Domestic assault charges often arise in the heat of the moment when a family disagreement escalates. People who face domestic assault charges can feel a high level of stress; it may seem like the entire legal system is set up to work against them. And, to some extent, it is.
The legal system is designed to protect victims of domestic violence. When police arrive at the scene of a fight, they often find two people who tell drastically different versions of the same story. They’re likely to make an arrest, even if it is not completely clear that the accuser’s story is true.
Steps to Take Upon Arrest for Domestic Violence
If you’ve been arrested, follow these five steps to best protect yourself:
Step 1: Remain calm. Remaining calm is one of the most important things. If you’re reading this, it’s probably too late to tell you to avoid losing your temper in the first place. You can’t change the past, but you can keep calm going forward. If you’re calm, you can think clearly. And you can better prepare yourself to deal with the allegations you face.
Step 2: Hire a defense attorney. Contacting an attorney is critical. Your attorney can protect your rights and freedom. He or she won’t just fight the existing charges, but will help make sure that no new problems arise. For example, your attorney should be present when you talk with the police. People who do not have representation during police interrogations may feel pressured into saying things that they didn’t mean. They may also say things that aren’t even true, which can make matters worse. With a criminal defense lawyer by your side, the police must refrain from putting extra pressure on you.
Step 3: Avoid contacting the accuser. It is also a good idea to limit contact with your accuser, whether or not a court has ordered you to do so. If you do contact the accuser, avoid situations in which you two are alone together. These situations can give rise to more arguments, more trouble and even more accusations against you. If you must be together, it is best to have a neutral witness present.
Step 4: Stay off of social media. Remember that the government is building a case against you. Avoid making matters worse by talking about the matter on social media. Posting to Facebook about the domestic assault charges isn’t a good idea. People may take things the wrong way, and prosecutors may even use your own words against you in court.
Step 5: Don’t make threats. Do not say anything that others could interpret as a threat against yourself or the other person involved. Threatening to harm yourself or showing your anger can only make matters worse. If you feel angry about what is happening, calling your lawyer is a good idea. Your lawyer can help you take a step back and gain perspective about the situation. He or she can answer your questions and guide you through the process.
Want More Advice? Call Your Lawyer.
It’s always best to get legal advice directly from your attorney. Your lawyer knows you and your situation, so he or she can offer tailored advice that best fits you. If you need advice after a domestic assault-related arrest, take a deep breath and make the call.