When an alleged victim of domestic violence seeks help, their lawyers take prosecuting domestic violence cases in Prince William County extremely seriously. Therefore, if you are charged with a domestic violence offense, you might benefit from seeking the assistance of a skilled defense attorney. A hardworking legal professional could review your case and offer advice on how best to handle the upcoming legal proceedings.
The two biggest factors that lead a prosecutor to proceed with a domestic violence case in Prince William County are the criminal history of the accused and the wishes of the alleged victim. Usually, prosecutors are receptive toward respecting a victim’s wishes about a case if the alleged victim appears to be making an informed and reasonable decision. If the defendant is a repeat offender—especially against the same person—or if the injury inflicted was particularly severe, the prosecution may feel that convicting the defendant is the only meaningful remedy left that protects the victim.
Furthermore, prosecutors are usually reluctant to try and force unwilling individuals to testify in court. As a result, if the injured individual’s participation is a necessary component of the evidence, then the prosecution might decide not to go forward—even if they think a defendant deserves to be convicted.
If a prosecutor has not secured the victim’s agreement in going forward with trial, they run the risk of an alleged victim being dishonest, angry, unresponsive, or forgetful on the stand in front of the judge. The resulting testimony might, therefore, be beneficial for the defense, possibly to the extent that it produces problems with the evidence, or discounts the severity of the allegation in relation to an appropriate sentence—even if the defendant is found guilty by the judge.
While there are multiple rules of evidence in Virginia that allow spouses to avoid testifying against each other, the application of these laws can become complex—depending on the individual circumstances of a case. Prosecutors risk an alleged victim being able to refuse answering most of the prosecutor’s questions under these rights when they put an alleged victim on the stand. Due to all of these nuances in these types of cases, it is important for someone accused of domestic violence charges to obtain legal counsel when a Prince William County domestic violence case is being prosecuted.
There are many ways a domestic violence attorney might defend an accused person. The first line of defense is to secure a suitable disposition without risking a trial through pretrial negotiations.
If a trial is unavoidable, however, then a lawyer may attempt to mount various legal defenses—such as self-defense, or challenging the sufficiency of the evidence beyond a reasonable doubt. If certain defenses fail at trial, an attorney might rely on sentencing defenses, which may reduce or eliminate the defendant’s potential punishments imposed by the court or requested by the prosecution, despite a technical conviction.
A lawyer who has a good relationship with the local prosecutor might be able to negotiate or persuade the prosecution in Prince William County domestic violence cases into favorable outcomes that would not otherwise be achievable. Such an attorney can also provide more accurate predictions to prepare a client for what is to come based on their enhanced knowledge and perspective from conducting similar cases with those prosecutors in the past.
The consequences of a domestic violence conviction can be harsh, possibly inhibiting future opportunities and impacting a person’s professional, personal, and financial livelihood. If you are facing charges such as these, reach out to an attorney to learn about prosecuting domestic violence cases in Prince William County and to receive assistance in building a defense.
Do not send us confidential information related to you or your company until you speak with one of our attorneys and get authorization to send that information to us.