What To Do If You Are Arrested For A Battery Domestic Violence
Imagine you and your spouse are enjoying a nice evening in. You are sharing a few glasses of wine and your favorite pasta dish. But, as the dinner progresses and the wine keeps going down, an argument begins over some mundane household chore. Somebody forgot to take out the trash. Or left their dishes in the sink after breakfast. Or did not do the laundry. A hundred minor topics like this can easily escalate. Your wife decides she needs to take a drive to clear her head and calm down. But you– angry over the silly argument spoiling your nice evening and concerned because your wife has had too much to drink – tries to take the car keys away and blocks her from the door. She tries to push past you and you push your wife away from the door. She falls to the ground, scraping her knee on the floor. Infuriated that she is unable to leave and still upset over the argument, your wife calls the cops to report a battery. The cops arrive and separate the two of you. They speak to both of you to find out what happened. They look at your wife’s knee and see visible red marks from where she fell and scratched her knee. The officers take pictures of the injuries and take you into custody. Your charge? Battery constituting domestic violence.
The scenario above is all too common, especially when alcohol is involved. A simple argument over something minor like a household chore can easily turn into a situation where someone is getting arrested before the night is over. Once the cops are called regarding a domestic violence situation, most of the time if the violence can be verified, someone is going to be arrested.
A battery domestic violence conviction, even though often charged as a misdemeanor, can still have a serious impact on someone’s life. It is seen as a violent offense, which can lead to significant negative consequences regarding current or future employment. A conviction will also cost you certain constitutional rights. Additionally, in Nevada, battery domestic violence convictions carry mandatory sentences, which include domestic violence counseling classes, fines and jail time.
It is rare that there are independent witnesses to domestic violence situations. Most of the time, the evidence consists of one person’s word over another. And in some cases, pictures of any visible signs of violence such as red marks, scratches or blood. Because there are no other witnesses, the responding officers listen to both sides of the story and then are often making assessments as to who they think is responsible based upon the credibility of each person. Obviously, if there are signs of violence on someone’s person, that can be very helpful evidence to the officers.
Therefore, if you are being accused of domestic violence, the following guidelines regarding what to do and your rights, if implemented, can potentially help you and your legal representation in the event your case proceeds to court:
- Do not argue with your significant other while he/she is on the line with 911. The 911 call is being recorded. If you are in the back ground yelling, shouting obscenities or creating any kind of commotion, that will later reflect poorly on you in court;
- In most circumstances, it is best to wait for the officers to arrive on scene following a 911 call regarding domestic violence. Officers will often draw negative inferences from those who leave the scene prior to their arrival;
- You have the right to remain silent – USE IT! Making statements regarding what happened can and will be used against you in later court proceedings, especially when helpful to the prosecution;
- Do not slander your significant other to the officers. That is not going to serve any purpose and may only ignite an already volatile situation;
- Be courteous with the responding officers. They have a job to do. But again, do not forget about your right to remain silent;
- Do not try to talk your way out of an arrest. If the officer believes the evidence supports taking you into custody, there is little you will be able to say or do at that point to prevent that from happening. Trying to talk your way out of it will likely only result in you making statements that will later prove damaging to your case;
- Once you are in custody, do not talk on the jail phones regarding the specific facts of your case. Those calls are all being recorded. Talk to your family and friends about bail, upcoming court dates or even the weather. But while in police custody, always know somebody is listening to everything you say; and
- Contact a criminal defense attorney with experience in defending battery domestic violence cases. Quality legal representation can make the difference in a number of ways: preparing your defense; obtaining all of the necessary discovery; speaking to any and all witnesses; discussing possible negotiations and defending you at trial.
For more information on battery domestic violence, contact us by calling 702-830-7925 or filling out our contact form.