Taking a Domestic Violence Case to Trial: What Is the Process?
A trial is likely to come into the conversation at some point if you are facing domestic violence charges. While this type of case rarely makes it that far, it is important to know what to expect. Let’s take a look at what must transpire before taking a domestic violence case to trial in Washington.
What is the process of taking a domestic violence case to trial in Washington?
Domestic violence comes in many forms, including but not limited to assault, criminal harassment, and cyberstalking. The commonality is that the offense must be against one person in the home or relationship to another.
Here are the general steps when taking a domestic violence case to trial:
Step #1: The defendant is arrested, and a no-contact order may be instituted.
Domestic violence allegations are grounds for an arrest, especially when there is proof of an assault. After the call is made, the victim may request a no-contact order. The court may also mandate one if they feel the victim is at risk of further harm.
Step #2: You must attend an arraignment.
This phase in the domestic violence process is where you meet before the court to plead guilty or not guilty. The charges will be covered in detail. You will want to collaborate with a lawyer before the arraignment to see what is in your case’s best interest.
Step #3: It is time for the hearings.
Next up are the pretrial and motion hearings. Ask your attorney about the likelihood of a conviction based on your previous criminal record, any harm done to the victim, and other elements. Both parties may come to an agreement during the hearings, or you may move onto the trial.
Step #4: A trial date may be set if the prosecution and defense have not reached a consensus.
As a defendant, you hold the right to a trial by jury. Alternatively, you may choose to have a trial by judge, in which case no jury will be present. Just remember to consider the evidence against you and consult your attorney before taking your domestic violence case to trial.
Here are some good questions to ask:
- Is there any way on how to get a domestic violence case dismissed?
- Is there enough evidence needed to convict in the domestic violence case?
- What are the chances of winning the domestic violence case?
What happens once you make it to trial?
Whether you wanted it or not, the trial is here. That means it is time to work with your defense attorney on a legal strategy that can help you avoid a conviction.
At the trial, both the victim and the defendant will have opportunities to present evidence. One of the fastest ways on how to get a domestic violence case dismissed is insufficient evidence. Therefore, gather as much of it as you can to defend your position before the judge or jury.
Witnesses (both character witnesses and those who were there during the domestic violence incident) and the arresting officer may testify on either party’s behalf at trial. A plea bargain can be presented at any point, setting the next steps in the trial process.
Taking a domestic violence case to trial is not always essential. You may come to an agreement with the prosecution to avoid jail time and other harsh penalties. Be sure to compile any evidence you can that may benefit your case.
Preparation is the key to success.
Charged with domestic violence? You need a lawyer who can walk the walk. The Law Office of Erin Bradley McAleer has an impressive track record of success working with this type of case. Contact us today to meet.