The issue of domestic violence is a fragile lane to tread on. If you are not careful, it can affect the mental health of victims in a terrible way. And as a defense attorney, your job is to ensure your client is safe in the end. Hence, you must be careful with the methods you apply when handling domestic violence cases.
To perform better as a domestic violence defense lawyer, it would help if you know what is proper from what is not. Being able to distinguish what counts as domestic violence from what doesn’t is integral to solving the problem.
That is because you can respond reasonably and plan well for your client. When you don’t have a good understanding of cases centered on this topic, making a mistake may be inevitable.
Having understood the weight of this topic better, what tips would help you handle domestic violence cases better?
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In this article, you will learn five tips to help you deal with domestic violence cases. Even if you cannot avert the initial violence, you should break even in the end.
Below are tips that will help you better deal with domestic violence cases. They are:
Ensure you have enough evidence, regardless of whose side you are on as an attorney. Like every case, a domestic violence suit holds no water unless evidence supports it.
As you gather evidence, ensure they are valid and strong enough. Having stronger proof will help prove your client’s innocence better. You must take this seriously if you are a defense lawyer for the accused. Your client could spend a good time in jail if you make mistakes in gathering proof.
Get as many photos or videos as you can. You can also record calls or text messages to confirm your client is a victim.
When you can, get witnesses. Ensure you get the statements of these witnesses. You can even bring them to the court stand so that the court takes their report. The more evidence you have, the better.
Domestic violence is tough. As a domestic violence lawyers attorney, you must be careful not to make it more challenging by adding to your client’s trauma.
To further reduce their trauma, avoid pressing for too much information. You can get extra information from other witnesses, police statements, and court documents instead. That way, your client does not have to keep saying the details of their stories and relive their trauma.
Note: Before you probe your client for information, it is good you understand that narrating their stories will take time. They may not feel comfortable giving you details. So if you meet any of these clients, be sure to take it slow.
Trying to solve it fast could make victims keep shut rather than relate their issues. That is a much more difficult situation to deal with.
Domestic violence cases are pretty complex. But it could get worse when your client picks up other charges. And most times, they pick up extra charges because they don’t understand what they should avoid as long as the case stays in the court. So to avoid complicating the matter, it would help if they know criminal orders of protection.
Common conditions that twist domestic violence cases are technical violations. Here, one of the parties contacts the other, going against the court’s protection order.
If it is bad, it can make the defaulter prone to serious felony charges . And these charges may make the case linger for long. It can also lessen your client’s chances of coming out victorious, even if they are innocent.
It will help if you guide your client through the protection orders. Ensure they keep up if there’s a full no-contact order. Don’t only guide them; ensure they follow through as well. Make clients understand the outcomes of going against these orders.
That way, no matter how tempting it is to reach out to the other party, they can resist the urge to do so. That is, if the case is still pending in court. The client should also understand that these orders are only for a short time. With little patience, they can save themselves so much.
It would help if you warned clients to be careful of less restrictive orders. Some accused, if found guilty, may want to convince the victim that they are good. And if possible, go on with their relationship. Less restrictive orders can allow them to get close to the victims.
If this is the advantage, why should clients be careful of partial orders?
While full orders come with defined rules, partial orders do not. Hence, it is easier to know when one violates full orders or not.
But since partial orders are unclear, defendants may default, sometimes without knowing. And this makes the case more complicated than it already is. So as the defense attorney, you must clarify issues like this. Clarity will help them avoid getting into more complex cases.
Sometimes victims are often unwilling to tell their stories. This may be due to fear, as the violent person often frightens them about disclosing information on the matter.
To deal with your clients better, ensure you gain their trust. You gain their confidence from the way you speak with them. Make sure what they share with you remains confidential when you can do so.
However, it would help if you knew the dividing line. Inform necessary organizations and offer protection when you can so they are more secure.
As a lawyer, it’s a great thing to go overboard for your clients. Yet, it would help if you remember that you are human. Hence, you can’t guarantee to win every case – even if you see your client is innocent.
Give every client all your best. But where there is not enough evidence to prove your client’s innocence, remember you are still a mortal. And that itself is a limitation. Never put yourself in dangerous situations that could cost your life. Instead, pay attention to the facts that you can control.
It will help if you plan for the worse too. Sometimes, cases may not go the way you plan them. So when you can do nothing, you may want to let those cases be.
Don’t make risky decisions or behave like a demi-god to prove what is true or what is not.
With the rise in domestic violence cases, you must be careful when handling them. You wouldn’t want to make the situation worse than it already is.
Also, it would help if you remember that not all cases are the same. That means you need to apply specific measures to get them right.
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