Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer In Chicago
Domestic violence and domestic battery charges are filed more than one million times every year throughout the United States. That’s an alarming number, especially since in many cases the actions are emotionally charged. Unfortunately, when emotions run high, the truth can quickly become a casualty.
In my ten years of practice, I’ve seen hundreds of charges of domestic violence that have been brought against clients, many times without merit. However, because of the potentially serious nature of these offenses, each case is investigated thoroughly. The good news is, that by performing necessary due diligence many times an accuser’s story can be shown to be less than truthful.
Domestic Battery is defined in 720 ILCS 5/12-3.2 as knowingly without legal justification causing bodily harm to any family or household member or making physical contact of an insulting or provoking nature with any family or household member. A first time offense of Domestic Battery is generally charged as a class A misdemeanor unless there are aggravating factors such as great bodily harm alleged. If you have ever been convicted of a prior charge of Domestic Battery the offense can be upgraded to a felony.
There are several possible defenses that I can employ in cases such as this.
Because these types of incidences are so emotionally charged, it is not uncommon to see one party falsely accuse the other. False accusations can be created out of malice, spite, anger or any number of related reasons. I see these types of things often happen where children are involved, as each party tries to leverage their position by smearing the other to gain an advantage in a child custody battle. It’s my job to review police reports, eyewitness accounts, and statements by those who were actually involved in the incident, looking for inconsistencies that can prove the allegations were false.
In other instances, I may be able to prove that an act of domestic violence or battery is actually a case of self-defense. I see this oftentimes when one party is an apparent aggressor and the other party strikes back to protect themselves or to protect children. In this type of defense, I look for how aggressive the original party was in front of eyewitnesses or the police. Proving that a defendant was actually in imminent danger is one of the keys to using this as a successful strategy.
Another common defense strategy is to try and show that a lack of proof exists. This may sound obvious, but if there is no physical evidence suggesting that domestic violence took place, then a defendant may be innocent because a prosecutor cannot prove what happened. Oftentimes, in addition to a lack of physical evidence, if eyewitnesses do not support the accusations, this can be a strong indicator of innocence as well.
David M. Smith Attorney at Law, PC serves clients in Chicago, Cook County and surrounding Illinois communities.