February 15, 2022 | Domestic Violence
If you’ve been charged with domestic violence, prosecutors usually have one goal in mind: they want to convict you. The prosecutor may use numerous tactics to achieve that goal. Some prosecution tactics may be underhanded, while a few of the tactics could blatantly violate your civil rights.
Understanding prosecution tactics in a domestic violence case can help you avoid mistakes that could hurt your case. It can also help you spot misconduct that your defense attorney may use to support a motion to dismiss the domestic violence charges.
The types of prosecution tactics a prosecutor may use in your case include:
Seeking Protective Orders to Isolate the Victim from the Defendant
In some cases, parties may resolve the dispute that led to the domestic violence allegations and reconcile. First, however, the parties need to communicate and attend therapy. That is impossible when the prosecution fights for and obtains a protective order.
When a protective order is in place, the defendant is prohibited from contacting the victim. Therefore, the parties cannot engage in productive conversation. In some cases, a protective order is justified to protect the victim. However, there are cases where communication could help.
The court may order the defendant not to speak with the victim as a condition of bond. In other cases, the prosecution pushes for a protective order to keep the parties apart.
Calling the Defendant’s Credibility Into Question
Police officers and prosecutors err on the side of caution and often believe the victim. In some cases, they believe the victim even if there appears to be evidence proving the defendant’s innocence.
Prosecutors may use tactics to call your credibility into question. They may tell the jury you are trying to avoid penalties, and because you’re the defendant, your testimony should be discounted as self-serving.
A good defense attorney knows this tactic well and will be able to defend you by calling other witnesses’ credibility into question and demonstrating exculpatory evidence in your favor.
History of Violence Disclosed
If you have any prior acts of violence on your criminal record, the prosecutor may fight to have that information included at trial. The prosecutor wants to demonstrate that you have a history of committing violent acts to insinuate to the court that you are capable of committing similar acts now.
However, if you try to argue that you were acting in self-defense, the prosecutor may fight to suppress any prior violent acts of the victim. The prosecutor’s goal is to protect the victim and convict you.
Recording Telephone Calls from Jail
Most of your communications in jail are recorded. The prosecutor may be able to access the recorded calls to obtain information. For example, if you call the victim or a witness, the prosecutor may allege that you attempted to pressure or intimidate the witness. Likewise, if you discuss the case with anyone, the prosecutor may use part of the conversation out of context to argue guilt.
For this reason, it is always recommended to only speak with your attorney about your case.
Felony to Misdemeanor Pleas Deals
The prosecutor may charge you with a felony even though the crime could be charged as a misdemeanor. The goal is to pressure you into pleading down the charge from a felony to a misdemeanor. It is an old trick that still works as a successful prosecution tactic, especially with individuals who choose not to retain a Louisville criminal defense lawyer.
Another similar tactic is piling on the charges to force a plea agreement. For example, the prosecutor may charge you with domestic violence, trespass, criminal damage to property, witness tampering, disorderly conduct, and assault. The idea is you are more willing to plead guilty to one charge to have the other charges “dropped.”
Violations of the Brady Rule
The Brady Rule requires prosecutors to turn over all information and evidence favorable to the defense. Unfortunately, some prosecutors bury the information within the evidence that is damning to your case. Therefore, a domestic violence defense lawyer must carefully review every document to find the evidence.
In some cases, the prosecutor conceals Brady material from the defense. If the defense finds out and files a Brady motion, the judge could rule that the material is inadmissible, declare a mistrial, or dismiss the charges entirely.
Seek Legal Help with a Domestic Violence Charge
An experienced Louisville criminal defense lawyer understands these tactics. They understand what to look for and how to respond. They know how to stand up for you at trial and push back against prosecution tactics. Working with an experienced criminal defense lawyer can help you avoid the harsh consequences of a domestic violence conviction.