A domestic violence charge can be a serious matter that can lead to incarceration, fines, or loss of employment. As such, finding the right domestic violence lawyer is extremely crucial for anyone charged with one of these offenses.
Domestic violence is generally considered to be physical violence between two persons in an intimate relationship. This can include a spouse, domestic partner, parent, or child. In some cases, domestic violence laws can be expanded on to include anyone within a particular household. In addition to physical abuse, an act of domestic violence can include threatening, coercing, or intimidating a family member, which means that physical force is not always necessary in order for charges to be filed.
How Charges are Filed
Many states require police officers to arrest the aggressor whenever they are called to the scene of a domestic dispute that has resulted in physical violence. In these instances, the perpetrator is taken to the jail and charged with a misdemeanor. Other times, police may be called by medical personnel because the victim needs to seek treatment for injuries. Under that circumstance, officers may gather information from the victim and/or witnesses and then file for an arrest warrant with a local judge or magistrate. This could mean that a period of time could elapse before an arrest is made, or the perpetrator may not be arrested at all if the victim is unwilling to make a statement.
Anyone who is charged with a crime of domestic violence should be given Miranda warnings. This includes the right to remain silent as well as the right to have a domestic violence lawyer present during questioning. Defendants who are charged with one of these offenses should avoid making any comments to law enforcement officials until they are able to speak to an attorney. They should also avoid making any verbal assaults on the victim or other bystanders, as these could be used later in testimony about the defendant’s demeanor.
A domestic violence lawyer can help his or her client understand the charges being presented. This attorney is also able to advise a client about possible outcomes if he or she is found guilty of these charges. During the course of the proceedings, the lawyer is able to explain the steps of the process and answer any questions the client may have about them. A domestic violence attorney can also initiate a plea bargain agreement should it be in the best interest of the client to do so.
Scope of Practice
It is important to keep in mind that the scope of practice for a domestic violence lawyer is often restricted. For instance, if a defendant has other criminal charges pending, the domestic violence attorney may not be able to represent the client on those charges unless retained to do so. Likewise, domestic violence charges are often combined with civil lawsuits or divorce proceedings. An attorney must be retained to handle each one of these issues separately even though they often stem from a central issue.
The amount a domestic violence lawyer charges can be anywhere from $100 to $400 per hour. This amount depends on the severity of the charges, the attorney’s experience, and the geographic area. In addition, clients can also be charged for additional expenses such as court filing fees, travel, and document preparation. Before hiring a domestic violence lawyer, it is important to discuss the exact terms of the agreement to include how and when payment is to be rendered. Some lawyers offer a “no win no fee” service, although this often doesn’t include consultations.
Criminal lawyers often specialize in certain types of offenses and a domestic violence attorney is no exception. Having knowledgeable representation can ensure a fair outcome so the best interest of the victim, defendant, and society as a whole are eventually served.