This is the second post in my series of regarding arrests for domestic violence and issues which arise in court. My last post gave a general overview of what to expect upon arrest. This article will explain the process which Chicago residents may expect after being arrested for such an offense. Once you are charged then you will appear in court and a full protective order is likely to issue. The Court may consider issuing a modified order, but be sure to confirm and understand the exact conditions of any protective order. Violating a valid order is cause for new charges.
The first step after arrest is arraignment. This is the day you hear the allegations against you and enter a “not guilty” plea. I previously noted you do have the right to enter a guilty plea at any stage in the process. However, it is in your best interest to consult an attorney and learn the possible consequences of such a plea and the details of any protective orders. It is important to contact a Chicago criminal defense lawyer if you have been arrested for domestic violence.
After arraignment your attorney will set new court dates and begin taking steps to defend you. The first date will be for pre-trial negotiations. Your lawyer will discuss the facts of the case, your criminal history, the reporting party’s history, any injuries (or lack of injuries), child custody arrangements and any mitigating circumstances. Your counsel may need to investigate the facts of the case. The investigation will involve delays. Witnesses who understand your relationship with your accuser, your relationship with any witnesses, percipient witnesses, and anyone who can comment favorably on your temperament may need to be interviewed in your defense.
It is important that you provide your attorney with any favorable information that may aid in negotiations. If your accuser has a history of violence against you or others, if there is a history of false accusations, mental health disturbances or substance abuse, let your lawyer know immediately. As I will discuss in my next post, there are many reasons why people face false accusations and your lawyer must begin exploring those issues as soon as possible.
Your lawyer will discuss your options with you once they have reviewed the evidence including police reports, witness statements, photographs and any scientific evidence. If you decide that taking an offer from the ASA is in your best interest keep in mind it may involve probation, jail time, or prison. In all cases a conviction requires domestic violence counseling, some form of protective order (full, or modified), fines and fees as well as a federal firearms restriction. Please be aware that in more serious cases the state may also involve the Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS) and you may have to appear in family court as well.
A jury trial is a proceeding which can take place over multiple days and involves twelve members of the community hearing the evidence against you. The arresting officers and any investigating officers will testify, as will the person accusing you. Any witnesses present at the scene may be called, and your lawyer may call witnesses on your behalf. At the close of evidence a jury will decide whether or not they believe you broke the law.
You may want to make a claim of self-defense. Counsel will discuss with you at length how to do that and advise you whether or not you should testify on your own behalf. You may also want to argue that the allegation is fabricated. My next post will discuss the common reasons complaining witnesses lie about domestic violence.
In any of these circumstances it helps to have a Chicago criminal defense attorney who is familiar with the Cook County Courts. Contact my Orland Park office today for a free and confidential consultation. We also handle matters in areas of Cook County including Chicago Ridge, Glenview, Crestwood, Orland Park, Evergreen Park, Bedford Park, Palos Park, Oak Lawn, Burbank, Oak forest, Blue Island, Palos Heights, Palos Hills, Alsip, Bridgeview, Lemont, Orland Hills, Country Club Hills, Hickory Hills, Summit, Richton Park, Midlothian, Worth, Posen, Matteson, Olympia Fields, Hometown, and Tinley Park, in DuPage County areas including Downers Grove, Naperville, Woodridge, and Darien, in Kane County areas including Aurora, Elgin and Geneva, and the Will County cities of Joliet, Bolingbrook, Mokena, Frankfort, New Lenox, Lockport, Homer Glen, Romeoville, and Manhattan.