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DAVID CLARK
Criminal Defense Attorney

Defending Domestic Violence Charges in Philadelphia

A conviction for domestic violence could have significant consequences. Those who have been charged could be ineligible to retain certain jobs, housing, and loans due to a conviction.

It is best to reach out to a seasoned domestic violence attorney. The attorney should have experience defending domestic violence charges in Philadelphia. They should have experience fighting against domestic violence charges. The domestic violence attorney should also be familiar with the domestic violence rooms 405 and 906. Those are the specific courtrooms that are used to prosecute these types of cases, and they are often staffed by Philadelphia’s family violence unit at the District Attorney’s office.

Steps to Build a Defense

To defend a domestic violence case, there are a few things a person could do to protect themselves. First, they should contact a domestic violence lawyer early and not resort to trying to solve the problem themselves. Those who have been charged with domestic violence should take notes and keep in contact with potential witnesses. If there is a witness that can help provide a defense such as self-defense, alibi or lack of sufficiency of evidence that nothing happened beyond the conversation getting heated, that could be crucial to their case.

Finally, they can work closely with their lawyer on collecting evidence right away. That could be text messages, social media messages, or other digital evidence that the defendant might have access to.

What Constitutes Self-Defense?

When defending domestic violence charges in Philadelphia, the attorney should determine if there were any mitigating factors such as self-defense. Under Philadelphia law, self-defense is the reasonable use of force to protect one’s self or another when faced with physical force. The key in this defense is a reasonable use of force, and this specifically goes to something like if someone attacks an individual with their fist, that person cannot turn around and shoot them repeatedly or stab them repeatedly. That would be an excessive use of force to stop what was coming at them.

If someone attacks an individual with a weapon, typically the law will allow that individual to defend themselves. Each circumstance is unique as the circumstances and the reasonable belief that they were about to be attacked at that moment. A person does not have to be injured to assert self-defense. They only need to be in a reasonable fear of immediate danger.

Immediate Consequences of a Domestic Violence Conviction In Philadelphia

A domestic violence conviction, whether on a misdemeanor or a felony could have a significant impact on a person’s future in a few ways. One, it could lead to family discord or loss of custody rights consequences in the future. It could lead to loss of employment. It could also affect a person’s professional licenses or ability to get employment if a person is convicted of an assault charge or a threat charge, especially the common domestic violence terroristic aggravated assault and simple assault.

Furthermore, there could be large fines associated with a person’s case and court calls if a person is convicted of the crime. An individual could lose civil rights such as the ability to serve on juries and own firearms if a person is convicted. These convictions are permanent. Misdemeanors and felonies cannot be expunged from their records, so it is best to seek help from an attorney as soon as possible.

Long-Term Consequences

The long-term consequences for domestic violence in Philadelphia include incarceration for being convicted of the crimes. They could also be required pay court fees, fines and restitution to the victim, to the court, and to the victim’s fund in Philadelphia. A conviction could cause loss of employment, loss of job opportunities in the future, immigration consequences if a person in the country on a visa, loss of family court and custody rights and loss of civil rights in the future such as the ability to ever purchase a firearm or other civil rights that could come up.

How a Domestic Violence Attorney Could Help

It is crucial for someone to contact a Philadelphia domestic violence lawyer because the lawyer will have specific knowledge of the prosecutions, the police procedures, and case law. This includes things such as pre-trial diversion for domestic violence first-time offenders as well as how to conduct a preliminary hearing for a domestic violence case or take a misdemeanor domestic violence charge to trial and get a good result for their case.

Call today to get started defending domestic violence charges in Philadelphia.