Domestic Violence

To understand domestic violence charges, one has to understand recent enforcement trends and judicial policies. Over the past 20 years, police departments  have increasingly decided to arrest suspects  for crimes classified as ” domestic violence” regardless of what the victim wants, even when the case involves seemingly minor domestic disturbances.

For example, a neighbor reports to the police that she heard shouting from the home next door, where a Border Patrol Agent lives.  The police enter without a warrant, and only find a broken teapot. Noone has been hurt.  Nevertheless, the  partner who broke the teapot, the Border Patrol Agent,  is booked into jail for  “domestic violence criminal damage” even though the other domestic partner  (the victim) insists that she doesn’t want to press charges and begs the police not to arrest her partner.

The next morning, the judge typically orders the defendant to have “no contact” with the victim, and to “not return” to the scene, usually the defendant’s home.   This means that for law-abiding people, the defendant cannot return home or contact his partner, often for several weeks, even in a case where the victim partner does not want to press charges.    Moreover, the judge will often order the defendant to dispossess himself of all firearms.

For a law enforcement agent, the loss of firearm rights effectively means immediate demotion  by being placed on administrative leave, even though he has not been convicted, and even though his spouse insists that she does not want to press charges.

For these and other reasons,  domestic violence charges can be devestating to a career professional, especially those working in the military or law enforcement.  Civilians holding security clearances, fingerprint clearance cards,  or professional licenses can also face temporary or permanent job loss, reduction in pay or other consequences.

Michael routinely assists his clients to navigate the trecherous waters of domestic violence criminal and ancilliary proceedings.