a different location at the time the alleged crime happened, and therefore, you could not have been a person who actually committed those acts.

Another good defense against domestic violence charges is to show that the alleged victim has deliberately deceived police in an effort to cause trouble for you. This actually occurs sometimes in divorce cases where child custody matters are in dispute. A spouse who feels a decision is unfair may resort to hurling false accusations in an attempt to improve his or her legal situation. One of the best methods to employ as a defense against such actions is to point out the accuser's inconsistencies. For example, statements reflected in a police report may not necessarily match your accuser's statements later in court.

Self-defense is also another tactic you may consider in your defense against domestic violence charges. You may have been attempting to protect your children when you repelled an assault from your significant other. You may have also been fearful of a spouse who unexpectedly showed up unannounced at your home in the early hours of the night. Your attorney might argue that any reasonable person might have perceived such actions as an imminent threat.

Of course, there are other defenses available depending on the particular facts of your case. Your Massachusetts criminal defense attorney can review the circumstances surrounding your arrest and determine the most favorable strategy to employ.

Source: FindLaw, "5 Potential Defenses to Domestic Violence" accessed Feb. 16, 2015