Being charged with domestic violence is a serious matter that requires immediate action. If you find yourself in this difficult situation, it's crucial to know how to navigate the legal process and protect your rights.
In this blog post, we will provide you with practical tips and advice to help you understand what steps to take if you're charged with domestic violence.
Understand the Charges
When facing domestic violence charges, it's essential to have a clear understanding of the specific charges against you. You may or may not be aware of the specific allegations against you, but what’s more important now is to understand whether you’re being charged with a misdemeanor or felony.
Domestic violence is a wobbler crime in Illinois, which means it can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the circumstances of the alleged crime. Upon conviction, misdemeanors can be punished with up to a year in jail; for felony domestic violence, a conviction can result in up to 10 years of imprisonment.
Seek Legal Representation
Hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney with experience in domestic violence cases is crucial. Having legal support as early on in the process as possible can help you understand your charges and the allegations against you.
Your attorney is your advocate, which means they should fight for your rights, and you should trust that they will do everything they can to that end.
Here are some key qualities to look for in your legal counsel:
- Experience: Look for a lawyer who has experience in the specific area of law relevant to your case. Ask about their past experience with cases like yours and how they achieved successful results.
- Communication: Make sure your lawyer can explain the legal process to you in the language you understand. Find someone who is responsive and available when you have questions or concerns about your case.
- Passion: A passionate criminal defense lawyer should be invested in your case and determined to achieve a positive outcome. When they are genuinely passionate about their work, it can make a difference in your case.
- Reputation: Doing research on your lawyer’s reputation is key to making sure you have the best representation possible. Check online reviews and ratings and talk to people who have worked with them to get a sense of how experienced and reliable they are.
Remember that not everything is in your attorney’s control, which means no lawyer can guarantee you of any specific outcomes. That said, the traits listed above can signal that your attorney has what it takes to help you in this difficult situation and has your best interests in mind.
Protecting Your Rights
When you are charged with domestic violence, it’s essential to protect your rights throughout legal proceedings. You have the right to remain silent during any police questioning, and you don’t have to testify against yourself in court. You additionally have the right to have legal counsel present and a fair trial.
One of the most important things you can do to protect your rights during this time is to refrain from contacting the person who has accused you of domestic violence. If you were already arrested and charged, you may be under a court order to do so anyway. Allow your attorney to advocate for you, and don’t try to engage with your accuser in any circumstances.
Facing domestic violence charges can be overwhelming, but knowing what steps to take can make a significant difference in the outcome of your case. By understanding the charges, seeking legal representation, and protecting your rights, you can navigate the legal process more effectively.
If you're facing domestic violence charges, the Law Office of Steven Fine is here to help. Our experienced team of criminal defense attorneys is dedicated to protecting your rights and providing you with the best possible defense.
Contact us today to schedule a consultation, and let us guide you through this challenging time.