How Soon Could An Attorney Get Involved In A Domestic Violence Case?
The attorney could get involved as soon as the person got out of jail and went down to get processed. The first thing the attorney would do is contact the court and let them know the person was being represented. The case would often go straight to trial that first day.
Sometimes further discussions would need to be had, and an attorney would sometimes be able to resolve the case through a civil restraint, basically telling the victim they would be given the restraining order they wanted, but it would be as a private agreement between the victim and the other party so the court would not have to issue it and they would not have to deal with all the other consequences. They would agree to give the victim the things they wanted, but it would be through a private agreement rather than something that would show up on their background.
This is very important for a very compelling reason that if the person was looking to divorce someone, or they were looking to get them to pay alimony, then they would get a lot more money if they were working and had an income than if the other party had been put out of work. The person seeking the restraining order would sometimes have as much of an interest in the restrained person having a large income as the person who was restrained.
Do Attorney’s Often Have To Deal With Domestic Violence As Part Of Divorce?
Domestic violence is often the first step toward divorce. There are times where a domestic violence restraining order would lead into a custody situation which would then lead into the beginning of support payments which would eventually end up in a divorce. The person would probably not get back with their spouse or lover if they broke the orbital bone in their head, although some people do get back together. An attorney would need to have a firm understanding of both criminal law and family law to be able to handle these cases.
Clients sometimes try to get someone who only handles matrimonial law, to try to handle a domestic violence case, and although some attorneys are quite good at it, for the most part, they would be at a disadvantage when dealing with the criminal aspects of the case. I often encounter people who have the criminal background, but not the family law background, which is one of the things we excel in because we handle both angles and are very proficient at both the criminal and family law aspects, so the client would be getting the best of both worlds if they hired us.
Immigration law can also come into play. I was recently in court for a gentleman who, if the restraining order had been issued, would not have been able to have his visa extended and would have had to leave the country. An attorney would have to deal with a couple of disciplines and that would get us into the area of the powers of the Family Court judge.
A Family Court judge would also be able to order damages for the aggressor against the victim, which is usually something for which they would have to go to a personal injury lawsuit and they would be able to do it summarily without full evidence. They could order the person out of their home, which would normally be a landlord-tenant matter. They could order support, which would normally be something that would come up in a divorce, at least on a temporary basis and they could affect custody.
The powers of a Family Court judge, being that of the chancery proceeding, are vast and practically unlimited. Once someone gets into a domestic violence case, the things the judge could do would be almost without limit.
Why Should Someone Consult A Private Attorney Who Specializes In These Cases, Even For A Minor Domestic Charge?
There is never a minor domestic violence charge, because the person who was bringing the charge would be made to sit down with the domestic violence team before they decided to dismiss a case and they would be pushing the person to go forward with the case. Cases can have dramatic repercussions that can last a lifetime with regards to both the ability to get jobs and criminal sanctions or just putting oneself at the risk of the other person fabricating violations.
Once a domestic violence order was there, the person who had the order could falsely say they saw the other person in their house, so the police would go and arrest them anytime they wanted them arrested. Most people do not know the rules of the game, they would not know where they would have to report and they would not be aware of the many trapdoors in a domestic violence case that would make them end up in jail, because there are probably about forty different ways the person could get in serious trouble in Family Court.
Additionally, if the person who was trying to bring the case was male, then they should know there is a strong prejudice for the wife in these cases.
As An Attorney, How Do You Step In And Mitigate These Bad Circumstances?
The attorney would be by their client’s side every step of the way, so there would always be someone there to help them make better decisions. We would send them to counseling if counseling was needed. We would go to the courthouse with them to make sure they knew there was a separate place for defendants to report to rather than going to the main entrance, because if the person went to the wrong entrance and interacted with the victim, then they would be arrested for violating the restraining order even though they were at court for that reason.
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