Law Office of Dattan Scott Dattan - Anchorage Criminal Defense Lawyers
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Possible Defenses Against a Charge of Domestic Violence

Alaska has a depressingly poor record for domestic violence. In fact, statistics show that the prevalence of domestic violence in Alaska is worse than in any other state in the U.S. Domestic violence by itself is not a single crime, but a term that includes many harmful actions that are considered illegal. Domestic violence is a term that includes physical assault, willful intimidation and harassment, battery, sexual assault, stalking and emotional abuse. It occurs when one person systematically uses their power against another person, typically a partner, spouse or someone else in their immediate family.

It doesn’t mean that anyone who has been accused of a domestic violence crime by their partner, spouse or family member is automatically guilty. A lot of domestic violence goes on behind closed doors and while it may be the case that there is more domestic violence occurring than is reported there are also cases where people are accused wrongly of domestic violence. Accusations can lead to wrongful arrest and unnecessary emotional stress and harm being inflicted on someone who is the subject of false or misleading statements made against them.

If you have been accused of a domestic violence crime and you face police interrogation or arrest, you should immediately contact a criminal defense attorney to represent your interests. An arrest based on nothing more than hearsay should not result in a conviction unless there is clear and convincing evidence beyond reasonable doubt that you have committed a crime. Many charges of domestic violence crimes are thrown out of court when there is insufficient evidence presented by the prosecution, or counter evidence that clearly shows that the allegations were incorrect. Unfortunately, because domestic violence is so prevalent in Alaska, it is hard to mount a convincing defense all by yourself. An experienced  criminal defense attorney may use any combination of the following typical defenses against a charge of domestic violence.

Defense #1 You had an alibi

If you believe that accusations against you are untrue because you were not present at the place and time stated by your accuser, your attorney will attempt to prove that you have a valid alibi, i.e. that there is evidence that you could not have done what it is alleged that you did because you were somewhere else at that time.

Defense#2 You were acting in self-defense

With this defense, you do not deny that you may have done some harm to your accuser, but you did so in self defense. To use this angle, your attorney will attempt to build a picture of your relationship which establishes a history of violence against you, or a breakdown in your relationship which may have involved you being attacked.

Defense#3 The incident was an accident

Like the last defense, you admit that some of the allegations may be accurate, but your intentions were not in any way to harm the accuser, but in fact were due to an accident, e.g. the clumsy use of a knife or firearm which accidentally harmed your accuser.

Defense#4 The allegations were untrue because they were exaggerated or your accuser lied

Your attorney will attempt to piece together the history of your relationship with your accuser, including physical and medical evidence if it exists and information and evidence from those who may have more personal knowledge of your relationship to identify the validity of the allegations against you.

Defense#5 The prosecution has insufficient evidence against you

This is the most common reason for a charge to be dismissed by a court. In fact, it can be quite hard for prosecutors to find sufficient evidence against a domestic violence offender as it often relies on hearsay. Prosecutors have a better chance of proving a crime has occurred when there has been a long history of abuse, there was a protective order in force, convincing evidence from witnesses of domestic violence, physical signs of assault etc. Your attorney will attempt to investigate what evidence the prosecution has and whether this is sufficient to back up the charge against you.

Defense#6 The police acted inappropriately

Domestic violence is a socially and emotionally charged phenomenon. Police may feel they are under pressure to arrest you, but fail to use correct procedures e.g. fail to read you your Miranda rights or allow you to contact an attorney. Incorrect police procedure may be used by your attorney to demand an automatic dismissal of the charge against you.

A domestic violence conviction can affect you for the rest of your life

It is not worth trying to defend yourself against an unfair or false allegation of domestic violence. The media tends to be on the side of the alleged victim, even if a crime has not yet been determined. This can affect the bias of a jury against you. Make sure that you use the services of an experienced criminal defense attorney. In Anchorage, contact the Law Office of Dattan Scott Dattan at 907-276-8008, he will fight for your rights to protect you.

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Law Office of Dattan Scott Dattan

2600 Denali Street, Suite 460
Anchorage, AK 99503
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