Victim Defendant Representation

Understanding the nature of your legal problem is critical to avoiding mistakes early in your case. Please review the Quick Info for Victim Defendant Representation page which includes the Who, What, When, Where and How.

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Understanding Victim Defendant Representation

Many women and men who are accused of domestic violence are actually victims of domestic violence. They either were acting in self-defense, set up entirely, or the victim of ongoing abuse that prompted a violent act in response. Unfortunately, our domestic violence response system is not perfect and tends to make arrest and investigatory decisions based upon superficial factors. These factors might include who called 911 first, who was more upset, who had the greater apparent physical injury. Sometimes gender bias plays a role. Many abusers know how to work the domestic violence response system to their advantage.

Resolving Your Case

Representation in these circumstances requires an intense multifaceted approach that will include many of the steps taken in any domestic violence defense but will also include gathering information from other sources. The first step for a victim defendant should be attempting to educate and persuade the prosecutor as to the true facts of the situation. Many good prosecutors will pay close attention to evidence that the defendant is actually victim.

In the civil domestic violence protection order context, the same level of work is involved but on an expedited basis because of the different timelines applicable to these proceedings. In the civil domestic violence protection order context, it is the judge or commissioner who must be convinced that the petitioner is actually the abuser. Fortunately, the law does recognize that there are circumstances where the petitioner is actually the abuser and authorizes the court to realign the parties and make the original petitioner the respondent and the restrained party under a protection order.