I have been charged with the crime of domestic battery–what happens next? Is this different in any way from the other ordinary criminal battery statutory crimes that may be the same level of crime? Are there implications for a companion domestic cases that are or may be filed, such as a divorce?
Domestic battery charges in Indiana typically begin with a police report being filed for screening by the prosecutor, that is if the alleged batterer is not out-right arrested at the time of the police run. To defend the case, an attorney will likely obtain the 911 call and review the police probable cause affidavit to determine what steps to take in defending the case.
Additionally, it is common in domestic battery cases for the alleged offender to face other criminal charges, such as resisting police officers or interfering with a 911 call; this is along with a civil lawsuit for a domestic tort to divorce. In all such cases, particularly where there are multiple legal cases, it is prudent to contact a criminal domestic battery lawyer in Indiana who may also handle any civil case or have the defendant obtain separate counsel.
As noted, a number of domestic battery criminal proceedings have companion civil cases, ranging from a Child In Need of Services (“CHINS”) investigation into the care of the children to a divorce filing. However, such domestic battery allegations are sometimes false and tactical in nature relative to the domestic agenda for obtaining custody or exaggerated unintentionally by the alleged victim due to how matters are perceived under the stressors of divorce, custody disputes, and the like.
With a criminal domestic battery case filed, there may be implications for all companion domestic cases. These include a criminal “no contact” order issued by the court hearing the domestic battery criminal case. This may keep the alleged batterer from seeing his or her children.
In addition, as a part of the criminal filing or domestic case, the alleged battered spouse may seek a separate Indiana Civil Order Protection Order Act (“ICOPA”) order to keep the alleged batterer away and enhance a crime if violated, which is available to such victims on a low evidentiary showing to restrain domestic violence. These ICPOA orders may be granted ex parte (without a hearing), and after a hearing is held, and if sufficient evidence is presented to maintain the order there will be Brady disqualification. This means the person under the Order is prohibited from possessing firearms for the duration of that order, even if the criminal case is won (the defendant is acquitted by a judge or jury) or dropped.
Additionally, with a pending domestic battery charge, an alleged perpetrator may find their life upside down because under the criminal no-contact order or ICOPA order they may be unable to remain in their home as result of the ICPOA order, as the other party is currently residing there with the children (if there are any). These orders can also create further problems for future employment, or current employment, in the event the alleged victim and batterer work in the same place or the person subject to the Order has to interact with firearms as a part of his or her job. A police officer or member of the military will not be able to perform his or her job.
Domestic battery in Indiana is a serious offense with life-long implications for firearms possession and can easily permeate into other areas of your life. By meeting with an experienced criminal attorney who is familiar with family law and domestic civil litigation you can work together to create a solid defense and move forward with your life, cognizant of the interactions of each case on the criminal matter and other cases.
Domestic battery may go hand in hand with claims of battery against the parties’ children, and again, in the stress and tribulation of domestic litigation, it is a common for DCS (Department of Child Services) to receive such claims by one parent against the other related to the children. Allegations by DCS are usually investigated, and either substantiated or unsubstantiated, and criminal charges may be filed at the same time or after the conclusion of the DCS investigation. If domestic battery is found to have occurred in the presence of the children, there is a presumption that the batterer have supervised visitation for up to two years.
Additionally, if domestic battery occurs in the presence of a child under the age of 16 years, it is a felony. Domestic battery is also a felony charge if there is a prior conviction against the alleged batterer. This is the complex world of overlapping cases sounding in domestic and criminal. Literally, taking one legal course may undercut or be contrary to the legal objective in the other cases, necessitating the lawyer(s) and client weight the risks and chose the better course of action.
Consulting an attorney at the first mention of allegations, and before arrest, can help protect your rights, and better position you to create the best defense against a criminal claim, with potentially positive implications for companion civil cases.
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