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Domestic Violence


Spousal abuse and domestic violence cases are common crimes in Massachusetts courts. What most people don't know is that local police departments have a mandatory arrest policy when police are called to any home for reports of domestic abuse or violence. What this means is that if your neighbor calls 911 for an argument they can hear between you and your husband, the police will arrive on your property with intent to arrest the more “culpable” individual, whoever they may determine that to be. In many cases, one of the adults involved will literally volunteer to be the one arrested so that the other can remain at home and possibly watch the children, and other times the police simply perceive the situation incorrectly.

Another fact many people are often unaware of is that in domestic violence accusations the victim doesn't have the power to “drop the charges.” After an individual has been taken into custody, that individual will be brought before the court for arraignment and the district attorney's office will then take over the case. Because the majority of prosecutors will never agree to dismiss any type of domestic disturbance case (domestic violence, battery, or violation of a restraining order) at arraignment, this is the time when you should hire a great Boston criminal defense attorney to work toward ultimately getting your case dismissed at a later date.


If you're on the other side of the case and are the victim of domestic violence and are seeking to have the charges dropped against your boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse/relative, you need to be fully prepared to undergo a lot of pressure from the district attorney's office. Very quickly in the criminal proceedings process a victim-witness advocate, whose job is to provide the victim with information as well as hear your side of the store regarding the alleged crime and defendant, will contact you. In most cases, the advocate will attempt to convince the victim to move forward with the charges and testify against the defendant. If you're a victim of domestic violence and are unfamiliar with the justice system, you can easily become confused or overwhelmed by this stage in the process. Be aware: unless you are married to the defendant and are protected by spousal immunity, the court can in fact force you to testify against the defendant. If you are served a subpoena and asked to testify, you can be jailed yourself for refusal.


Sometimes, though, there are instances where the charges are simply false or unnecessary. For example, when parallel divorce proceedings are taking place and emotions are unstable, former spouses will be seeking restraining orders or custody of their children. Dishonest divorce attorneys may poorly advise their clients to file criminal charges of domestic abuse for the purpose of gaining momentum in the divorce proceedings. If you feel you are a victim of false accusations in order to sway the court in a divorce, you'll need a Boston criminal defense lawyer who can quickly uncover the facts and protect your freedoms.


Because a domestic violence charge can seemingly make your private life very public and cause an embarrassing spectacle, you should hire a skilled and experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as charges are filed against you. This is your best defense against having your entire life derailed

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