Being accused of a crime can be a humiliating and frustrating experience, no matter what it entails. For individuals charged with domestic violence, moreover, the threat of public prosecution and having your name splashed across the internet or the papers can be particularly mortifying. Accusations of these offenses are stigmatizing and often lead to unwarranted or unfair conclusions about a person’s character or commitment to a relationship. Criminal defense attorney Ryan Schwartz understands the challenging circumstances for people who are fighting these charges. When you are facing threats to your legal freedom as well as your integrity and character, consulting a Atlanta domestic violence lawyer may be a critical step to take.Fighting Charges of Family Violence
Georgia law refers to domestic violence as “family violence.” This is considered to be any act of violence perpetrated by one member of a family against another member of the family. Although acts of violence imply crimes such as assault or battery, family violence can also include crimes such as stalking or trespassing on the property of another family member. Family violence can apply to acts of violence between spouses, whether opposite-sex or same-sex, as well as acts of violence by adults against children or vice versa. However, Georgia law explicitly excludes reasonable efforts by a parent to discipline a child, including corporal punishment of a child for disciplinary purposes.
Additionally, Georgia law applies unique restrictions on the investigation and arrest of individuals for domestic charges. Namely, officers investigating a claim of domestic violence may not decline to arrest an offender simply because the victim has decided that he or she does not want to press charges. Instead, the officers must independently evaluate the situation, attempt to identify the primary aggressor, and then determine whether arrest is appropriate for the aggressor. These laws arise from the recognition that many victims may be too intimidated to press charges against the perpetrator. These laws also recognize that domestic violence situations are exceedingly complex, and it can often be difficult to determine who is the perpetrator and who is the victim when both individuals have engaged in acts of violence against each other.
If they are prosecuted, family violence charges are treated as acts of violence with an additional punishment for the fact that the action occurred between family members. Thus, for instance, while simple battery may be charged as a misdemeanor, simple battery resulting from family violence may be charged as an aggravated misdemeanor, placing the defendant at risk of longer jail time and higher fines.
Accusations of domestic violence must be taken very seriously, since it is a serious crime and a problem in many households across the country. However, these claims often stem from complex and emotional family circumstances, and they are frequently more complicated than initially meets the eye. The first step in defending against domestic violence charges is making sure that the full picture of what happened is available to the judge and jury. If an act of violence did occur, but it was the result of acting in self-defense or in the defense of someone else, these are both legally valid defenses to domestic violence that can help you avoid a conviction for what occurred. A knowledgeable attorney can help you assess which defenses and other arguments might apply to your circumstances.Protect Your Rights by Enlisting a Domestic Violence Lawyer in Atlanta
Being accused of domestic violence can be a life-changing event, and it may threaten the trust that you have in those around you, the police, and the justice system. It is important that you proactively protect your rights when such charges arise and immediately work to clarify the situation and present your side of the story. At Schwartz Trial Law LLC, Atlanta domestic violence attorney Ryan Schwartz is knowledgeable in the nuances of the Georgia criminal justice system. He can help you strategize an aggressive defense to the charges you face. After serving as a criminal prosecutor, Ryan Schwartz uses the insights gained in that phase of his career to represent people who need a defense attorney to fight charges of theft offenses, drug crimes, DUI, traffic violations, or domestic violence. Call us at (678) 460-7568 or contact us online to set up a free consultation. We can assist people throughout the Atlanta metro area, as well as in Macon, McDonough, Lawrenceville, Decatur, Woodstock, and Gainesville, among other Georgia communities.