Grand Rapids Domestic Violence Lawyer
False accusations of domestic violence unfortunately occur too often, and the stigma of an accusation can be difficult to shake. At Grabel & Associates, our Grand Rapids domestic violence lawyer understands how these situations can occur, and know how to design a plan for you to be successful when facing a domestic violence charge. Our first mission when dealing with a domestic violence charge is to get that charge dismissed. If it is not possible to get the charge dismissed, then we will approach the case with the main goal of making sure that you do not end up with a criminal conviction. Our attorneys have won all types of domestic violence cases both in Grand Rapids and around Kent County.
Local Counsel for Grand Rapids Domestic Violence Defense
When you hire experienced local counsel, you give yourself the advantage of having an attorney on your side who has prior experience working with the prosecutors, judges, and police in your local area. In and around Grand Rapids, the attorneys at Grabel & Associates have defended clients in all the area courts, in front of all of the area judges. We pride ourselves on holding the Kent County Prosecutor’s Office to the responsibilities of their office for each and every case. When you are in court with an attorney from our office, you can rest assured that your attorney has earned a reputation in that court to be tough, intelligent, and relentless. If you are facing a domestic violence charge in the Grand Rapids area, contact an experienced local criminal defense attorney immediately who can answer your most important questions right away. We are conveniently located in Grand Rapids to help you with your domestic violence case.
A number of questions commonly come up during consultations relating to domestic violence cases; some of the most common questions and their related answers are discussed below:
What If My Accuser (Significant Other, Family Member, or Roommate) Wants to Drop the Charges in my Domestic Violence case?
If you accuser wants to drop the charges in a domestic violence cased, you can still be prosecuted. People make the mistake in assuming that if they make the call and accuse someone of domestic violence that they have some level of control with any of the criminal charges. The simple answer to this question is that the accuser is not in control of either charging any crimes or dismissing any charges when dealing with a domestic violence case. When a claim of domestic violence is made, the prosecutor themselves decides whether charges should be filed and later, if they should be dismissed. The prosecutor’s office is said to “take over the case” once any charges are authorized. The only other person with the authority to dismiss domestic violence charges is a judge. A judge can dismiss domestic violence charges for a number of legal reasons.
The Judge Said I Can’t Go Home, But My Accuser Is Ok With it
If you are facing a domestic violence charge and the judge set a bond condition prohibiting you from going home, then the only way that order can be changed is by either that or another judge. If your accuser is ok with you going home while facing a domestic violence charge, then that information needs to be relayed to your attorney immediately. If your attorney is successful in convincing the judge to allow you to go home, it will be because you acted appropriately and intelligently during the case. If a judge orders that you can’t do something, don’t do it until the judge says otherwise. If you go home while there are active bond conditions prohibiting you from going home, then you are subject to arrest. A judge’s orders can be changed, but they have to addressed through a proper bond hearing in court, preferably with an experienced domestic violence defense attorney by your side.
What is a Civil Standby?
When a domestic violence charge occurs between two people who live together, it usually means that the person who is accused is prohibited from going home and must find somewhere else to stay while the case proceeds. A civil standby is a process by which someone who is accused of domestic violence and lives with their accuser a way to allow them to get their clothing and belongings without violating a judge’s bond condition against going to the house. A civil standby is an appointment that is made with the police which allows the police to accompany the parties at the house while the person accused gets necessary personal items.
Can I Press Charges Against My Accuser?
Once the prosecutor’s office has taken a side in a case, it is extremely unlikely that they will switch sides unless the accuser completely recants their accusations. Even when accusers recant, prosecutor’s offices are reluctant to press charges against them. Prosecutors are also often bound by office policies against charging people that they once advocated for. If you are accused of domestic violence, your first steps should be focused on properly defending and winning your case. It is extremely unlikely that you will be able to press charges against your accuser unless something occurs that completely changes the prosecutor’s mind.
What If I Was Acting in Self-Defense?
If you have been charged with domestic violence but were acting in self-defense, then that defense can only be raised at trial. In the state of Michigan, once the issue of self-defense has been properly presented during a criminal trial, the defendant is entitled to have the jury read the instructions on self-defense for their deliberations. Once self-defense is raised, the prosecutor will not only still have the burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, they are also required to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant was not acting in self-defense. If a prosecutor is not able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant’s actions were not in self-defense, then the jury can appropriately find the defendant not guilty.
What is a 769.4a Deferral?
MCL 769.4a is a section in the Michigan criminal law statutes that deals with domestic violence deferrals. A deferral, generally, is where the court will erase a conviction after a court-ordered period of probation. It is a one-time program that allows someone who has been charged with domestic violence to enter a guilty plea and have their domestic violence conviction dismissed after they are successful on probation. A deferral under 769.4a is specifically tailored to domestic violence cases and has a number of requirements that you won’t find in probation orders for other types of cases.
How Does a 769.4a Deferral Work?
If a defendant pleads guilty under 769.4a, then they will be referred to the probation department who will conduct an interview with the defendant to put together a presentencing report for the judge. In this report, the probation agent will list a number of recommendations that should be included in the defendant’s order of probation from the judge. A 769.4a deferral usually last two years and requires the defendant to undergo anger management classes, random drug and alcohol testing, among other requirements. If someone is successful on a 769.4a deferral, it will result in the case being dismissed from his or her criminal record.
Can I Legally Own a Firearm Having a Domestic Violence Conviction?
If you have a domestic violence conviction or any judicial order relating to a domestic violence charge, then it is illegal under both state and federal law to own a firearm. The court will likely seize any guns that are owned by the defendant during a domestic violence case. You may be able to recover your gun rights after a period of time. If you have questions related to this issue, it is important to speak to an experienced domestic violence defense attorney.
What if My Accuser is Lying?
If your accuser is lying, it is important that you maintain your composure and ask to speak to an attorney. Anything you say while police are investigating or interviewing you can be used against you. In the state of Michigan, if an accusation of domestic violence is made, then the police must arrest the person accused. It may not result in criminal charges, but it will result in the accused being taken to the police station or jail. Your attempts to avoid arrest by telling the police that she is lying will likely not prevent anything. Use your right to remain silent and call an attorney as soon as you are able.
Can I Charge My Accuser with Perjury?
The criminal charge of perjury is exceedingly rare and requires on the record proof that the accuser was not telling the truth. The potential for a perjury charge should be discussed with your attorney as your specific circumstances will dictate whether a perjury charge can occur. You may, however, be able to file a civil lawsuit depending on the outcome of your criminal case.
What About My Right to a Trial?
Your right to trial is the bedrock right that we have under the United States Constitution. If you have been charged with domestic violence, you have the right to a jury trial where it must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed the crime of domestic violence. Our attorneys at Grabel & Associates have over 100 years of combined experience in successfully representing numerous clients charged with domestic violence all over the state of Michigan. We will specifically tailor your defense for your case and circumstances in order to put you in the best position for success. To arrange a free consultation with one of our attorneys, call us at Grabel & Associates at 616-213-4133 or contact us online.