Attorneys Offering Skilled, Strategic Defense For Those Accused Of Domestic Violence
At Coover & Associates, our attorneys provide experienced, strategic defense representation against serious criminal charges, including those related to domestic violence. If you’ve been accused of harming or threatening a family or household member, our dedicated legal team can help you understand the allegations, assess your legal options and contest or otherwise resolve the charges in the most favorable manner available.
How Domestic Violence Cases Are Treated In The Criminal Justice System
In many states, domestic violence is a unique criminal offense. In Pennsylvania, however, it is not statutorily distinct from other crimes of violence and intimidation, such as assault, battery, harassment or stalking.
That being said, there are some differences in how police and prosecutors respond to domestic violence allegations. For instance, if an alleged victim calls the police to report that they have been abused or threatened by a family or household member, the police are likely to make an arrest and do not need a warrant to do so. The prosecutor then decides whether to proceed with charges. The decision is not left up to the alleged victim and the prosecutor may decide to continue prosecution against the wishes of the person who originally made the report.
As you can see, hastily made allegations of domestic violence can quickly get out of hand. That’s why, if you’ve been accused/arrested, you need to seek immediate help from an experienced criminal defense attorney like those at our firm. If we are contacted right away, we may be able to have the charges reduced or dismissed altogether.
Domestic Violence Offenses Can Be Charged As A Misdemeanor Or A Felony
Since it is not a separate crime, someone arrested for domestic violence will be charged with a more specific offense, such as:
- Simple assault or aggravated assault
- False imprisonment
- Causing someone to reasonably fear they will suffer serious bodily injury
- Making terroristic threats or stalking
Prosecutors will determine whether the charge is a misdemeanor or a felony based on the facts of the case. As a general rule, prosecutors will pursue the highest charges that they can support. This gives them leverage to convince the defendant to take a plea bargain. Therefore, if prosecutors in your case can make an argument for felony charges, they likely will.
The Collateral Consequences Of A Domestic Violence Charge Can Be Severe
Before you are convicted or even tried, charges related to domestic violence can have a profound negative impact on your life. Consequences could include:
- Orders of protection from abuse: You could be named in an order of protection. Depending on the terms of the order, you could be forced to move out of your home and lose contact with your children.
- Temporarily losing custody: Your spouse, partner or co-parent could be granted temporary custody of your children.
- Long-term custody issues: The charges (and especially a conviction) could be used against you in later child custody proceedings.
- Losing gun possession/ownership rights: Any guns in your possession could be temporarily seized. Upon conviction, you could potentially lose gun ownership rights.
- Problems with employment and public image: Domestic violence is a stigmatized offense, and many people will assume you are guilty without hearing your side of the story. This could result in job loss and/or damage to your standing in the community.
With so much at stake, you cannot afford to let things “settle down” or hope that they will just resolve themselves. Instead, contact our firm for the skilled and experienced legal help you need.
Reach Out Today For A Free Phone Consultation
Coover & Associates has offices in York, Carlisle, Chambersburg and Camp Hill, and we serve clients throughout central Pennsylvania. We offer free 30-minute phone consultations so that you can discuss your options and learn about how we can help. To get started, call us at 717-461-7789 or submit an online contact form.