Being charged with domestic assault and battery can be a confusing and frightening experience. Even if it's your first offense, a domestic abuse conviction can result in jail or prison time, as well as substantial fines. It can also ruin your reputation, career, and relationships with friends and family members. With so much at stake, it can be difficult to know what to do.
Most people who've been charged with domestic violence offenses don't have any idea how to navigate the situation. This is unfortunate because what people do—or don't do—in the days, weeks, and months after they're charged can have a significant impact on the outcome of their case.
If you're facing domestic assault and battery charges in Oklahoma, these tips can help you help your attorney prepare a strong defense and avoid mistakes that could add to your legal troubles.
What to Do When Charged With Domestic Assault & Battery
What you do after being charged with domestic violence can affect your finances, freedom, and future. Fortunately, following these steps can help your case, rather than hurt it.
- DO – Take advantage of your right to remain silent. Why? Because anything you say can—and will—be used against you in a court of law. The best way to avoid self-incrimination is to politely refuse to make statements or answer questions without an attorney present.
- DO – Preserve all evidence related to the case. Write down everything you remember about the incident, make a list of witnesses, take photos of any injuries you sustained and, most importantly, don't destroy any evidence—even if you think it could hurt your chances in court. It's always better to be honest with your attorney about potentially damaging evidence than it is to try to hide it.
- DO – Change all of your passwords. When you're facing domestic assault and battery charges, taking steps to protect yourself and your assets is absolutely crucial. Start by changing the passwords you use for your phones, computers, cloud-based programs, email accounts, finances, and social media profiles.
- DO – Contact a criminal defense attorney immediately. The criminal justice system is complex and complicated. A skilled criminal defense attorney with experience handling Oklahoma domestic assault and battery cases can help you understand your rights, investigate your case, and mount a vigorous defense.
What to Avoid When Charged With Domestic Assault & Battery
Mistakes and missteps can make a bad legal situation even worse. Take care to avoid these case-damaging errors.
- DON'T – Discuss the case with anyone other than your attorney. Conversations between you and your attorney are privileged and private. The same can't be said for conversations you might have with friends, family members, or coworkers.
- DON'T – Contact the victim. Never contact the victim—not even to apologize or try to smooth things over. This is particularly important if the victim's been granted a no-contact or protective order, as violating these orders can result in additional criminal charges. Note that even trying to make contact with a victim through a third party can be considered a violation of a no-contact or protective order.
- DON'T – Post about the case on social media. The less you say on social media, the better, as what you post can be used against you in court. Avoid posting about the domestic violence incident, the charges you're facing, the victim, or even your lifestyle. In fact, if possible, it's best to deactivate your social media accounts until your case is resolved.
- DON'T – Post bail without consulting an attorney. People arrested for domestic abuse are subject to a 72-hour “cool down” hold, so by the time they go before a judge or magistrate, they're often eager to post bail and go home. However, bonding out can have unintended consequences. Consult an attorney before posting bail.
Our Knowledgeable Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help You Navigate This Harrowing Experience
If you've been charged with domestic assault and battery, you need a criminal defense attorney who knows the relevant laws inside and out. The Berlin Law Firm can help you understand your rights and avoid mistakes that could harm your case. Do you have questions about how to handle domestic abuse charges? Contact the Berlin Law Firm today to schedule an appointment for a private case consultation.