A spotlight on domestic violence in Illinois may lead judges to enact harsh sentences for any violent offenders in the upcoming months.
Conversations about domestic violence charges were sparked recently after Kendrick Nunn, a guard for the Illini basketball team, pleaded guilty to hitting a woman in the head and shoving her to the ground. He was charged a few weeks ago with misdemeanor battery. Worse, he is the fourth member of the Illini basketball team to be arrested in eight months. Nunn, like the three other players, has been suspended from the team.
Campus sexual assault and domestic violence are beginning to spark more and more discussion nationwide. Nunn’s sentence has national attention and will definitely send a message about our state’s stance on domestic violence. In cases like this, judges can give exceedingly harsh sentences and make an example out of the defendant.
But it may go farther than this. If you have been charged with domestic violence, you may find yourself facing harsher than usual penalties as law enforcement officials attempt to prove that they are tough on this type of crime.
Because of this, you absolutely need to craft the strongest possible defense. But how do you do this? What defense is best in your specific case? What types of defenses are even possible?
Below, you’ll find information on common defenses used by defendants in domestic violence cases. The only way to know which defense is best for you is to go over the specifics of your situation with a knowledgeable Chicago domestic violence lawyer. But by reading over the below, you’ll get a sense of the options available to you and how you might be able to use these defense strategies in court.
Self-Defense – Police sometimes charge someone with domestic violence thinking they are the aggressor in the situation – when in reality all they were doing was trying to protect themselves. This is where a self-defense strategy comes in. If you used violence to protect yourself, your child, or another family member, you can argue that you acted in self-defense.
Lack of Proof – You are innocent until proven guilty. If a jury cannot prove that you intended to cause harm through violence, you cannot be convicted. Plan ahead with your lawyer. What will the prosecution say about you and the incident in question? How can you invalidate their argument?
False Accusation – What if you weren’t even remotely involved in the violence in question? What if you weren’t even at the scene of the crime? If you have a legitimate alibi that can be proven to the jury, or can prove that someone else was involved in the violence and that you were wrongly accused, you can prove your innocence.
Another kind of false accusation can arise when a family member or spouse acts out of spite. This is another occasion in which you and your lawyer have to analyze and anticipate the prosecution’s argument. Are there inconsistencies? Is there a motive for your accuser to make false allegations that you can highlight?
Seeking Rehabilitation – In cases like Nunn’s, a guilty plea may not help your defense. However, pleading guilty and asking for rehabilitation and treatment, rather than punishment, often helps to reduce a sentence.
Maybe you were under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time – you may need treatment for substance abuse. In other cases, you may be sentenced to anger management courses. These forms of rehabilitation can possibly lessen or even replace a prison sentence.
Not sure what your options are or how to go about finding them? Contact us today for a free consultation.
About the Author:
Andrew M. Weisberg is a former felony prosecutor who now serves as a defense attorney in the greater Chicago area. He has extensive experience in handling all types of criminal cases, from sex offenses and domestic violence to retail theft-related crimes, Murder, and drug crimes.