Defending a Charge of Domestic Violence
What can you do if you've been charged with domestic violence? Retain a lawyer! A conviction of domestic violence carries severe legal consequences that will affect not only your immediate family life, and possibly your liberty, but your future as well.
If you are charged with domestic violence, a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) will be entered and served upon you, usually within 24 hours. The TRO will set forth the charge and all restrictions that have been temporarily placed upon you until final hearing. These restrictions can include any or all of the following:
- Prohibiting you from returning to your home;
- Barring you from the residence(s) of plaintiff, place(s) of employment of plaintiff, or specific family members of the plaintiff;
- Prohibiting you from having any oral, written, personal, electronic, or other form of contact or communication with Plaintiff.
- Prohibiting you from making or causing anyone else to make harassing communications to Plaintiff
- Requiring you to pay emergent monetary relief such as support for plaintiff and dependent(s), medical coverage for plaintiff and dependants; rent Mortgage payments and other carrying charges on the shared home;
- You may be required to participate in a batterers intervention program or submit to a Psychiatric evaluation or risk assessment
- Prohibiting you from possessing any and all firearms or other weapons. If you already own or possess such firearms/weapons, you must immediately surrender them along with any permits, applications or ID cards. Failure to do so may result in your arrest and incarceration. A self executing search warrant order may be issued upon execution of a TRO if weapons are suspected.
- You may also be prohibited from any parenting time/visitation with your children until further order. Even if a full prohibition is not entered, supervision may be required.
All of the consequences of a domestic violence charge are serious. Usually within ten (10) days of entry of a TRO, a final hearing will be held by the court. With proper advice and representation of counsel, the final restrictions imposed can be minimized. It is also possible to resolve the matter and avoid the entry of a permanent restraining Order. No matter how serious or trite you may believe the domestic violence charge is, the consequences can be dire and it is best to have an advocate at your side with full knowledge of the law.