Posts Categorized Domestic Assault

Domestic Assault Law Changes in August

New domestic assault laws make arrest easier, dismissal harder On August 1, 2014, a new law goes into affect which broadens the basis on which a person may be arrested and charged with domestic assault.  It now includes provisions for misdemeanor arrest, and expands the time frame to 72 hours.  If you are charged with domestic assault, or someone you know has just been arrested for domestic assault, here’s why you need to involve a criminal defense attorney immediately. The politics of domestic assault continue to ignore the rights of the accused and discourage investigation and common sense. It is often politically incorrect to doubt the words of an accuser, particularly a woman Sadly, however, we have created a system that does provide incentive to manufacture domestic assault allegations, and for the accuser to stick to their false story.  As discussed previously at Minnesota Legal Defense, The system also makes it extremely difficult for the accuser to “drop charges” so to speak.  There are a number of attributes which make domestic assault so difficult from the very beginning:   (1) The speed with which various mechanisms move when accusations are made (2) The immediate isolation of the accused. (3) The affects on pending or soon to be initiated family law proceedings. (4) The ability of the accuser to continue to manufacture evidence at trial. From the moment 911 is called, a very fast process begins, and you’re going to jail. Law enforcement and prosecuting authorities take domestic assault very seriously, as well they should. According to a 2012 Domestic Violence Report citing to the 2010 Minnesota Crime Victim Survey, as many as 201,814 adults may have experienced domestic violence in 2010. Besides the wrongfulness of this act, the other concern of law enforcement is that perpetrators of domestic violence may go on to harm their victims repeatedly. Abusive relationships have been known to escalate quickly. No officer wants to be the one that did not respond to a 911 call only to find a murder has occurred. For this reason, police respond swiftly to domestic assault calls. The person that calls 911 often has a distinct advantage in that they will tell the first version of events. At that point, invariably, officers end up subject to a phenomenon known as confirmation bias. When they arrive on scene, they will be looking for evidence which confirms the facts of the initial call. The caller will also often be the first person interviewed at the scene, further securing this bias. From there, they will interview the suspect, and selectively record and put in their reports those portions of the story that confirm the accuser’s version of events. It’s for this reason that it is important to not talk to the police. You may think that you’re helping yourself and that you can prove your innocence, but the officer is most often looking for you to say the magic words that confirm any part of the accuser’s story. Frankly, any confirmation that you… Read more {+}

Domestic Assault: Why Victims Don’t Control Charges

The Victim Has No Control Alex De Marco, Domestic Assault Defense Attorney Domestic assault is probably the second most common crime in Minnesota that carries with it actual consequences, next to DWI.  That is because, just like DWI, a person can be arrested for DWI at the scene on virtually no real evidence whatsoever.  It is not an exaggeration to say if your significant other or family member says you struck them, or even placed them in fear of being injured, that is absolutely all it takes to be arrested.  There are numerous organizations and “battered women shelters” which receive a combination of public and private money, and they have combined with various activist organizations to “crack down” on domestic assault.  This has resulted in unintended consequences. One of those consequences is that, even if the alleged victim does not want to “press charges”, even if she changes her story or admits she lied, the charges do not get dismissed on that statement.  Too often our law firm is told “she doesn’t want to press charges so this is an easy win.”  Not as easy as you think.  The phrase “press charges” is largely the result of television shows, and a different time in law when people actually had some control over what their police force did in their name.  It is very true that some victims of domestic abuse do not not report every incident of assault, and face a great deal of psychological pain and distortion if they are in such a relationship.  It is fashionable to talk about this as “battered women syndrome” or some similar description.  The politics of domestic assault have brought this disorder to light with the best of intentions.  For centuries women lived in shadows of submission and abuse with no redress for their pain, and no just punishment for their abuser.    Contrary to what is often reported, however, such a “syndrome” is an abrogation from the norm, and is not widespread or common to every or even most victims of domestic abuse.  Domestic abuse often causes divorces or separation in a short period of time, and after all it is the natural instinct of any person assaulted to fight back and/or contact authorities after the event.  However, the focus on this unique phenomenon, syndromes and disorders that cause victims to languish in silence for years and years, has led to a an erroneous assumption that every person who calls the police and tells one story, and then changes it, is lying because they are terrified of their abuser, or suffer from some “syndrome.”  This presumption has resulted in a process that prevents the central function of investigation and prosecution:  to seek the truth. We like to think that once an accusation has been made, someone who has lied or misunderstood a perceived incident can come forth and tell THE TRUTH, and spare the accused the very real consequences of criminal prosecution.  Unfortunately, the tactics of many prosecuting authorities, officers, and even… Read more {+}