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DAVID CLARK
Criminal Defense Attorney

Building a Philadelphia Domestic Violence Defense

When facing domestic violence charges, it is best to seek help from an experienced defense attorney as soon as possible. It is very important that an attorney is familiar with the specific domestic violence claims and have experience with Philadelphia laws.

The domestic violence attorney should have an understanding of each charges and what fact patterns with factual scenarios will fall under the case law for simple assault versus aggravated assault and strangulation versus simply reckless endangerment of another person. This experience will help them guide their defendant towards a successful result.

Reach out to a diligent attorney to get started building a Philadelphia domestic violence defense.

Collecting and Assessing Evidence

In a domestic violence case, there are three types of evidence that will be crucial to a defense.

The Prosecution’s Evidence

The first is getting the prosecution’s evidence. The prosecution will be required to provide certain forms such as a 48 domestic form, a detective’s interview with the victim/witness and often photos or other medical records of injuries that were received. Examining this prosecution evidence, what it says, what is missing and what else could be out there is essential for the domestic violence attorney so they can properly cross-examine the responding officers and the alleged victim.

The Defense’s Evidence

Second is the defense evidence, their own photos, text messages, admissions or third-party witnesses who can be brought to court to be used as substantial evidence. About what happened and why the alleged victim is wrong, lying or otherwise incorrect and that the attorney’s client should be found not guilty.

Character Evidence

The third type of evidence is something that not everyone would think of but it is character evidence. This proves that the character and reputation of the person on trial, are a peaceful, and law-abiding person.

A defense attorney will assess the evidence against the specific charges by looking at the statutes that were written for each charge, breaking them up into the elements of a crime such as injury, intention and causation and matching that up with the evidence to see if there is something to meet each element of the crime.

From there, a plan can be formulated for trial or non-trial disposition of the case. All of this is dependent on the specific charges and what they believe the prosecution will be able to prove at trial or not prove at trial and how to move forward from there.

Common Domestic Violence Defenses

There are several defenses that could be used to defend against domestic violence charges. Every person possesses the right to defend themselves, to use reasonable force if they are in threat of injury or actually attacked.

Once the defense is served, the prosecution must rebut the defense beyond the reasonable doubt. They must prove the charge and prove that it was not self-defense beyond the reasonable doubt at the time the case goes to trial. This is a very powerful defense when two people are involved and one person is injured, but they may have been the person that started the physical altercation.

Sufficiency Of The Evidence

Another common defense is the defense of sufficiency of the evidence. This simply means there is not enough proof to convict someone beyond the reasonable doubt. A person facing these charges should always remember that one credible witness is enough to convict someone, but the credibility as well as the physical and other collaborating evidence can always be examined for sufficiency of the evidence, that is two.

Lack of Intent

The third is lack of intent and this is also tied to mistakes. Lack of intent simply means that the person did not intend to commit the crime that is alleged against them. Someone may have been injured and that was not the person’s intention. It might simply have been an accident and in that case the criminal intent is not there and the intent to commit a crime is not present.

Similarly, a statement may have been viewed as harassing or threatening but the intention of the defendant was not to harass or to threaten. These will often be examined by certain legal standards such as a reasonable person’s perception.

Understanding Defense of Others

Defense of others in Philadelphia domestic violence law is the reasonable use of force to stop harm that is immediately happening to another person. This can also be harm that is immediately about to happen under the reasonable belief of the person who uses self-defense on behalf of others.

This can be the defense of a sibling, a child or a random passerby, but the key to the defense is the reasonableness of their assumption about what is about to happen and reasonably supports the need to stop the person from continuing their assault.

How A Domestic Violence Attorney Could Help

A local Philadelphia domestic violence lawyer will be familiar with the Philadelphia police, how they prosecute cases, the Philadelphia district attorney’s office and how they also are seeking to prosecute cases. They will understand the law as it is applied in Pennsylvania and from the laws that are specific to the state Other than that, Philadelphia lawyers will be familiar with the Philadelphia jail system, court system and also the particular neighborhood and locations where these crimes are said to have happened.

Call today to get started building a Philadelphia domestic violence defense.