If you are charged with domestic violence, there are several things that you should consider doing as soon as possible. While your first priority may be posting bail and getting out of jail if you were held on charges, once you are released, these are the steps that you should consider taking.
Obtain a Police Record of Your Charges
One of the first things you should do when you are charged with any criminal charge is to obtain a copy of the police reports related to the incident and your arrest. These should include the exact charges that you face as well as a description of the evidence that the prosecutor may use against you. This will help you better understand the case against you and help you plan your defense. You should carefully read through the report and mark or highlight things that you do not understand or do not agree with so you can ask your lawyer about them.
In most states, a copy of the police reports will be free. However, in some states you may have to pay a minor copying or printing charge to receive the reports.
Find Out if Your State Offers Diversion Programs
Some states offer diversion programs related to first time domestic violence offenders. These programs usually require you to plead guilty to an offense and then complete therapy or counseling as well as community service as opposed to going to trial and risking prison time. If you live in a state that offers a domestic violence diversion program, enrolling in anger management classes or other counseling to address your violence before your case progresses may help you qualify for a diversion program.
Even if your state does not have a domestic violence diversion program, you may still be able to get your case diverted out of the legal system if alcohol or drug abuse or mental illness contributed to the incident and you are willing to get help for those problems.
Avoid Contact With the Alleged Victim
In domestic violence cases, it can be difficult to avoid contact with the victim, especially if they are not pressing charges and are supportive of you. However, if it is possible, you may want to move out of your residence temporarily to avoid additional conflicts. If you do have contact with the victim, you should make sure to be non-confrontational and avoid arguments as much as possible.
Gather a List of Possible Evidence
While the incident is fresh in your mind, you should write out a list of evidence that can work in your favor. For example, if you remember your spouse threatening to accuse you of domestic violence in the past or if you have character witnesses who can testify to the type of relationship you have with your spouse, you should write these down. Additionally, write down a list of discrepancies between your description of the incident and your spouse's or any witnesses'. However, you should avoid contacting potential witnesses or sharing your information with friends or family. Instead, you should then give this list to your lawyer to help them determine what your best defense will be.
Consult With an Attorney
Any time you are charged with a major criminal offense, such as domestic violence, you should consult with an experienced attorney in your area. They will be able to let you know what your best defense is as well as whether you can expect a plea bargain from the state. They will also give you additional advice on which actions to avoid or to complete before your case progresses.
Following these steps will help your criminal defense attorney make a strong defense for you. Visit websites like http://www.jdlarsonlaw.com for more information.