Question: My husband got into an argument and things got out of hand. We've been married 5 years and he has no criminal record. I don't know what got into him but he lost it and ended up slapping me, leaving a bruise on my face. The neighbors heard the commotion, the cops arrived, and my husband was arrested on the grounds of domestic violence. I want the charges dropped because I don't want this to cause an issue with his employment and I think we can work it out. Is it possible to do so? Should I hire an attorney?
Answer: Domestic violence laws have become more strict across the United States as the serious nature and frequency of these cases have increased. Understand that once a domestic violence incident is reported and starts being handled by the police, it's no longer a matter of the victim versus their spouse. It's the government versus the offender. Arrest decisions are up to the police officer, and prosecutors make the charging decisions.
Some states have mandatory arrest policies and minimum jail holds when police officers have probable cause to believe a suspect committed domestic violence. And many prosecutors' offices have adopted evidence-based prosecution policies, meaning prosecutors must evaluate whether they can prove the case without the victim's willingness to cooperate or testify. The prosecution will be looking at physical evidence collected, medical reports, eyewitness accounts, and a defendant's prior record.
While the prosecutor makes the charging decisions, victim input is important in these cases. Ask to speak to the prosecutor, reach out to a victim's advocate, or hire a family law attorney. You may be able to reach a plea bargain to a lesser offense or find another solution that takes into account your safety.