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Charged with Domestic Violence? How to Avoid Even Bigger Trouble

It's easier than most people think to get a domestic violence charge. Once you've been charged, it's scary to deal with the prospect that you could end up in jail and have a criminal record. That's why you need to do everything in your power to avoid making the situation worse. With this kind of charge hanging over your head, here are some rules you need to remember:

1. Do not talk to the police without an attorney.

Far too many people think that they can talk their way out of the charges if they just explain what happened. Instead, you can end up giving the police all the evidence they need to convict you. Invoke your right to remain silent the second that the handcuffs come out and until you speak with your attorney.

2. Do not jump at the prosecution's early offer.

You may be scared and worried about spending time in jail. While that's understandable, it's important to remember that a charge isn't the same as a conviction. This isn't the time to jump on the prosecution's offer before you've had time to consider the ramifications of having a violent criminal record for the rest of your life. If the offer is valid, it won't disappear just because you want time to consult with your legal counsel.

3. Do not ask the victim to drop the charges.

Most domestic violence cases result in some kind of protection order for the alleged victim. Violating that order by contacting the victim will result in additional charges and compound your problems. Keep in mind that it's the state that is prosecuting you. Even if your alleged victim recants, the state can (and probably will) continue its case.

4. Do not harass or stalk your alleged victim in any way.

What you think of as harassment or stalking may be very different than what the court defines as harassment or stalking. Even something as simple as a single text saying "I'm sorry" puts you in violation of the protective order and could be considered harassment. By the same token, do not ask anyone else to contact the alleged victim on your behalf, either. In addition, do not "like" or follow their social media posts. Definitely do not respond to anything they may post that seems to be referring to you.

If you've been charged with domestic violence, you're already in a perilous legal situation. Get a domestic violence attorney on your side as soon as possible.