After an arrest for domestic violence, you have many important decisions to make, including choosing a defense lawyer. Some people, concerned with legal costs, may be tempted to rely on a public defender. Others may try to go it alone by defending themselves. However, it makes sense to hire a private defense attorney.
These are some of the reasons why your best choice is to retain the services of an experienced private criminal defense attorney:
You’re not the best person to explain your actions – You may think that the judge will dismiss the charge if you can only explain your side of things. But what you say could incriminate you rather than exonerating you. Why is this? First of all, the judge could interpret your words in a completely different way than you do. What you choose to say and leave out of your story may tell a much different story than the one you wish to convey. Secondly, your emotions concerning the event may prevent you from clearly stating facts that are in your favor. Instead, you should let a trained defense lawyer speak for you. He or she will know how to present your side of the story in the most positive light possible.
Your lawyer can take the offensive in court – He or she will have the opportunity to cross-examine witnesses and the arresting officer. Your lawyer can also present evidence that casts doubt on the prosecutor’s assertions or that reinforces your side of the story. Your lawyer will also have the opportunity to call witnesses who can attest to your good character.
You don’t know the different mitigation options that are available – In many domestic violence cases, it’s possible to avoid the worst consequences of an arrest. Your participation in an anger management class, alcohol treatment program or drug rehab program could get you help you need to address the underlying problems that led to your arrest. This may also enable you to avoid a criminal conviction or obtain a more satisfactory plea arrangement. If your lawyer has handled other domestic violence cases in Brazoria County, Fort Bend County or Harris County, he or she will be familiar with these options.
A public defender may not give your case the attention it deserves – There are many dedicated public defenders in our area. However, they have heavy caseloads and are overworked. Some are working in their first job out of law school. With these considerations in mind, it makes sense to hire a private defense attorney who has extensive experience defending people accused of domestic violence.
If you are convicted, you could lose your family and your home – You may already be subject to a no contact order and forbidden to see your spouse, your significant other, or your children. You may have also had to move out of your home. If you are convicted, this state of affairs could become permanent for all practical purposes. With the stakes so high, you need the best and strongest defense you can get.
You could lose your right to possess a firearm – After a domestic violence conviction, you will have to sell your weapons and you will be forbidden to even handle those owned by your friends or other family members. If you are a law enforcement officer, this could force you to leave your profession.