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What to Expect During a Domestic Violence Case

 Posted on June 10, 2024 in Criminal Defense

Joliet criminal defense lawyerFacing domestic violence charges can be life-altering. If you find yourself in this situation, it is important to understand the legal process and what to expect as your case unfolds. An Illinois lawyer can help you understand the stages and considerations in a domestic violence case based on your circumstances.

The Arrest and Charges

In most domestic violence cases, the alleged abuser is arrested at the scene of the incident. The police will take statements from the parties involved and any witnesses present. Based on the evidence gathered, the State’s Attorney’s office will decide whether to file charges. In Illinois, domestic violence charges can range from misdemeanors to felonies, depending on how severe the alleged offense is.

Protective Orders

Following an arrest, the people who pressed charges may seek an order of protection, which is a court order prohibiting the accused from contacting or coming near the complainant. These orders can be emergency, interim, or plenary, with varying durations and restrictions. Always abide by the terms of any protective order, as violating them can lead to additional criminal charges.

Bond and Pretrial Release

After the arrest, the accused will appear in court for a bond hearing. The judge will take into account factors such as the type of the alleged violation, the defendant’s criminal history, and any flight risk when deciding whether to grant bond and under what conditions. In some cases, the accused may be released on his or her own recognizance or required to post a monetary bond.

Discovery and Investigation

As the case progresses, a defense attorney will work to gather evidence and build a strong defense strategy. This process involves reviewing police reports, witness statements, and physical evidence. Your lawyer may also conduct an independent investigation to uncover additional facts and evidence that could support your case.

Plea Bargaining and Negotiations

In many domestic violence cases, the State’s Attorney’s office may offer a plea bargain, which is an agreement where the defendant pleads guilty in exchange for reduced charges or a lighter sentence. Your defense attorney will review any plea offers with you and advise you on the best course of action based on the strength of the evidence and your individual circumstances.

Trial and Sentencing

If a plea agreement cannot be reached, your case will proceed to trial. During the trial, the prosecution and the defense will present evidence and arguments to the court. If found guilty, the judge will consider multiple considerations, like the severity of the offense and any prior criminal history, when determining the appropriate sentence. Sentencing options may include probation, domestic violence treatment programs, fines, and jail or prison time.

Collateral Consequences

Beyond the criminal penalties, a domestic violence conviction can have far-reaching collateral consequences. These may include difficulty finding employment, housing, or obtaining professional licenses. A conviction can also impact child custody and visitation rights in family court proceedings.

Work With a Joliet, IL Criminal Defense Attorney

A domestic violence case can make it seem like your whole world is falling apart because it can bring serious charges. Consider having a Will County, IL criminal defense lawyer by your side to protect your rights and guide you through each stage of the legal steps. Call McNamara Phelan McSteen, LLC at 815-727-0100 for a free consultation.

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