In life, things are often not what they seem, no matter how black and white or obvious they appear. A known TV personality is in fact fond of saying that even a pancake has two sides, because frankly, we cannot know what the truth is based on allegations, suspicions, or guesses. This can be particularly difficult to remember when the situation at hand is high pressured, wrought with emotion, or includes pain. [PS. Read our newest article here: Am I Going to Lose my Job Over a DUI Arrest?]
The media would have us believe, as do some very sad statistics, that domestic abuse is most often perpetrated against women by men. Despite the numbers and the very real stories many women and men share however, domestic abuse can only be defined as such in a court of law and not that of public opinion. No one can determine guilt outside a court and that is why you need to know your rights before you step into the courtroom or enter a plea.
So what do you do if the cops have been called to your home, the scene is chaotic, and emotions are running high? The one thing you most definitely should not do is admit guilt or wrongdoing. Period. Despite the intensity of the situation, it is in your best legal and long term interests to stay silent. Even the most avid television watcher knows that anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law, so do not fuel the side that may be against you.
Let’s take a step back from the situation, perhaps freeze frame it and look at it as an outsider. Can you determine, knowing only what you see before you, if anyone was hit? Can you determine who was hit? Are you familiar with the players, their history or the lens through which you are viewing them? Chances are high that the answers to all of those questions is no. And if it turns out that what looked like an obvious display of domestic abuse, was in fact a matter of self defense in which the “perpetrator” was in fact the victim, a guilty plea could, in short, unfairly ruin your life.
Even if, for example, you admit that you got caught up in the heat of the moment and struck your spouse, that is not anything you should share without representation or on a whim. If you feel you did the wrong thing and want to make amends with your partner, you need to do so within the confines of the law. An outright admission of guilt will make it quite difficult for you to ultimately enjoy even the possibility of achieving a more positive outcome.
Furthermore, it is pretty common for accusers to file for orders of restraint against the alleged abuser. However, in certain cases, the police who have been called to the scene can request an emergency protective order (EPO) based on what they determine will serve the situation and parties involved best. Again, it is crucial to understand that the moment at which the police arrive to your home is likely to be one of utter turmoil and disarray, where “he said, she said” abounds. Why give the authorities even more reason to get an EPO that will restrict access to your home and loved ones if it is simply not necessary?
Your innocence or guilt will not, nor should not be decided at the moment of accusation or arrest. The police know that and it is wise that you, as the accused, know that too. The person who has called 911, as well as the individuals who feel victimized, threatened, or hurt cannot be expected to know this. It is likely that they will be excited and impulsive in their reactions and statements. In fact, they may be ready to indict you in your living room! Mercifully, that will not happen, but it is up to you, even in the midst of bedlam, to maintain whatever composure you have and not say a word. No admission of guilt, no confession of misinterpreted deeds, and no acceptance of a fate you are unsure of.
If an allegation of domestic abuse has been filed against you, you need a reliable domestic violence defense attorney on your side. The Hurwitz Law Group, Inc concentrates in domestic violence defense cases in LA, having helped many clients achieve a positive outcome per their circumstances. Remember that it is is possible to prevent charges from being filed in these cases, so it is crucial that you hire an attorney immediately. The sooner from the time of arrest that you contact an attorney—the better the chance will be that you are able to prevent charges from being filed.
Call Attorney Hurwitz immediately for a free consultation and for the best chance of avoiding court and/or reaching a favorable result.