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What Steps Should I Take After Being Charged With Domestic Battery?


For starters, the most important step is not to speak with the police. You have the right to remain silent, and I suggest that you use it because talking is not going to help you. There is no way you are going to talk your way out of the charges. Another suggestion is to not contact the complaining witness in the case, if you are ordered not to, because this is a great way to get additional charges pending against you. Also, if you have been ordered not to have contact with an individual and that individual is contacting you, do not engage in conversation, including calling them back, texting them back or responding to their messages on social media. That’s a great way to get yourself additional charges.

Another common misconception is that, if the complainant or alleged victim does not show up, the charges will be automatically be dismissed. There is a possibility that charges could be dismissed, however it is up to the state’s attorney or prosecutor. Just because a complainant does not show or does not want to go forward with the charges does not mean that the prosecutor will dismiss the case.

What Are The Long-Term Effects Of Having A Domestic Battery Conviction On Your Record?

That’s a big problem with these types of charges because domestic battery or aggravated domestic battery is going to be a conviction on your record that cannot be expunged, and it’s not eligible for court supervision. That’s really just one of the reasons why it’s so critical to have experienced representation in court. Frequently, if I can’t get the charges dismissed, we might be able to negotiate the lesser charges that would be expungeable and would not be a criminal conviction on their record. Misdemeanor domestic violence charges could also prevent someone from owning a firearm.

What Sort Of Defense Strategies Can Be Used In Domestic Battery Cases?

It’s hard to generalize in terms of what our strategy would be or what defenses are available, but frequently, in a domestic violence situation, there are only two witnesses: the complainant, who called the police, and the defendant, who was charged. This is, basically, a he said/she said situation. In that scenario, credibility is very important and in play. So that means that witness preparation is very important. With my clients, I spend a lot of time getting them prepared and ready to testify in that situation because their presentation in open court is going to be so critical.

As for self-defense, it is a viable defense in domestic batteries, but it’s very fact-specific. I have prevailed in many domestic battery cases by asserting self-defense, but every case is different. Also, a parent’s right to impose physical discipline or corporal punishment could also be a defense. I have successfully defended many parents accused of committing domestic battery against their children utilizing this defense.

How Common Is It For Alleged Victims To Recant Allegations Of Domestic Battery?

It’s very common in domestic violence situations, but it, ultimately, depends on the situation. It also depends on what courthouse or county your case is pending in because in some courthouses and in some counties, if the complainant either fails to appear, or appears and says that they don’t want to go forward with the charges, the State’s attorney will drop the charges. In other counties, the State’s attorney is really not concerned with whether or not the complainant wants to go forward. Once the charges are filed, the State’s attorney is going to move forward and do whatever they can to basically achieve a conviction over the defendant. That’s with or without the help of the complaining witness.

Why Is It Important To Retain An Experienced Attorney To Handle A Domestic Battery Case?

It’s critical to have an experienced attorney because upon a finding of guilty or a plea of guilty on a domestic battery, there is going to be a conviction on your record forever. It is not expungeable. With lifelong consequences, I would suggest that you would want to take every precaution and do everything you can to avoid that, and that includes hiring the best lawyer that you can.

For more information on Steps For A Domestic Battery Charge, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (815) 290-9170 today.

Donald N. Macneil, Esq.

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