Interviewer: You just mentioned the counseling and the anger management. What if your client was to voluntarily undergo anger management counseling before you even went to trial? Does that help them?
David: It certainly does. When I meet a brand-new client in one of these types of cases, I have to make a judgment as to whether or not the individual would benefit from doing an anger management class or treatment. Frequently, the set of facts that are presented to me are such that the client might very well be guilty or very well might be found guilty based on what’s presented. In that type of situation, I strongly encourage the client to go and seek out the counseling in advance.
Voluntarily Attending a Treatment Program Is Looked at Favorably by the Prosecutor and Might Result in an Ultimate Dismissal of Charges
We plead not guilty at the arraignment. The trial gets scheduled six or eight weeks later. The person shows up in court and says, “I’ve already done this programming so far and am on the way to to complete it. Assuming there is no prior record, assuming the spouse agrees and assuming a variety of other facts, the prosecutor at that point might let the case rest with some kind of agreement where it’s basically put on file for a year.
We do that as often as we can. It’s a better result than losing a trial and being convicted.
What Options Are Available for Repeat Domestic Violence Offenders?
Interviewer: That would be agreed upon if this is their first offense? Are there heavier penalties for multiple offenses, for example if somebody has been charged with domestic violence more than once? Does that person also have some of those options available?
David: There are a variety of scenarios but frequently what occurs is a person is arrested for domestic violence. The bail conditions say no contact with the spouse. The negotiations go badly because the spouse is saying bad things about the client and the prosecutor’s holding the line in terms of wanting to go forward and get a conviction. Then the client makes the mistake, I’m using the word “mistake” as opposed to “the crime,” of breaking the bail conditions by contacting a spouse to try to get her to change her mind.
Frequently, an Individual Will Make the Mistake of Violating the No-Contact Order
The next thing you know if she reports that type of contact to the prosecutor, the client is arrested again for a violation of the bail conditions, which is a crime. With respect to the bail that he’s already posted that he’s out on, the government files a motion to revoke his bail.
Bail Is Usually Revoked and the Individual Remains in Jail until the Court Date
The mere fact that they filed a motion means that he’s ineligible for bail until the motion is heard. So he sits in jail for a couple of days before the hearing. Then at the hearing, if the hearing results in the government prevailing, in terms of revoking the bail, then the client sits in jail with no bail until the court date, whenever that might be. That happens on significant percentage of domestic violence cases where the people have a prior record.